What are the best journals in your field?

I went to two three-hour-long grant writing workshops last Thursday (really!), and in the course of those, the speaker was talking about how some reviewers are well qualified to evaluate research in your particular field, but others, while very intelligent, well-read, educated people, are not experts in your specific area and can't look at your CV and know whether or not to be impressed; they don't know whether the journals you've published in are the best or not.

That got me to thinking -- I do know what the best journals are in my field (one would hope!), but I don't, in fact, have as firm a grasp as I would like on what the top-tier journals are in other subfields in English studies or in related fields. Yes, I know I could just look at the MLA index of periodicals and review all the acceptance rates, but I want to hear from people in these fields; I want to know which journals have the most cachet, and this may not necessarily line up with acceptance rates.

Here's what I do know, and I'd like you to help me fill in the blanks. Please suggest journals in the comments, or if you don't want to register, you can use my contact form. [I'm adding to this list as I get suggestions. I still have more to add, but this list has been updated on 15 October.]

Rhetoric and Composition: Rhetoric Society Quarterly, College Composition and Communication, JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, College English. Those seem to be considered the best. Also very good are Journal of Basic Writing, Pedagogy, Rhetoric Review, Rhetorica, Computers and Composition, and Teaching English in the Two-Year College.


general: PMLA, obviously; ELH...what else?

medieval: Speculum, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Exemplaria, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, The Chaucer Review, Saga-Book, Scandinavian Studies, Studies in Medievalism

manuscript studies: Manuscripta

Anglo-Saxon studies: Anglo-Saxon England

Renaissance/early modern: Renaissance Quarterly, Sixteenth-Century Journal, The Shakespeare Quarterly

17th century:

Restoration/18th century: Eighteenth-Century Studies, The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Eighteenth-Century Life, Eighteenth-Century Fiction.

19th century British:

American (general): American Literature, American Literary History.

British (general): Journal of British Studies

18th/19th century American: Early American Literature

20th century British: I know Modernism/Modernity and Modern Fiction Studies are both good, but what else?

20th century American:

African American:


literary criticism/theory: Critical Inquiry

children's literature: The Lion and the Unicorn, Children's Literature Association Quarterly. Also good: Canadian's Children's Literature/Litterature Canadienne pour la Jeunesse

performance studies: Text and Performance Quarterly (is performance studies the same thing as studying drama?)

science fiction: Science Fiction Studies

film studies:

multicultural literature/ethnic studies: SAIL (Studies in American Indian Literatures)

gender studies: I know some good ones include Signs, Feminist Studies, Hypatia, Feminist Teacher, Legacy


history: American Historical Review


...and any other fields you'd like to add.


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torn between two impulses

Q's like this pull me in two directions. I share the impulse to be able to recognize and reward "tough gets" but I've also bookmarked some discussions from the last few years about how the pressure to rank journals according to various criteria often results in certain editors and/or writers gaming the system. Since some of my work right now is in thinking about this system, I'm loath to see it gamed. Heh.

That said, I'd add Written Communication, RTE, and TCQ, at least to the very good category for us.


In American literature

In American literature there's, well, American Literature, as well as American Literary History. At least, those are the two I read cover-to-cover and see cited most frequently. As for medieval studies, I think Speculum's generally considered the most prestigious.

lost cachet?

Is Social Text still so compromised by the Sokal thing as to be not worth mention? What about Critical Inquiry? Boundary 2?


For my secondary area, Children's and YA Literature:

(in no particular order)

1. The Lion and The Unicorn
2. Children's Literature Association Quarterly

Canadian's Children's Literature/Litterature canadienne pour la jeunesse is another nice journal - and it is bilingual to boot!

performance studies

TPQ (text and performance quarterly) is a great journal for performance studies as well as politics/public sphere work

...and I like Feminist Teacher as well for gender studies


For medieval studies, I

For medieval studies, I would say Speculum (ignore any unfortunate implications of the name) and personally I really like Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. For history, I'd say American Historical Review.

(Ooops, Scott said Speculum already!)

For early modern stuff, there's Renaissance Quarterly and Sixteenth-Century Journal.

Journal of British Studies for, well, British stuff.

Some more medieval and science fiction journals

As others have said, Speculum is at the top for Medieval Studies, but that is Medieval Studies in the broadest sense: history, philosophy, theology, archaeology, literature, etc.).

For Anglo-Saxon Studies, it's Anglo-Saxon England, but, again, that's everything from art history to numismatics.

For Medieval literature, there's Exemplaria if it's theory heavy, and The Journal of English and Germanic Philology for more traditional scholarship.

For later Middle English literature and all things related to Chaucer, there's The Chaucer Review.

For Old Norse/Medieval Scandianvian scholarship, there's both Saga-Book and Scandinavian Studies.

And for manuscript studies there's Manuscripta.

For Medievalism, the study of the appropriation and the study of the appropriation of the Medieval world and Medieval cultural artifacts, Studies in Medievalism is the top journal.

For notes, there's Notes and Queries and American Notes and Queries.

For Science Fiction, I believe it's Science Fiction Studies.

There are many journals

There are many journals under the sun.

Novel, Twentieth-Century Literature, Journal of Modern Literature, Studies in the Novel, Clio, ELT, Style, Genre, Representations, SEL, MLN, MLQ, Modern Philology, Exemplaria, Explicator (for short explications, perhaps different than notes strictu senso), Narrative, Poetics Today, Texas Studies in L&L, JNT, Critique, Contemporary Literature, are just a few that I think are all generally good if quite different from each other.

a few suggestions

A few suggestions of well-respected journals, though not necessarily all seen as "the best":

To Scott's list I'd add Early American Literature.

I'd second Jonathan's mention of SEL for British Lit.

For Restoration & 18th Century Lit: Eighteenth-Century Studies, The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Eighteenth-Century Life, Eighteenth-Century Fiction.

In Humanities Computing: Literary and Linguistic Computing

In Textual Studies: TEXT.

In Book History: Book History.

A few more for you

Under postcolonial -- Interventions is a big one

Under gender -- Feminist Studies, Meridians, and GLQ (Gay and Lesbian Quarterly), Also Gender, Place, and Culture (but this is feminist geography, so I am not sure if it is what you are looking for)

Under Film Studies -- Film Quarterly, Cinema Journal, Camera Obscura (feminism and film)

For what it's worth...

While these aren't necessarily the *most* prestigious, they're up there, and so the interesting pieces I read from well-regarded journals in international relations come from the European Journal of International Relations, Millennium, International Studies Quarterly, and Security Studies.

Journey to Ithaca

performance studies...

no, performance studies is not the same as studying drama. i find that i actually look at rhetoric and teaching all through a performance studies lens. it's a field that is usually housed in communication studies departments and is inherently interdisciplinary. it include traditional stage kinds of performance or performance art, but also encompasses performativity or performance as a social act. from the performances of everyday life to performative sites of resistance, the study of performance also crosses over into some of the cool work being done in cultural geography and rhetoric...

sorry for the rather long post...



There are a lot of people like that. Though intelligent and seem to fit the bill in every aspect, but they don't know what qualifies as good or not. Whereas some people I know, know a subject minimally yet they recognize the good ones immediately. Intuition or instinct maybe? Anyway, the list of journals are impressive. Though I'm not one to judge quickly. Thanks for the list though.

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