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Copyediting  |  Illustrations  Preparing Your Manuscript  |  Submitting a Manuscript  |  Writing for the Southern Cultures Audience

The Council of Editors of Learned Journals has called Southern Cultures “indispensable to a number of fields” and “a hallmark of what ambitious journals should be attempting in the 21st century.” We occupy a unique position among publications about the South in targeting both academic and general readers.

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Our primary objective is to capture the full diversity of the region and to do so thoughtfully and thoroughly. Southern Cultures covers all aspects of the region’s mainstream and marginalized cultures—through interviews, essays, articles, personal reminiscences, poetry, fiction, reviews, and surveys on contemporary trends. We are a peer-reviewed quarterly and welcome well-written submissions year-round from authors, scholars, artists, and others with insights into our region. We are not interested in writing that venerates an old (or new) white South, promotes a southern nation, or pines for the days of the Confederacy. The plural “cultures” in our name is intentional. It is meant to recognize a region of many peoples, histories, memories, and interpretations, and we strive to bring our readers the stories of people from all walks of life.

Writing for the Southern Cultures Audience

When writing for Southern Cultures, please keep in mind our readers include scholars from many academic disciplines, as well as informed general readers. We are especially interested in reader-friendly articles and essays that deal with Southern topics in a broad and accessible manner, while retaining scholarly rigor, and that open up a larger discussion on the South. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you read Southern Cultures online before you submit your work.

Southern Cultures publishes several types of material. Our full-length essays and articles generally run 15–20 double-spaced manuscript pages, 3,750–5,000 words. (READ by Subject here.) Under this format, your introduction should offer our non-specialist, non-scholarly readers a context for your topic, but should not survey the relevant historiography in detail. References and concepts familiar to your discipline likely will need a brief explanation at first mention. (Issues that are often left implicit in full-length articles in strictly academic journals receive a more direct and accessible treatment in Southern Cultures.) Please keep technical or discipline-specific jargon to a minimum.

Photo essays also are an integral part of our content. We ask that photo essay submissions include 10–25 high-resolution (at least 1.5 MB) black & white images on CD or USB key, along with a short introduction of 200–300 words and captions/identifying information for the images submitted. We select images and copyedit all introductions to accepted photo essays, but please do note your personal preferences among those photographs you have submitted.

Over the last several years Southern Cultures also has published many full-length interviews with notable, interesting, and often famous Southerners. Please do not submit an interview, however, without first discussing it with the Executive Editor.

We also publish shorter features: Upbeat Down South (music), Not Forgotten (personal reminiscences), Beyond Grits and Gravy (food), South Polls (surveys on contemporary trends), and Mason-Dixon Lines (poetry). We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts for South Polls or Mason-Dixon Lines. You may submit writing for the other features, though, which typically run 8–14 pages (2,000–3,500 words).

We are not currently accepting book reviews for publication. Our archived book reviews (3–4 pages; 750–1,000 words) are available at the link.

Submitting a Manuscript

  • Please email your Word-compatible (.doc or .rtf) manuscript. Please put “submission to Southern Cultures” in the subject line of your email.
  • We ask that you do not submit your work elsewhere while it is under consideration at Southern Cultures.
  • Please double space, use 12-point Times New Roman font, and leave wide margins (1.25 inches) to allow room for marginalia and copyediting.
  • Notes should be numbered sequentially and placed at the end of the article using the endnote function in Microsoft Word.
  • The author’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and affiliation should appear on a separate title page preceding the text. Include a brief biographical sketch of approximately 50 words.
  • Include suggestions for possible illustrations with your manuscript.
  • Attach a cover letter summarizing the article’s major points.
  • See the additional specific guidelines below for preparing your manuscript.
  • All submissions are subject to review by the editors and by selected outside experts.
  • Authors transfer copyright of accepted work to Southern Cultures. We are pleased to grant authors permission upon their request to reprint their Southern Cultures essays at no cost.

We make every effort to respond to submissions in a timely fashion; however, authors may feel free to contact the Southern Cultures office if they have not heard from us within eight weeks of submitting their manuscript.


We copyedit all accepted manuscripts. In copyediting manuscripts we strive to make prose and argument as clear and effective as possible. The substantive revisions we seek in language, content, and structure are in the interest of best communicating with a broad readership and in enhancing the essay’s readability and accessibility to our audience.

