Submission Guidelines


The official journal of the American Humor Studies Association, Studies in American Humor welcomes manuscripts of between 5000 and 8000 words on any topic, theme, practice, practitioner, or medium of American humor, broadly construed. StAH values new transnational and interdisciplinary approaches as well as traditional critical and historical humanities scholarship. In addition to scholarly articles and book reviews, StAH invites excerpts of unpublished (or long lost) primary sources accompanied by short analytical discussions for our occasional feature, “The Recovery Room.” Our editorial board does not review empirical and quantitative research studies.

Please submit all manuscripts through our online Editorial Manager portal. Books and inquiries about book reviews should be sent to Sabrina Fuchs Abrams, Book Review Editor, at Queries about manuscripts for “The Recovery Room” and articles for our annual feature, “The Year’s Work in American Humor Studies,” should be sent to

Please address editorial queries, permissions inquiries, and other correspondence, including announcements, to the Editor, Lawrence Howe, at

All contributors must be members in good standing of the American Humor Studies Association (AHSA) at the time of publication. Membership information is available on the AHSA website, Please note that under our agreement with Penn State University Press (PSUP), membership in AHSA includes both a print subscription and online access to StAH as well as our semi-annual electronic newsletter, To Wit, whereas a subscription purchased through PSUP does not confer membership in AHSA.



General Submission Information

  • StAH uses a double-blind review process; please remove all references to or clues about your identity as author(s) from the main text and endnotes.
  • Submissions should be accompanied by an abstract of up to 150 words to be entered on the Editorial Manager submission page directly below the title of the submitted manuscript. Provide up to eight carefully selected key words to maximize discoverability of the published article through database searches.
  • Authors guarantee that the contribution does not infringe any copyright, violate any other property rights, or contain any scandalous, libelous, or unlawful matter.
  • Authors guarantee that the contribution has not been published elsewhere and is not currently under consideration elsewhere.
  • Authors of accepted submissions are responsible for securing permissions and paying the required fees for publication beyond fair use of any material under copyright. Copies of permission letters should be sent to the Pennsylvania State University Press as soon as practical following acceptance of the submission.

Manuscript Format

  • Article manuscripts should be between 5000 and 8000 words in length.
  • Articles should be submitted as Microsoft Word or RTF files.
  • Illustrations at the size the images should appear in print should be submitted separately from the manuscript as individual digital files of at least 600 dpi in JPG format.


  1. StAH uses footnotes following Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Chapter 14 provides a full list of citation formats for different sources. Footnotes in StAH are primarily for citations of quoted texts, using full bibliographic information for first references and short form citations for subsequent references. CMS note and bibliography forms differ; use the note forms.
  2. We do not include separate bibliography or reference list. Thus, initial citations to articles, essays, and other short works must therefore contain the complete page range in addition to any single page or shorter range for a specific quotation or paraphrase so that our readers may understand the scope of and easily locate a complete article or book chapter. Please provide page citations for paraphrases and summaries as well as for quotations.
  3. We discourage the use of discursive notes. Please consider the importance of discursive information that you may be inclined to include in a note. If it is sufficiently significant, it should be developed in the text of the essay; if not, then in most cases it should be deleted.
  4. Note the original year(s) of publication or production in parentheses following the first mention of any primary source to historicize the discussion or analysis. For films, please include director’s surname along with date. For television shows, please include network and inclusive dates.


Citation format examples

For a book:

  1. David Henry and Joe Henry, Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him (Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 2013), 14-15.

(N.B. First and last names in normal order; no comma after the first name in a two-author book; headline punctuation capitalizes all words in title except mid-title conjunctions and articles; no periods separate the author, title, and publication components; use postal abbreviations for states when the city’s location may need clarification; no abbreviation precedes page numbers; include all digits for page ranges numbered 100 and below.)

Subsequent citations:

Henry and Henry, Furious Cool, 19.
(N.B. StAH does not use ibid. for successive citations to the same source; use surname,

short title, and page number for all subsequent references to a source.)

  1. Henry Jenkins, What Made Pistachio Nuts? Early Sound Comedy and the Vaudeville Aesthetic (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), 124-25.

(N.B. No colon between title and subtitle when the former ends with a question mark or exclamation point; spell out rather than abbreviate University and Press; use only two digits for the second numeral in a page range unless sense requires another, e.g., 198-205, or 987-1005.)

Subsequent citations:

Jenkins, What Made Pistachio Nuts?, 19.

(N.B. Comma follows question mark or exclamation point before a page number in the short form.)

For an edited book:

  1.  Peter Messent and Louis J. Budd, eds., A Companion to Mark Twain (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005).

(N.B. Abbreviation for editors’ role follows their names and precedes book title when the whole book is cited; Blackwell Publishing may be reduced to Blackwell if such shortening is consistent in book citations throughout the manuscript.)



For a chapter in an edited book:

  1. Winifred Morgan, “Morphing Once Again: From Simon Suggs to Aunt Lucille,” in Southern Frontier Humor: New Approaches, ed. Ed Piacentino (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2013), 154-70; 166-68.

(N.B. Abbreviation for the editor’s role follows the book title and precedes the name when a chapter is cited instead of the whole volume—a reversal of the sequence used for citing whole books; comma precedes quotation marks at the end of the title; no other punctuation separates the editor’s name from the publication information in parentheses; comma separates publication details from the page numbers; full range of pages for the chapter precedes the cited page(s); a semicolon separates the full page range from the cited pages.)

Subsequent citations:

Morgan, “Morphing Once Again,” 167.

