The Encyclopedia of African American Culture: From Dashikis to Yoruba Is Seeking Contributors

Molly Reinhoudt's picture
Call for Publications
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, African History / Studies, American History / Studies, Black History / Studies

This three-volume A-Z encyclopedia will cover the broad roots of African American culture, including living traditions, rites of passage, folk culture, popular culture, subcultures, and other forms of shared expression. Readers often believe there to be a cohesive and shared culture among African Americans, and while the broad culture shares general commonalities, rich variation exists within specific cultural expressions.


The audience for this reference work is high school and undergraduate students, and laypersons. Do not write at an academic level. Avoid jargon and explain specialized terminology. When in doubt, define a term or identify a person. Explain concepts in uncomplicated language.


The first paragraph of your enjoy must contain a summary of the topic, including definitions of important terms. You must indicate how and why the subject is important to the study of African American culture. For individual biographies, the first paragraph should summarize the individual’s importance, as opposed to delving into details about their birth, death, etc. You may use subheadings for lengthier entries.


Entries should be straight-forward factual representations, with no bias or opinion. You’re welcome to include the balanced representation of outside opinions of scholars or experts with proper attribution. 


Entry Structure

Entries vary in length 1,000-2,000 words, depending on the amount of material and including bibliographies. If appropriate, each essay should include the following first three sections, but all entries must have a “Further Reading” (bibliography) section.

  • History and Origins (250-500 words),
  • Regional Practices and Traditions (500-1,000 words),
  • Contemporary Forms (250-500 words),
  • Further Reading

“Spotlight entries” (500 words maximum): These entries will cover biographies of individuals important to related topical entries. Each Spotlight will feature a roughly chronological discussion of the significance of the individual within African American culture and their influence. 


Further Reading

Each entry must include a Further Reading section that has approximately 5 sources. The Further Reading should conform to Chicago’s Author-Date style and include approximately 5 sources. Any sources cited within the text must be included. Please do not cite Wikipedia,, or other general information sites on the web. Avoid other reference works and encyclopedias. Do include scholarly publications such as books and journal articles, as well as any relevant news articles, etc.


Example:  Hemingway, Ernest. 1940. For Whom the Bell Tolls. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.


In-text citations

These must be used for statistics, direct quotes, and other facts or opinions that aren’t generally known or easily checked. Citations should be used sparingly, however. In-text citations are also in Chicago’s Author-Date style.

Example: “The world’s a fine place and worth fighting for” (Hemingway 1940, 11).


Things to Avoid:

  1. As a reference work, entries should be a synthesis of existing knowledge. You are not making an argument, or presenting your own opinions about the subject.
  2. Do not use footnotes or endnotes.
  3. Do not refer to the entry itself or other entries in the work. Do not state what the entry will do, cover, or discuss.
  4. Do not refer to the reader or use first-person pronouns when speaking generally about society (“what we know” should be “what is known,” for example).
  5. Do not present hypotheticals or pose questions to the reader.

Topics available include Africobra, Cartooning, Black Churches, Black Atlantic, Blaxploitation Films, Dance, Garifuna, Hairstyles and Beauty Culture, Islam, and Visual Arts. Contact Prof. Dyson for more information.

Contact Info: 

Omari Dyson

University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Contact Email: