1. Length. The entire manuscript—text, quotations, references, notes, bibliography—should be no longer than 9,000 words. In some cases authors may be requested to shorten essays.
  2. Format. Manuscripts should be single-spaced throughout, including notes, and formatted for US letter-size paper. Please do not include a title page. Submission title and author name should be centered at the head of the first page, and the author name italicized. Bold text should only be used for section titles. The text body should be left-justified. Please include page numbers. In a separate document, authors should also include both an abstract (max. 250 words) and a brief biographical note stating the author's institutional affiliation, relevant recent publications, and current research (about 50–70 words). The font for all text should be 12-point Times New Roman.
  3. Style. Authors are requested to conform to the Public Culture style guide, including exclusive use of the author-date citation system. With regard to aspects of style and spelling not explicitly addressed therein, please follow The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed.
  4. Images. Please submit images separately from the essay text, in a zipped file, with each image at a minimum of 300 DPI. If the file is too large to upload to this site, send it to via Google Drive, Dropbox, or a free FTP-replacement service such as Sendspace or Yousendit. Please indicate clearly in the body of the text where the images are to be inserted and provide appropriate captions.
  5. Permissions. At such time as a submission is accepted for publication, authors are responsible for obtaining written permission to reprint any illustrations. Please note that our publisher, Duke University Press, strongly prefers obtaining permission even when the image is likely under public domain. Please consult the editorial office with any questions.

Groups of Essays

Groups of essays on a single topic or theme may be considered for publication in a Public Culture special section or issue. Please submit all papers together, following the guidelines above, and please also include in a separate documebt:

  • a short (approx. one-page) description of the common intellectual project of the group of papers
  • a very short (250-word) abstract of each paper
  • a list of the titles of the papers, their authors, and authors’ names and addresses

Approximate Schedule

You should receive immediate e-mail confirmation of your submission. In the event that you do not hear from us within three business days, please direct your inquiry to Please note that the review process can take up to six months. Essays accepted for publication will generally be published within 12–15 months of notification. This schedule is somewhat flexible, however, and subject to various contingencies. Given the large number of submissions we receive, we can only evaluate one submission per author at a time. Please wait to receive a decision from us on your current submission before making a second submission. If you have a particular concern about timing, please consult the editorial office.

Public Culture