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Africa Journal

Africa is the premier journal devoted to the study of African societies and culture. Editorial policy encourages an ethnographic and interdisciplinary approach, involving humanities, social sciences, and environmental studies. We publish theoretically informed ethnographies and studies of social relations 'on the ground' which are sensitive to local cultural forms.

Africa aims to give increased attention to African production of knowledge, highlighting the work of local African thinkers and writers, emerging social and cultural trends.

Each issue contains six or seven major articles, arranged thematically, extensive review essays and substantial book reviews. Special issues are published annually.

Africa Impact Factor
Africa’s Thomson Reuters (ISI) Impact Factor for 2013 was 0.745 ranking the journal in the top ten of the Area Studies category.

Download a flyer on the journal here.

Article submissions in French and Portuguese
Articles may be submitted to the journal in French or Portuguese to iai-africa(AT)
please change the email address to

Karin Barber's 'Editorial' published in Africa 78.3 on the policies, directions and activities of the journal is available here.

© International African Institute. First published 2008 in Africa. Journal of the International African Institute (Vol. 78:3).


Submissions and guidelines for contributors. For full details on submitting articles to the journal and for details on book reviews, see here.

Special issue submissions
Africa welcomes proposals for special issues of the journal. One special issue is published annually, usually the first issue in the volume. Special issues include eight or nine papers plus an Introduction from the guest editor(s). Special issue proposals are reviewed quarterly by the journal Editors, and are additionally reviewed by assigned members of the Editorial Advisory Board.

Cut-off dates for editorial review of special issues are as follows: 1 March, 1 June, 1 September, 1 December in any given year. Once a proposal has been received, guest editors can expect to receive feedback on the proposal within c.3 months of submission.

Guest editors are encouraged to submit a concise proposal of c.1,000-1,500 words setting out the theme/rationale for the special issue and to submit abstracts for all papers under consideration.

Guest editors are further encouraged to refer to the journal's general editorial guidelines and instructions for contributors available at

Article submissions in French and Portuguese
Articles may be submitted to the journal in French or Portuguese to If accepted for review, such papers will be peer-reviewed in English. In the event of acceptance we will seek to publish the paper in an English translation in the print + online version of the journal, and in the original language in the online only version of journal. The aim is to make such francophone and lusophone research that would be of interest to Africa’s readership accessible in English. Article submissions are welcome from both established and younger scholars. Submissions must not be previously published, in English or any other language. The IAI has limited funds for the translation of one or two articles per year. Once a paper has been accepted, we can also consider drawing on other research or institutional funds that may be available to the author.

Editors and Editorial Advisory Board

Deborah James, LSE, University of London
David Pratten, University of Oxford

Reviews Editor
Insa Nolte, University of Birmingham

Local Intellectuals Editor
Karin Barber, University of Birmingham

Editorial Advisory Board
Wale Adebanwi, Kojo Amanor, Julie Archambault, Leslie Bank, Alan Barnard, Thomas J. Bassett, Heike Becker, Joost Beuving, Filip De Boeck, Maxim Bolt, Keith Breckenridge, James Brennan, Richard Fardon, Paulo F. de Moraes Farias, Laurent Fourchard, Harri Englund, Peter Geschiere, Jane Guyer, Deborah James, Kai Kresse, Michael Lambek, Brian Larkin, Murray Last, Carola Lentz, Adeline Masquelier, Tom McCaskie, Birgit Meyer, Mwenda Ntarangwi, George Otieno Ogola, Luis Nicolau Parés, John Parker, Derek Peterson, Debby Potts, Katrien Pype, Keith Shear, AbdouMaliq Simone, Mats Utas, Susan Reynolds Whyte.

For further information on the editorial board see

Publishing, subscriptions and access

Africa is published by Cambridge University Press.

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For full instructions on submissions go to

Recommend Africa to your librarian

Subscribe to Africa and Africa Bibliography. Click here to view
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For more information and subscriptions, click here. Special subscriptions are available to African Studies Association UK and Royal African Society members. For further details, contact journals[AT] or ring +44 (0)1223 32 6070.

Africa is also available through Project MUSE, JSTOR (with a five-year moving wall) and is available online as part of the ALPSP Learned Journals Collection.

Published: Feb, May, Aug, Nov
ISSN: 0001-9720
E-ISSN: 1750-0184

African countries initiative

Free electronic access is available to libraries and non-profit research and educational institutions in Africa. For further details contact journals[AT]

Africa – ‘African local intellectuals’ strand – call for papers

The aim of this strand of the journal is to introduce and analyse texts – whether oral, manuscript or print – produced by authors outside the literary or academic mainstream. Such texts might include notebooks, diaries, letters, local works of history, philosophy or literature, performed or written poetry, newspaper serials and a host of other forms.

This rich seam of intellectual work is increasingly becoming a focus of attention by historians, anthropologists and literary scholars. Texts such as these constitute an archive of local thought and experience, experiment and commentary. They shed a fascinating light on life ‘on the ground’ in Africa, past and present. But the texts themselves are rarely accessible outside the local context of their production. As the series develops, the journal will be building up an on-line repository of texts to which scholars and researchers can return over the years.

The preferred format is an introductory essay of approximately 5000 words and a sample text (with translation if relevant) also of approximately 5000 words, for the print version of the journal; plus a longer text – there is no formal word limit – appropriately edited and annotated by the contributing scholar, for the online archive.

For further details, contact africa(AT)

Published articles

Joel Cabrita: An Introduction to the letters of Isaiah Moteka: the correspondence of a twentieth-century South African Zionist minister. Africa 84(2) (May 2014). For a link to the full text, freely accessible, go to the article at Cambridge Journals

Aïssatou Mbodj-Pouye: Writing the self in rural Mali: domestic archives and genres of personal writing. Africa 83(2) (May 2013). For a link to the full text, freely accessible, go to the article at Cambridge journals.

Africa 82(3) (August 2012) features a contribution to the ‘local intellectuals’ strand by anthropologist Carola Lentz, introducing the work of Kumbonoh Gandah, an intellectual and historian from Northern Ghana. Gandah wrote a history of his father, Gandah-yir, which draws together oral tradition, local memories and written history, representing a valuable contribution to African historiography from Northern Ghana. The article presents and introduces extracts from the Gandah-yir manuscript whilst in the online version Gandah’s full manuscript is reproduced as supplementary material.

Africa 81.2 (May 2011) features a contribution to this thematic strand, by Oyeniyi Okunoye. Okunoye brings to Africa’s readership the work of Lanrewaju Adepọju, one of Nigeria’s foremost popular poets and a pioneer in the development of a new form of public poetry, disseminated simultaneously in print, live performance and through the electronic media. While ubiquitous and immensely popular in southwestern Nigeria, Adepọju’s poetry has not previously been translated into English.

In the print version of the journal, we present Okunoye’s authoritative essay on the poet and a sample poem, ‘Ilu le’ (Hard times) with its English translation. In the online version of the journal, you will find two additional long poems with translations, as well as an interview with Adepọju in which he explains his formation as a poet and his views on the role of poetry in society.

The inaugural contribution to the series by Stephanie Newell (Africa 78 (3): 384-400), documents a unique personal memoir by a Gold Coast clerk. The print version of the journal presents an excerpt of the memoir and the online version takes you to the 20,000-word narrative, edited and annotated by Newell.

For further details of ‘local intellectuals’articles and material available from AFRICA see "Local Intellectuals strand" at Cambridge Journals.