Active History Editorial Guidelines

Activehistory.ca is continuously looking for short and thoughtful essays that bring an historical perspective to pressing issues of the day. In order to ensure high quality essays and a diversity of perspectives we accept paper submissions through our website at submissions@activehistory.ca. Anyone who is actively engaged in historical research is welcome to file a submission. We also regularly solicit submissions from historians working in many different fields and at variety of institutions. Paper topics vary widely. We welcome submissions of papers addressing any period or place as long as they meet three central criteria:

Papers must be historical and based in extensive research

  1. Papers should engage critical issues facing Canadian society
  2. Papers must be short and written for a general audience
  3. Papers must be short and written for a general audience

Anyone interested in writing a paper is asked to familiarize themselves with the general style and format of our papers. Please also follow these more specific guidelines:

  • 2,000 – 4,000 words in length.
  • Papers should have clear section headings.
  • Limited endnotes.
  • 150 word summary clearly highlighting how your paper will add to broader discussions outside of the historical professions. The present and future implications of your research should be overt.
  • A short list of resources for users to follow up with. Remember that not all scholarly books and articles are accessible. Do not water down your list, but also please consider issues of accessibility.
  • 5 key words that will help website users access your article.
  • Only use copyrighted material for which you have permission.
  • Provide your name, email address, and institutional affiliation.

It generally takes a few weeks for a submitted paper to appear in final draft. During that time the author will work with the activehistory.ca team in order to ensure that the paper meets the website’s criteria. Papers that meet the website’s criteria will be more critically evaluated by two members of our editorial board (see the list of members below). These reviews will be used to determine whether the paper should be accepted, revised, or rejected.

Things to remember when writing for activehistory.ca:

  1. You are writing for a general audience. Avoid technical language and cumbersome sentences.
  2. Papers dealing with all periods of Canadian history are welcome
  3. Consider visual presentation. Use bullet points rather than lists and graphs rather than tables.
  4. Papers should not be excessively descriptive. They should have a clear argument and be anchored in historical context.
  5. Keep quotations and self references to a minimum.
  6. For a further discussion of analytical strategies for writing active history, see John Tosh’s “In Defence of Applied History: The History and Policy Website”.

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