Guidelines: Issues in Review

Proposals and Contributing Editor Tasks/Timelines

Early Theatre invites proposals for future Issues in Review sections that engage new directions for the study of medieval and early modern drama and performance. Issues in Review sections allow for collective and collaborative exploration of particular topics, problems, or issues. We invite proposals for Issues in Review sections that include traditional single-authored essays as well as those that include co-authored papers, reflections by directors, actors, or other practitioners, and extended performance reviews. Issues in Review contributors routinely include scholars at various career stages, including graduate researchers. We also welcome Issues in Review proposals that span literary and historical periods and/or bring attention to historically marginalized topics or perspectives.

What is an Issues in Review section?

Since its first volume, Early Theatre has published Issues in Review sections that capture emerging scholarly conversations and move complex research questions forward. Issues in Review sections might be thought of as a version of a published collection of essays. The relatively quick turnaround time from proposal to publication, and shorter length, frequently fosters exploration of still-developing ideas (rather than seeking to provide the final word on a subject).

An Issues in Review section typically includes an introductory essay, which summarizes and responds to existing scholarship, followed by three or more short essays that present original work. The entire section should total between 25,000 and 30,000 words (a firm upper limit). While the introduction and essays that make up the section are normally between 4,000 and 5,000 words each, other configurations are welcome. Each Issues in Review is shaped so that it can be read from beginning to end, as well as to allow each essay to stand alone.

How do I propose an Issues in Review section?

Anyone interested in proposing an Issues in Review section should first query the editors. You can send an email to the editors ( or approach us at a conference. We are happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of development.

Good candidates for Issues in Review sections include

  • a selection of essays from a conference panel, roundtable, or session;
  • a selection of essays from a conference seminar (such as Shakespeare Association of America or Society for Renaissance Studies seminars);
  • a group of essays responding to a publication or performance project; and/or
  • a newly developed set of essays responding to an emerging critical debate.

Those thinking of proposing an Issues in Review section should look at past issues of the journal for models. Examples available in open access format through our journal archives include:

Since the person(s) proposing an Issues in Review section will, if their proposal is accepted, take responsibility for organizing and communicating with their other contributors, we refer to authors of Issue in Review proposals as contributing editors. Those who contribute other elements of the section are referred to as authors. The contributing editor(s) for an Issues in Review section will receive support and, as appropriate, mentoring from Early Theatre’s editors and advisory board members. Upon publication of an Issues in Review section, contributing editors are invited to become members of the journal’s advisory board for a period of two years.

A formal proposal is needed in order for an Issues in Review to proceed. Before drafting the proposal, contributing editors need to secure agreement from all of their authors that, if the Issues in Review section is approved, (1) they will send their work and meet stated deadlines, and (2) they will not publish their work elsewhere before the Issues in Review is published. Once authors have agreed to these conditions, contributing editors should email the journal editors a document that provides the following:

  • A proposed title for the section
  • An overview, comprising
    • a clear description of the proposed topic, including a brief explanation of what is important and interesting about it. (If a particular occasion serves as genesis for your Issues in Review section idea – for example, a conference panel, performance event, newly discovered document, seminar, etc. – please let us know.)
    • a brief summary of existing scholarship on the proposed topic along with an explanation of how this Issues in Review section will fill a gap and/or move scholarly conversations forward. 
    • a short discussion of how this set of essays will provide varied and new perspectives on this topic.
    • an approximate word count for the proposed section as a whole, with estimated lengths for the envisioned introduction.
  • For each essay
    • a title and abstract (up to 250 words).
    • the author’s/authors’ name(s) and contact information.
    • a brief biographical statement (up to 100 words).
    • an approximate word-count.

Within two months of receipt, the Early Theatre editors will determine if the proposed section should move forward. If approved, the editors will provide information about deadlines and advice about shaping content. The journal editors identify and assign peer reviewers for all Issues in Review sections, but we also welcome suggestions regarding potential reviewers.

What is the typical Issues in Review timeline?

Each December issue of Early Theatre typicallly includes one Issues in Review section. Contributing editors for accepted Issues in Review sections should keep the following preparation and production timelines in mind. If a date listed below falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the deadline automatically extends to the following weekday. Note that the specific contents of an Issues in Review section might require adjustments of key dates; in such cases, the journal’s editors will keep the contributing editor(s) and authors informed about deadlines for paleography checking, securing image permissions, and formatting unusual material (such as musical notation, charts, or maps).

1 January through April 30: Contributing editors should work with authors individually and as a group to revise and coordinate essays so that they will function as a cohesive section (even if they present varying approaches or perspectives on the section topic).

May 15: Contributing editors should have received completed essays from all authors no later than this date. Contributing editors should then write/revise/update the section introduction and may wish to ask authors for final changes.

June 1: Completed manuscripts of all the essays must be submitted to the Early Theatre site no later than this date. Each author must upload their own essay as a separate submission, indicating that it is part of an Issues in Review section using the submission process drop-down menu. At this time, all content should be anonymized; for instance, section introductions by contributing editors should refer to authors of essays as AUTHOR 1, AUTHOR 2, etc. (Note: June 1 is a firm deadline; because the Issues in Review section gets reviewed as a whole, all essays must be submitted by this date to allow sufficient time to read and offer feedback on a submission of up to 30,000 words.)

July 15: Journal editors will send reader reports to individual authors by this date; contributing editors will receive reports for all elements of the section. Individual essays may be accepted with no changes; accepted pending minor changes; subject to additional review after revision; or rejected. At this time, the journal editors will confirm decisions about each essay and work with contributing editors to create a publication plan (subject to acceptance) for the Issues in Review section as a whole.

August 15: Authors of accepted essays should send “final” versions of their revised essays to contributing editor(s) for copy-editing. Authors should refer to Early Theatre’s Style Sheet and Style Sheet Supplement on DOIs for how to check for and cite DOIs. Contributing editors should correct errors, suggest changes, ensure consistency, and add in identifying information as needed.

September 15: Contributing editors should send copy-edited files to all authors, requiring them to check and upload corrected files by this date. Final copy-editing by the core copyediting team (journal editors and editorial assistants) will take place later in September or October. At that time, the copy-editing team will send essays to individual authors with queries and requests to approve changes, copying contributing editors on all correspondence. At this stage, authors will have 2-3 business days to respond to copy-editing queries. Contributing editors should communicate with authors to ensure that they keep contact information up to date in the online submission system, plan time to manage copy-edited files, and communicate with journal editors should they require additional time and/or support. 

November 1(ish): The typesetter will send PDF proofs in late October or early November. Contributing editors and authors will have one week to respond to the typesetter directly.

December 31: No later than this date, contributing editors and authors will receive notices that contents of the journal issue, including the Issues in Review section, have been published online and shared with aggregators. Early Theatre editors announce publication of a new issue and its contents on the journal website, through email lists, and via social media accounts. Once they have received notice that the issue has been published, contributing editors and authors are encouraged to promote their work through their own networks. Each contributing editor and author will receive a PDF file of their essay so that they can easily share work that is behind our one-year paywall. Early Theatre editors will also provide phrasing and links that can be disseminated to explain how interested readers can access journal content.