Book Review Submission


Please submit your completed review / review essay as a Microsoft Word document (not PDF) attachment to the Book Review Managing Editor: reviews@arabstudiesjournal.org

Book Review Components and Criteria for Publication

Literature of the Field: What existing literature does the book build on or challenge? How does the book contribute to the field and/or relate to current debates within it? What sort of historiographical interventions does the book make? Please provide sufficient context for the work under review so that a reader outside your subfield can make sense of the book’s contribution.   

Summary of Argument: What is the main thesis of the book and how does it make its argument? Is the thesis presented effectively? What are the key sources that the book draws on? ASJ recommends that the review author not rely on the table of contents as a structuring principle for the review.  

Critical Evaluation: Does the author accomplish her/his stated intentions? Overall, what are the book’s strengths and weaknesses? How does the style and organization of the material support (or hinder) the book’s argument? Who is the intended audience and how well is this audience served? Please avoid jargon as best you can in your analysis; use it only as needed to show that you know the field.

Development of Your Own Argument:
ASJ invites, but does not require, reviews that engage critically with the content of the book and its relation to the field while advancing a broader argument.


Style and Format Requirements

Word Limit: The maximum length for a standard review is 1,500 words; for a review essay covering more than one book, the maximum length is 3,000 words.

Format: The entire manuscript should be double-spaced with a one-inch margin on all sides. The font should be 12 point. Please indent at the beginning of each paragraph and do not use double-spaces between paragraphs. Please use a single space after each period/full stop or after any other punctuation mark. 

Citations: Please provide parenthetical citations of the page number(s) for all quotations longer than two words from the text being reviewed [e.g., “text text text” (38–39)]. In a review essay where more than one book is being reviewed, please include the author’s last name, followed by a comma and the page number(s) [e.g., “text text text” (Butenschon, 123–38)]. Reviews should not require notes or works cited. Necessary references to works other than the book(s) being reviewed should be incorporated into the text and should be brief.

Style Guide: To ensure consistency in matters of grammar, usage, mechanics, and formatting, we follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition; for consistency in transliteration, we follow the IJMES system. All material submitted to ASJ must follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, and the ASJ Styleguide (also see IJMES Common Word List). Submissions that do not adhere to these guidelines will be returned.

Book Publication Data: For the book(s) under review, please include, in this format, the following information at the top of the review:

City of publication: Publisher, date of publication
(number of pages, bibliography, index, illustrations, and/or maps)  price of the book (cloth and/or paper editions)

For example:
Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery
Nabil Matar
New York: Columbia University Press, 1999
(xi + 268 pages, bibliography, index, illustrations, maps) $36.00 (cloth)

Review Author Byline: Please include full information about your current (and, if applicable, past) affiliations.

For example: Hussein Fancy is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at Princeton University.


Editorial Process and Timeline: Submission to Publication

(1) Once you submit your review to the review section managing editor (reviews@arabstudiesjournal.org), your name will be removed from the review and it will be directed to a member of the review editorial team for refereeing.

(2) You can expect to hear back from us within three months with a decision about acceptance and editorial comments.

Refereeing categories include Accept (With Suggested Revisions); Accept Pending Revisions; and Reject:

  • Accept (With Suggested Revisions) means that the review is accepted for publication, but we ask that the author address the refereeing editor’s comments. Should the author disagree with particular editorial requests, we ask for some explanation of the disagreement.
  • Accept Pending Revisions means that we require significant changes by the author before we can accept the review for publication. The author is encouraged to redraft the review per the suggested changes, but acceptance of the review remains conditional upon a second round of refereeing.
  • Reject means that the review failed to meet basic criteria and standards, as outlined above, or was otherwise deemed unsuitable for publication.

For the first two categories, the managing editor will work with the review author to schedule a feasible deadline for revisions.

(3) Following revisions, accepted drafts are copyedited for clarity, consistency, and concision. It is not unusual for this part of the editorial process to include new queries to the author or requests for clarification. Depending on our schedule and publication cycle, this process can take up to twelve weeks.

(4) After copyedits have been made and the author has provided any necessary revisions and clarifications, the final proofs are sent to the review author for approval, after which the review goes to production.

We cannot guarantee the publication of reviews (and revised drafts) submitted past the agreed-upon deadline date. Should you not complete the review—or should your review be rejected—we ask that you return the complimentary review copy of the book.

Contributing authors receive a complimentary copy of the issue in which their review is published. Please be sure to provide us with full contact information (mailing address, email address, and phone number).

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