For a journal article:

  1. M. Thomas Inge, “William Faulkner and George Washington Harris: In the Tradition of Southwestern Humor,” Tennessee Studies in Literature 7 (1962): 47-59; 51-52.
  2. Eleanor Lewis Lambert, “Emily Dickinson’s Joke About Death,” Studies in American Humor n.s. 3, no. 27 (2013): 7-32; 10.
  3. Rob King, “Humor Across Media in the 1920s and 1930s: An Introduction,” Studies in  American Humor ser. 4, 1, no. 2 (2015): 135-141; 137-38.

(N.B. Provide full range of pages for journal articles; separate volume (or series) and issue numbers with a comma and the abbreviation no. for number; enclose the date in parentheses; separate the parenthetic date from page numbers with a colon; add cited page(s) following the full page range, separated by a semicolon. In citing articles from Studies in American Humor, please note that it has numbered issues variably in its three series—the original series, n.s., and n.s. 3—occasionally without collecting them into numbered volumes. StAH is now publishing series 4, as shown in n. 10, above.)

  1.  Lambert, “Emily Dickinson’s Joke,” 30. 12. King, “Humor Across Media,” 135.

For a DVD (CMS 14.279):

  1.  Richard Pryor, writer and performer, Richard Pryor Live and Smokin’, directed by Michael Blum, performed at the New York Improvisation on April 20, 1971 (n.p.: MPI Home Video, 1997), DVD, 46 min.; quotation at 29:32.

(N.B. Roles are indicated without abbreviations in whatever order suits your emphasis; indicate an unidentifiable publication place by abbreviating no place; indicate media type after the publication information; in some cases, you may wish to indicate with timing notations where on a disc a quoted passage occurs.)

For a TV program:

  1. “Crate,” Veep, season 3, episode 9, directed by Armando Iannucci and written by    Iannucci, Simon Blackwell, and Georgia Pritchett, televised by HBO on June 8, 2014.

(N.B. roles are indicated without abbreviations in whatever order suits your emphasis; indicate network and original distribution date; no need for online access dates.)

  1. “Crate,” Veep, 18:15-20:30.

For an online video:

  1. Issa Rae, writer and performer, “The Job,” The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl, season 1, episode 1, web series, Hereafter cited as MABG.
  2. Rae, “The Job,” MABG, 12:30.
  3. “President Obama Speaks at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner,” YouTube video, 32:38, from a performance televised by C-SPAN on April 30, 2016, posted by The White House, April 30, 2016,; the fictitious conversation between Obama and former House Speaker John Boehner begins at 25:52.

(N.B. Posting information not needed for videos posted by the originating organization.)

  1. “President Obama Speaks.”
  2. “Negrotown,” Key & Peele, season 4, episode 11, directed by Peter Atenccio, televised    by Comedy Central on May 6, 2015, negrotown-uncensored. Successive references from this episode come from this source.

For an archival source:

  1. Script for the Canada Dry Ginger Ale Program, May 2, 1932, Radio Scripts, box 1, file     1, collection 134, Jack Benny Papers, University of California at Los Angeles Library.
  2. Script for the Canada Dry Ginger Ale Program, May 2, 1932.


Writing Abstracts

An abstract is a self-contained piece of writing that can be understood independently from the article. It must be brief (approximately 150–250 words) and may include these elements:


– Statement of the problem and objectives (gap in literature on this topic)

– Thesis statement or question

– Summary of employed methods, viewpoint, research approach, conclusion(s) and/or

implications of research

Keep in Mind… Depending on your rhetorical strategy, an abstract need not include your entire conclusion, as you may want to reserve this for readers of your article. The abstract should, however, clearly and concisely indicate to the reader what questions will be answered in the article. You want to cultivate anticipation so the reader knows exactly what to expect when reading the article—if not the precise details of your conclusion(s).



– Include your thesis, usually in the first 1–2 sentences
– Provide background information placing your work in the larger body of literature
– Use the same chronological structure as the original work
– Follow lucid and concise prose
– Explain the purpose of the work and methods used
– Use keywords and phrases that quickly identify the content and focus of the work
– Mimic the type and style of language found in the original article, including technical



Do not

– Refer extensively to other works
– Add information not contained in the original work

– Define terms
– Repeat or rephrase your title


The abstract should begin with a clear sense of the research question and thesis.

While some recent scholars claim to have refuted the relevance of stylometric analysis for Plato studies, new technological advances reopen the question. In this article I use two recently completed stylometric analyses of the Platonic corpus to show that advanced artificial intelligence techniques such as genetic algorithms can serve as a foundation for chronological assertions.

It is often useful to identify the theoretical or methodological school used to approach the thesis question and/or to position the article within an ongoing debate. This helps readers situate the article in the larger conversations of your discipline.

The debate among Watts, Koupria, and Brecker over the reliability of stylometry (PMLA 126.5, Fall 2009) suggests that . . .” or “Using the definition of style proposed by Markos (2014), I argue that . . .”

Finally, briefly state the conclusion.

Through analyzing the results of Watts and Koupria’s genetic algorithmic stylometry, I demonstrate that they provide solutions to roadblocks previously identified in stylometric analyses of the Platonic corpus for the purposes of developing a reliable chronology. These solutions . . .



  • Include translations for all quotations in languages other than English. Translations for individual foreign words, run-in quotes, and block quotes should be in parentheses.
  • In general, translations should be accompanied by the original quotation in the endnotes.

Book reviews

  • Please structure your heading as in the following example:
  • No Joke: Making Jewish Humor. By Ruth R. Wisse. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013. 279 pp.

Reviewed by Rachel Trousdale

Saturday Night Live and American TV. Edited by Nick Marx, Matt Sienkiwicz, and Ron Becker. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013. 294 pp.

Reviewed by David Gillota

  • Sign your review with your name and affiliation.