African Studies Journals

Image: African Studies Centre, Leiden

This page is intended to give an overview of the most widely recognised journals in African Studies, which are clustered under three groupings: African Studies Journals, Regional Journals, and Thematic or Disciplinary Journals. For those wishing to publish their work in a journal, there are several factors to consider, including relevance for one’s own work, affinity with subject and style, scientific importance, accessibility, and the role the journal plays in specific academic debates. 

There are more than 100 academic journals in African Studies. Some journals date back to a century ago, for example African Affairs (1901-), Africa (1928-), and Africa (rivista) (1946-). Some journals were established more recently, such as Cahiers d'Études Africaines (1960-) and Africa Spectrum (1966-).

In the field of African Studies, Open Access is important to ensure the widest possible access, especially to scholars from the Global South. There are only a few journals in African Studies which have a complete Open Access policy, most notably Africa Spectrum (Open Access online, and not charging any author’s fee).

Journals in this list are peer-reviewed, unless otherwise indicated. If you want to know more about the impact factor of a journal, please go to the website of the journal itself or to the website Clarivate. While citations and impact factor are often taken into account regarding career advancement, the wider value of publishing one’s work is to ensure that Africanist voices play a role in key academic and societal debates.

African Studies Journals

Africa - Cambridge University Press

Africa is the premier journal devoted to the study of African societies and culture. Editorial policy encourages an interdisciplinary approach, involving humanities, social sciences, and environmental sciences. 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 'on the ground', and links between local and national levels of society. At the same time, it maintains its commitment to the theoretically informed analysis of the realities of Africa's own cultural categories. Each issue contains six or seven major articles, arranged thematically, extensive review essays and substantial book reviews. Special issues are published annually.

Africa Spectrum – GIGA (German Institute of Global and Area Studies) 

Africa Spectrum is published by the GIGA Institute for African Affairs (IAA) in Hamburg. It is a peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to original research on the politics, societies, and economics of sub-Saharan Africa. As a multidisciplinary journal, Africa Spectrum welcomes submissions employing a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. In addition to original research articles, Africa Spectrum also publishes analytical reports and book reviews. 

African Affairs ­– Oxford Academic   

African Affairs is published on behalf of the Royal African Society and is the top ranked journal in African Studies. It is an inter-disciplinary journal, with a focus on the politics and international relations of sub-Saharan Africa. It also includes sociology, anthropology, economics, and to the extent that articles inform debates on contemporary Africa, history, literature, art, music and more. Each issue of African Affairs contains new original research articles, as well as briefings on contemporary issues, and research notes on ethical and methodological challenges. There is also a substantial section of book reviews, with occasional review articles. 

African and Asian Studies – Brill     

African and Asian Studies presents a scholarly account of studies of individuals and societies in Africa and Asia. Its scope is to publish original research by social scientists in the areas of anthropology, sociology, history, political science and related social sciences about African and Asian socieites and cultures and their relationships. The journal focuses on problems and possibilities, past and future. Where possible, comparisons are made between countries and continents. Articles should be based on original research and can be co-authored. 

African Studies – Taylor & Francis   

African Studies is an international, interdisciplinary journal which publishes high-quality conceptual and empirical research relevant to Africa. Significant disciplines include but are not limited to: anthropology, critical race, gender and sexuality studies, geography, history, literary, cultural and media studies, sociology, and politics.

African Studies Review – Cambridge University Review 

African Studies Review (ASR) is the flagship scholarly journal of the African Studies Association. The ASR publishes the highest quality African Studies scholarship in all academic disciplines. The ASR's rigorous interdisciplinary peer review seeks to contribute to the development of scholarly conversations of interest to the diverse audience of the Association's membership and to the growth of African Studies in North America, on the African continent, and in a global comparative context.

Afriche e Orienti – AIEP Editore (AEGIS member journal)

The journal Afriche e Orienti was established in the spring of 1999 by a group of junior and senior scholars of the association "Afriche e Orienti", and is published by AIEP Editore. The journal publishes three issues per year, and focuses on Africa, the Mediterranean Region and the Middle East. "Afriche e orienti” addresses a range of topics in the fields of history, politics and development of these regions. Afriche e Orienti is committed to publish the most recent and high quality empirical and analytical research from Italian and international scholars. Articles are published in Italian, English and French.

Afrika Focus – Brill (AEGIS member journal)

Afrika Focus promotes critical and worldly debates with Africa at the centre. It accepts scholarly contributions dealing with current trends and new developments at both empirical and theoretical levels, and encourages the submission of work from new generations of researchers based in the continent. The articles should offer original research and address the interdisciplinary readership of this well-established journal. 

