Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the motivation for the journal? What is different about it?
A. Though there can certainly be found some great academic history here and there, the fact is that the history of the United States (this includes Native American history, Colonial America, the Imperial Crisis, the American Revolution, the early American republic, the history of American constitutionalism, and the unique history of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century in the context of U.S. History) has received short shrift, if not utter avoidance in recent decades among many in the realm of the history discipline. This is unacceptable to those of us who believe that the history of the United States is breathtakingly compelling, unendingly complex, and—yes, at times ugly, difficult, and downright painful. Unlike some other institutions and publications, however, the History is Human Journal does not believe that one need to take a side in the analysis of American history. Indeed, one of the primary aims of this publication is to strive for a nonpartisan tone. We can discuss the philosophical and political genius of certain figures without falling into hero worship. Conversely, we can examine difficult truths of the history of American expansion and imperialism without acting as though no substantive social or political progress has transpired over the past thirty, fifty, or hundred years. That said, there is no interest in promoting a view of progress, nor wallowing in obsessive nihilism. We do not believe in deifying, nor vilifying. Instead, good history accepts and embraces the complexities and contradictions, because people are complex and full of such contradictions. To pretend that history is not difficult and complicated is to believe that people are not complicated and that life is not difficult. This publication seeks to bring a focus back to the history of the United States—its intellectual history (the history of ideas) but much more than that as well—that has been to some degree lacking. The motivation for this journal, ultimately, is to promote an appreciation for the history of the United States, and that appreciation is not jingoistic or uncritical, neither is it unceasingly self-flagellating. It is an appreciation that possesses both frustration and wonder. This is the tone—and the mission—of this journal.
Q. What is the significance of the image used for the History is Human Journal?
A. The image is of the female personification of the United States known as Columbia. The image is from a World War One era campaign to support the war effort, created by artist Paul Stahr and first published in 1917. Though the image comes from the Great War era, the concept of Columbia far predates Stahr’s work. The image of Columbia was prevalent from the late eighteenth century, throughout the nineteenth century, and well into the twentieth century. Only after WWI did Columbia begin to fade from public memory, though her reign as a form of American iconography predated, rivaled, and even transcended that of Uncle Sam, who rose in prominence from the late nineteenth century and eclipsed Columbia during World War Two and beyond.
The icon of Columbia is relevant to the History is Human Journal because of her connection to American intellectual and cultural history. Indeed, the story of Columbia’s transformation from casual reference to North America/the United States to a fleshed out female mythical icon of Americana is itself rooted in intellectual history. The New England slave poet Phillis Wheatley was the first to use Columbia not merely as a reference to the emerging United States, but as this personified being of America in her poetic ode to General George Washington during the American Revolution (titled “To His Excellency George Washington”). The irony of a recently freed African American woman poet in New England writing a tribute to the Virginia-based slaveholding military leader of the Revolution—and creating the mythical Columbia in the process—is precisely the kind of compelling and complex history the journal seeks to discuss and disseminate. For these reasons, the figure of Columbia seems entirely appropriate as a sort of avatar for the History is Human Journal.
Image of Columbia, as illustrated by artist Paul Stahr, originally published in 1917 as part of the U.S. campaign to garner support for the Great War. In this representation, Columbia is clothed in the U.S. flag. The artist also utilizes a common trope for Columbia from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth century: a liberty cap. The liberty cap is historically rooted in the pileus cap (sometimes mistakenly referred to as a Phrygian cap). The pileus was a cap worn by emancipated slaves in Ancient Rome. The common inclusion of the liberty cap in the iconography of a figure ostensibly created by the emancipated New England slave poet, Phillis Wheatley, underscores the richness, ironies, and depth found in American intellectual history.
Q. Do you accept essay/article submissions? Is there a peer-review process? What are the formatting/style requirements? What are the terms of the publishing agreement?
A. On occasion, yes. Submissions are considered. The review process is highly selective. Essays must be of scholarly merit, provide a fresh take or thesis, and should fall within the broad history of the United States. Articles about historical methodologies and other relevant topics will also be entertained. If interest in your submission is expressed, it will—as a matter of course—undergo a review process from one of our editors. You will then be offered publication of your article contingent upon the incorporation of recommended revisions by the editor. A contingent offer will rest upon at least one round—perhaps two rounds—of recommended revisions. Though a second round of revisions may well transpire, submissions must be of a high enough quality (mechanically, grammatically, and intellectually) that no more than two rounds of revisions should be necessary. This is done to consider the time constraints of peer-review editors, but also to maintain the original vision and tone of the author. Once a final draft is accepted, the publication of the article will enter the queue. The timeline of publication is completely contingent upon the priorities of the History is Human Journal. As part of the publishing process, the author agrees to grant the journal non-exclusive rights to include the article on the journal’s website in perpetuity. No transfer of ownership transpires. The author retains the intellectual property rights, holds the right to post the article on their personal website (and elsewhere after one year), agrees to allow the Human is History Journal exclusive online rights for one year (not including author’s own website), and the author retains the full and exclusive right to physical print publishing. The journal does not compensate writers for their published submissions. Revenue gained from paying subscribers goes right back into the maintenance of this journal. Furthermore, a published submitted article will be posted without a paywall during the first year to promote the work of the author and drive interest toward the journal generally. The journal reserves the right to paywall the article after one year, though this is unlikely due to the non-exclusive arrangement of the publishing agreement. Potential contributors enter into publishing with the journal with full knowledge of the terms of this agreement. In turn, published writers are able to include the publication of their work by a peer-reviewed academic history journal on their CV or in their portfolio. Those who do so should mention the full title of the journal (History is Human: A Journal of American Intellectual History), the website URL (historyishuman.substack.com and/or historyishuman.org), initial date of the article’s publication, and the title of the article. Submission should generally follow the formatting and citation rubric of the Chicago Manual of Style—as this is the academic history standard—but the journal will consider the use of MLA or other formats if it can be demonstrated by the author that doing so is to the benefit of the work. Regardless, only submissions that are scholarly and of high quality will be considered. The journal is not interested in personal autobiographies/diaries/journals, blog-style posts, art pieces, or content that falls outside of the scope of academic American/U.S. History or historical methodologies. Only completed works will be considered. One article submission per person per year. One need not possess a college or university degree to be considered for publication. All submissions possessing scholarly merit will be considered. Send your submission in PDF format, as an attachment, to [email contact coming soon].
Haven’t yet subscribed?
Become a supporter of History is Human: A Journal of American Intellectual History and help us make history.