Peer Review Guidelines


 The stat­ed goal of The Mir­ror of Race is to engen­der reflec­tion on and dis­cus­sion about the mean­ing of race, both in the Unit­ed States and beyond, in a way that com­bines per­son­al reac­tion with informed study. While the project draws on his­to­ry, its focus is as much on the present and the future of what race has meant, could mean, and should mean in our nation and glob­al­ly, using the ear­ly pho­tographs in the exhi­bi­tion as a source of inspi­ra­tion and inves­ti­ga­tion. We are seek­ing sub­mis­sions that active­ly engage the images in the online exhi­bi­tion, that help view­ers under­stand the broad­er con­text (past, present, or future), and that pro­voke view­ers to reex­am­ine their own ways of see­ing race. The site aims at a wide audi­ence, from the gen­er­al pub­lic to edu­ca­tors and stu­dents from pri­ma­ry school through grad­u­ate lev­el in uni­ver­si­ty. While con­trib­u­tors should abide by the stan­dards of rig­or in their fields, we are also hop­ing that they will step out­side the con­fines of their dis­ci­plines and speak to their most press­ing con­cerns in a way that will engage the view­ers of the web­site, pro­vide a mod­el for respon­si­ble reflec­tion, and there­by help them engage inten­sive­ly the mate­r­i­al and the issues for them­selves.  


Review­ers should assess the sub­mis­sions accord­ing to the usu­al response range:

1) Accept with no or minor revi­sions (spec­i­fied by the review­er)

2) Accept, pend­ing revi­sions (review­er should spec­i­fy need­ed revi­sions)

3) Revise and resub­mit (review­er should spec­i­fy need­ed revi­sions)

4) Reject (review­er should explain rea­sons for rejec­tion)

Detailed com­ments by the review­er are encour­aged. In the case of request­ed revi­sions, these need to be spec­i­fied and explained (as would the rea­sons for an out­right rejec­tion).


The Mir­ror of Race project seeks writ­ten work with these qual­i­ties:

1) Dis­ci­pline Spe­cif­ic Stan­dards: rig­or with­out aca­d­e­mi­cism. We are seek­ing writ­ten sub­mis­sions from a wide range of con­trib­u­tors: aca­d­e­mics, jour­nal­ists, and writ­ers. A con­tri­bu­tion should adhere to the stan­dards rel­e­vant to its dis­ci­pline, but it should be direct­ed to a gen­er­al audi­ence and there­fore not over­whelmed by jar­gon or aca­d­e­mi­cism, either in style or con­tent. The work should back up its claims with appro­pri­ate foot­notes and schol­ar­ship; it should inspire con­fi­dence in its rig­or, but it should not be a mere­ly scholas­tic exer­cise direct­ed at a nar­row sub­set of spe­cial­ists. Foot­notes should pro­vide pri­ma­ry source infor­ma­tion when­ev­er pos­si­ble, prefer­ably in a form that could be con­vert­ed into a link, so that inter­est­ed read­ers may find this mate­r­i­al for them­selves. Authors are encour­aged to pro­vide read­ers with sug­ges­tions for fur­ther read­ing, either in foot­notes or in a short guide fol­low­ing the essay.

2) Style: essays, not arti­cles. A writ­ten con­tri­bu­tion should be, in style and spir­it, as much of an essay as pos­si­ble, rather than, again, a mere­ly aca­d­e­m­ic exer­cise. In explor­ing ques­tions, issues and ideas, it should make an area of inter­est acces­si­ble to a gen­er­al audi­ence. Authors are encour­aged to adopt a more infor­mal style. Part of our goal is to get view­ers of the site to respond per­son­al­ly to the pho­tographs, and authors may do so as well. We hope that authors will take this as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to explain what moves and moti­vates their own stud­ies and to step beyond the con­fines of their respec­tive dis­ci­plines, with­out sac­ri­fic­ing rig­or.

3) Audi­ence: var­ied. Because the project envi­sions read­ers at all lev­els, from school-age chil­dren to grad­u­ate stu­dents, as well as the gen­er­al pub­lic, the author may be giv­en lat­i­tude for the lev­el of the intend­ed audi­ence. Authors are encour­aged to pro­vide the edi­tors with a note explain­ing their intend­ed audi­ence lev­el (high school stu­dents, col­lege stu­dents, ele­men­tary school teach­ers, etc.). As the web­site devel­ops, we hope to orga­nize the essays in var­i­ous ways, includ­ing by intend­ed audi­ence lev­el.

4) Con­nec­tion to the Online Exhi­bi­tion: var­ied. With­in rea­son, essays should engage the online exhi­bi­tion of pho­tographs on the Mir­ror of Race web­site (  This is a mat­ter of judg­ment in the con­text of each sub­mis­sion. Some essays may use a sin­gle image as a jump­ing-off point for an abstract issue, such as the rela­tion­ship of law and race; oth­ers may engage in close analy­ses of one or more indi­vid­ual pho­tographs. In gen­er­al, authors are encour­aged to respond in a per­son­al way to the pho­tographs, even if their top­ics are rel­a­tive­ly abstract or fac­tu­al in scope, as this is what we are ask­ing the vis­i­tors to the site to do as well. Our writ­ers should help show them the way to bridge per­son­al reac­tion and informed dis­cus­sion. 


Top­ic: Is the top­ic clear and well moti­vat­ed in the con­text of the over­all aims of The Mir­ror of Race project?

Rig­or: Does the essay adhere to discipline‑specific stan­dards appro­pri­ate to its sub­ject mat­ter? Does it pro­vide foot­notes, a bib­li­og­ra­phy, or oth­er ref­er­ence mate­r­i­al that would allow a read­er to find rel­e­vant sources eas­i­ly and in their most com­plete form?

Style: Does the work read like an essay, rather than a mere­ly aca­d­e­m­ic arti­cle? Does it engage the issues and mate­ri­als in a way that vis­i­tors to the site can use as a stim­u­lus to their own explo­rations? Is the author mod­el­ing for the audi­ence what it means to reflect seri­ous­ly, even per­son­al­ly, upon the rel­e­vant issues about race?

Audi­ence: Is the lev­el of the intend­ed audi­ence rea­son­ably clear? 

Con­nec­tion to the Pho­tographs: Giv­ing con­sid­er­a­tion to the nature of the top­ic, does the author con­nect the issues raised by the essay in some pal­pa­ble way to the images in the online exhi­bi­tion? 


We are seek­ing artis­tic sub­mis­sions from all fields, from pho­tog­ra­phy and film to paint­ing and to poet­ry and sto­ry­telling. Artis­tic sub­mis­sions should con­sid­er the fol­low­ing cri­te­ria:

1) Sub­mis­sions by artists should enter into a con­ver­sa­tion with the pho­tographs in the online exhi­bi­tion in a man­ner appro­pri­ate to their genre. 

2) Sub­mis­sions should be suit­able for exhi­bi­tion online. We will cre­ate exhi­bi­tion pages on the project’s web­site for suc­cess­ful sub­mis­sions. 

3) Sub­mis­sions should meet the stan­dards of their respec­tive fields, to be assessed by peer review. 

4) Artists are encour­aged to pro­vide a nar­ra­tive explain­ing their sub­mis­sions and their rela­tion to the pho­tographs and the themes of The Mir­ror of Race project.