The Mirror of Race project welcomes submissions from artists and writers from across the disciplines and careers, both academic and non-academic. See below for a list of suggested topics. 

Submissions will be peer-reviewed by scholars, artists or practitioners in the appropriate field. See below for further details on the review process. 

Contributions may be in the following forms:

1) Commentary or artwork inspired by a specific image in the collection.

2) Essays or artwork relating to general themes raised by the exhibition and the project as a whole.

Contributions should be original works. Contributors will retain rights to what they publish with us; we ask only for acknowledgement in future publications.

The Mirror of Race project intends to engage audiences at all levels, from elementary school to graduate students, as well as the general public. For the most part, we are looking for contributions that a generally informed reader could understand. We would like to avoid academic jargon and scholasticism as much as possible. While we expect discipline-specific rigor from essay contributions, we seek work that models personal reflection and engagement with the images and issues, not the conventional academic style of impersonal detachment.


Please do not submit unsolicited work. Instead, please write to the project director (see below) with a brief abstract or synopsis of your intended contribution.

Because the Mirror of Race has a variety of potential audiences, please include a brief statement about your intended audience (for example: elementary school teachers; general readers; high school students; college students; etc.).

Note that you do not have to be an academic scholar or artist to contribute to the project! If you are not, please provide a resume or curriculum vitae so that we may know more about your background.

Written work may vary in length, from relatively short stories or close readings of individual images (about 1000 words) to longer research essays (up to 5,000 words, or longer). Existing publications average around 2500 words. The author’s preliminary proposal should give a provisional indication of length. 

If your proposal seems appropriate to our needs after a preliminary review, we will invite you to submit the complete work for a formal review.

The project has editors in the arts, the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. Once we have your completed work, the appropriate editor will find a suitable expert to make the review. Peer review will be blind. 

Detailed guidelines for the peer review process may be found here.

To make an inquiry about submission, please email Gregory Fried, the project director, at


The following list of suggested topics is not exhaustive by any means, but it does cover some of the themes we would like to see addressed by essays, commentary, and works of art (visual, spoken word, written – all kinds). We welcome other ideas. 

 • Visual “profiling” of race and ethnicity

• Science and pseudo-science of racial identification

• Gender, race and passing

• Race and the law

• Race and the idea of America

• Analysis of specific marginalized “racial” groups

• “Whiteness” as a social construction

• The “raced” language of clothing and the pose

• Race and the history of photography in the period

• Depictions of family, friendship, and intimacy

• Violence, war and race

• Class, occupation, race

• The Census: at mid-19th century and in the present

• The native and the foreign

• Race and nature; landscape and cityscape

• Constructing the beautiful and the ugly

• Close readings of individual images

• Teaching race

• Immigration and race