Anthropology Southern Africa – Anthropology Southern Africa

Anthropology Southern Africa is the peer-reviewed journal of the Anthropology Southern Africa association. Formerly the Southern African Journal of Ethnology (1994-2001), the journal changed name and focus in 2002. The journal aims to promote anthropology in Southern Africa, to support ethnographic and theoretical research, and to provide voices to public debates. Anthropology Southern Africa is committed to contemporary perspectives in social and cultural anthropology and in relevant interdisciplinary scholarship. It looks at the current conditions in Southern Africa, African, and Global socieites, taking into consideration varied challenges such as the politics of difference, of poverty and dignity.

Canadian Journal of African Studies – Taylor & Francis 

Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue canadienne des études africaines (CJAS / RCEA) is the official publication of the Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS); launched in 1967, it is a bilingual multidisciplinary journal committed to facilitating the dissemination of social science research by Africanists world-wide.  It is one of only two international journals in African studies which has consistently published in both English and French.

Journal of African Cultural Studies – International African Institute 

The Journal of African Cultural Studies publishes leading scholarship on African culture from inside and outside Africa, with a special commitment to Africa-based authors and to African languages. Our editorial policy encourages an interdisciplinary approach, involving humanities, and qualitative social sciences including environmental sciences. The journal focuses on dimensions of African culture, performance arts, visual arts, music, cinema, and the role of the media, the relationship between culture and power, as well as issues within such fields as  popular culture in Africa, sociolinguistic topics of cultural interest, and culture and gender.

Journal of Contemporary African Studies – Taylor & Francis 

Journal of Contemporary African Studies (JCAS)  is an interdisciplinary journal seeking to promote an African-centred scholarly understanding of societies on the continent and their location within the global political economy. Its scope extends across a wide range of social science and humanities disciplines with topics covered including, but not limited to, culture, development, education, environmental questions, gender, government, labour, land, leadership, political economy politics, social movements, sociology of knowledge and welfare.

Review of African Political Economy – Taylor & Francis 

Since 1974 the Review of African Political Economy has provided radical analysis of trends, issues and social processes in Africa, adopting a broadly materialist interpretation of change. Established by a group of scholars and activists in the UK and Africa, the journal is committed to understanding the projects of radical transformation. From the state-led attempts at political transformation in Tanzania to the later wave of independence in Mozambique and Angola.

Social Dynamics – Taylor & Francis 

Social Dynamics strives to publish conceptually-informed research on African that addresses an interdisciplinary audience. It is the journal of the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. It has been published since 1975, and is committed to advancing interdisciplinary academic research, fostering debate and engaging current issues pertaining to the Africa continent. Articles cover the full range of humanities and social sciences including anthropology, archaeology, economics, education, history, literary and language studies, music, politics, psychology and sociology.

The Journal of Modern African Studies – Cambridge University Press 

The Journal of Modern African Studies offers a quarterly survey of developments in modern African politics and society. Its main emphasis is on current issues in African politics, economies, societies and international relations. It is intended not only for students and academic specialists, but also for general readers and practitioners with a concern for modern Africa, living and working both inside and outside the continent.

Vienna Journal of African Studies – Stichproben, Department of African Studies, University of Vienna (AEGIS member journal) 

The ‘Stichproben – Vienna Journal of African Studies’ are published twice a year at the Department of African Studies, University of Vienna, Austria. The journal contributes to debates on recent and historical issues of African Studies, with a focus on both Africa and its diaspora. The contributions often cross the boundaries of individual disciplines. We provide a platform for interdisciplinary exchange among scholars of different backgrounds and origins. The Stichproben are particularly eager to support young scholars and students in their research and publication activities. Our journal is a medium to enhance the visibility of the discipline of African Studies.

Regional Journals 

Journal of Eastern African Studies – Taylor & Francis 

The Journal of East African Studies is an international publication of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, published four times a year. It aims to promote fresh scholarly enquiry on the region within the humanities and social sciences, and to encourage work that communicates across discplinary boundaries. It seeks to foster interdisciplinary analysis, strong comparative perspectives, and research employing the most significant theoretical or methodological approaches for the region.

Journal of Southern African Studies – Taylor & Francis 

The Journal of Southern African Studies (JSAS) is an international publication for work of high academic quality on issues of interest and concern in the region of Southern Africa. It aims to generate fresh scholarly research in the fields of history, economics, sociology, demography, social anthropology, geography, development studies, administration, law, political science, political economy, international relations, literature, cultural studies, and the natural sciences in so far as they relate to the human condition.