Common problems in the manuscripts we receive include too narrow a focus, faltering or unsupported arguments, and failure to demonstrate how the essay makes an original contribution (the proverbial “so what?” question). We will do our best to reduce wordiness and correct any errors of grammar, syntax, and punctuation. Authors, however, are responsible for ensuring that their text and notes are accurate and follow the conventions of rigorous scholarship. While we are not responsible for fact-checking a manuscript, we will note, correct, and bring to the author’s attention any errors of fact we discover in copyediting.

Authors will have an opportunity to review the copyedited version of their manuscript, which will contain queries, stylistic changes, and suggested revisions.



Southern Cultures has access to a wide array of photographic resources and, due to budgeting restrictions, will privilege sources that are available to us gratis or, on occasion, for a nominal fee. If you are aware of archival, institutional, or personal resources particular to your topic, please mention them when you submit your manuscript. We are pleased to collaborate with authors in obtaining these resources; however, the editors make all final artwork decisions based on many considerations, including space, strength and quality of image, content, copyright restrictions, and audience.

* Please provide captions and credit lines for any illustrations you submit.
* We will need written permission from the owner/copyright holder of the image to reproduce any illustrative materials not in the public domain.
* Authors submitting graphs, figures, and/or tables with their manuscript are asked to provide hard copies and digital files of all graphs, figures, and/or tables.

Additional Guidelines for Preparing a Manuscript

Formatting (miscellaneous)
* Do not use all caps for authors’ names in notes.
* To indent paragraphs, use only the tab key—not the space bar, your word processor’s automatic indent feature, or a “style sheet” of any sort.
* Use only one space after periods, colons, semi-colons, and quotation marks at the end of sentences.
* Never use letters for numbers or vice versa; in other words, do not type the lowercase “L” for the number one or the capital letter “O” for zero.

Spelling, punctuation, and other matters of style
* Please spell-check and proofread your text, including endnotes.
* For spelling and word division, follow Webster’s Third International Dictionary or the latest edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
* For capitalization, hyphenation, use of numbers, punctuation, and other matters of style, follow The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (2010).
* Please capitalize all references to “South” but not to “southern” or “southerner” (as opposed to our own informal capitalization of each of these terms in correspondence, advertising, and website text).
* Do not capitalize black and white; do capitalize African American, Asian American, American Indian, etc., none of which take a hyphen.

* Give the complete name on first reference to an individual; last name only thereafter.
* Do not use honorifics (Ms., Mrs., Mr., etc.)
* Neither “Jr.” nor “III” are preceded by a comma (Joe Doe Jr.; Joe Doe III)
* Initials indicating first and middle names are separated by a space (W. R. Valentiner).

* Number consecutively from 1, but if you are providing a note to your title (e.g., “This paper was originally presented at a conference . . .”), begin numbering after that note. Place the notes at the end of the manuscript (not at the bottom of the page), using the endnote function in Microsoft Word. Please double space.
* All references must be complete. (Please, no “author will supply information with proof.”)
* Please streamline and consolidate notes as much as possible. There should be no more than one note per paragraph. The primary purpose for endnotes is to provide the source citation for direct quotations in the text. We generally edit out textual material in the notes.  If that material is integral to your essay, please incorporate it into the text.
* Once a work has been cited in full, subsequent references to the work should be in short form. Short reference form consists of author’s last name, a logically shortened title of the book (or journal article title), and page number(s) of reference.
* Ibid. refers to a single work cited in the note immediately preceding. Ibid. takes the place of the author’s name, title of the work, and as much of the succeeding material as is identical.
* Do not use p. or pp. to indicate references to page numbers unless the use of the number would be unclear without it.
* Use Arabic numerals for volume numbers, even if the title page of the work carries a roman numeral.
* Use en-dashes between series of numbers (1860–1865, 12–18).
* Book reviews should not have endnotes.
* Consult The Chicago Manual of Style (chapters 16 and 17), visit The Chicago Manual of Style Citation Quick Guide (refer to humanities style, “N,” guidelines), and/or see below for additional guidance on formatting specific sources in endnotes.

Thank you for your interest in Southern Cultures