Thematic or Disciplinary Journals related to Africa or African Studies 

African Archaeological Review – Springer

The African Archaelogical Review publishes original research articles, review essays, reports, book/media reviews, and forums/commentaries on African archaelogy, highlighting the contributions of the African continent to critical global issues in the past and present. Relevant topics include the emergence of modern humans and earliest manifestations of human culture; subsistence, agricultural, and technological innovations; and social complexity, as well as topical issues on heritage.

African Development Review – Wiley

African Development Review is a professional journal devoted to the study and analysis of development policy in Africa. Published four times a year for the African Development Bank, the Review emphasizes policy relevance of research findings, rather than purely theoretical and quantitative issues.

AJAR-African Journal of AIDS Research – Taylor & Francis 

African Journal of AIDS Research (AJAR) is a peer-reviewed research journal publishing papers that make an original contribution to the understanding of social dimensions of HIV/AIDS in African contexts. AJAR includes articles from, amongst others, the disciplines of sociology, demography, epidemiology, social geography, economics, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, health communication, media, cultural studies, public health, education, nursing science and social work.

Economic Development and Cultural Change – The University of Chicago Press Journals 

Economic Development and Cultural Change (EDCC) publishes studies that use modern theoretical and empirical approaches to examine both the determinants and the effects of various dimensions of economic development and cultural change. EDCC's focus is on empirical papers with analytic underpinnings, concentrating on micro-level evidence, that use appropriate data to test theoretical models and explore policy impacts related to economic development.

Journal of African History – Cambridge University Press 

The Journal of African History (JAH) publishes articles and book reviews ranging wiely over the African past, from ancient times to the present. Historical approaches to all time periods are welcome. The thematic range is equally broad, covering social, economic, political, cultural, and intellectual history.

Journal of African Law – Cambridge University Press 

The Journal of African Law has been in existence for over 65 years and in that time has reflected changing trends in law and legal reform. The earlier focus on legal pluralism and customary law has evolved to include a focus on issues of international law in the African context, legal and institutional regional and sub-regional developments, post conflict resolution, constitutionalism, commercial law and environmental law.

Journal of African Media Studies – Intellect Books

The Journal of African Media Studies (JAMS) is an interdisciplinary journal that provides a forum for debate on the historical and contemporary aspects of media and communication in Africa. It hereby aims to contribute to the ongoing repositioning of media and cultural studies outside the Anglo-American axis. JAMS interprets media in a broad sense, incorporating not only formal media such as radio, television, print, internet and mobile telephony but also considers articles on 'informal', 'small' or 'indigenous' media such as music, jokes and theatre.

South African Geographical Journal – Taylor & Francis 

The South African Geographical Journal was founded in 1917 and is the flagship journal of the Society of South African Geographers. The journal aims at using southern Africa as a region from, and through, which to communicate geographic knowledge and to engage with issues and themes relevant to this discpline.

South African Historical Journal – Taylor & Francis 

The South African Historical Journal is fully accredited, peer reviewed and internationally regarded as a premier history journal published in South Africa, promoting significant historical scholarship on the country as well as the southern African region. As the journal of the Southern African Historical Society, it has provided a high-quality medium for original thinking about South African history and has thus shaped – and continues to contribute towards defining – the historiography of the region.

South African Journal of Economics – Wiley

Since its inception in 1925, the South African Journal of Economics has established a reputation as one of the leading international regional journals, publishing economics research affecting African countries for a worldwide audience. The South African Journal of Economics publishes papers from internationally recogised authors on a wide range of subjects and accepts contributions on all the known fields of the discipline, including methodology and economic history and, in more recent times, econometrics.

South African Journal on Human Rights – Taylor & Francis 

Founded in 1985 by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) and housed at the School of Law, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, the SAJHR is the leading South African public law journal, publishing scholarship of the highest standard for a worldwide readership. SAJHR is dedicated to the advancement of scholarship on human rights and justice-related law in South Africa.

Urban Forum – Springer

This journal publishes papers, which engage broadly with urban processes, developments, challenges, politics and people, providing a distinctive African focus on these themes. Topics covered variously engage with the dynamics of governance, everyday urban life, economies and environments. The journal uses empirical data to reinforce and refine theoretical developments in urban studies, draws on the specificities of the African context, and opens up geographically diverse conversations on African cities.