postmedieval style guide

Please note that postmedieval’s style guidelines have changed significantly as of Volume 13 (2022). Articles published in previous issues will not be a reliable model for our current house style. Please also note that postmedieval only accepts original submissions from authors. We cannot publish material that has previously been published elsewhere. If you have any questions about this, please contact

Word count

Most postmedieval articles fall between 6,000 and 12,000 words (including notes and references), but these are not strict limits. For articles of exceptional brevity or length, please consult with the editors.

Referencing Style

Chicago Author-Date (See sample citations below. For further documentation, consult

Again, use of Chicago Author-Date is new as of 2022. It entails numerous changes; two of particular prominence are that (a) authors’ first names (not just initials) are now included in reference entries, and (b) no comma is used between author and date in parenthetical citations.

For more details about Chicago Author-date citations, please see the final part of this style guide and Chapter 15 of The Chicago Manual of Style. (Please contact us if you do not have access to Chapter 15 of The Chicago Manual of Style.)

Author-Date Citation of Primary Sources

For manuscripts and archival material, the in-text citation should include the name of the author (if appropriate), the location, a shortened version of the name of the library/archive, shelfmark, and (if appropriate) folio number and line number. The bibliography should include the name of the author and the title of the work (if appropriate), the shelfmark, name of the library/archive, and location. Examples:

In-text citation: (Al-Bisṭāmī, Paris, BnF MS Arabe 6520, fol. 16v)

Bibliography: Al-Bisṭāmī, ʻAbd al-Raḥmān, Al-fawāʾiḥ al-miskiyya. MS Arabe 6520, Bibliothèque nationale de la France, Paris.

In-text citation: (Salisbury, Salisbury Cathedral Archives, FG/1/1, fol. 403r, ln. 4)

Bibliography: Avebury Parish Meeting Records, 1641-3. FG/1/1, Salisbury Cathedral Archives, Salisbury.

In the bibliography, manuscripts and archival material are separated from edited sources and precede the list of edited sources. This list can be titled ‘Unedited Sources’.

Please remember that our readership issues from diverse disciplines and languages. When citing a series of primary sources or a dictionary, please give the full title (e.g. Middle English Dictionary rather than MED, Early English Text Society rather than EETS).

For a helpful guide on how to cite sources from indigenous communities, please see the Indigenous Research Guide developed by the University of Alberta in collaboration with the Situated Knowledges Indigenous Peoples and Place Project (SKIPP).


Single quotation marks; double quotation marks for quotes-within-quotes. Final punctuation occurs within marks, although full stops are displaced so as to include parenthetical citations within the sentence. Examples:

The novel plays on commonplaces of medieval devotion: ‘Jesus lowered his eyes and said, “Like a mother I give you my breast to suck”’ (Glück 1994, 22). The scene is abruptly focalized through the Vicar, who ‘saw himself twisted and crumpled forwards although he sat immobile,’ in a shift that might seem to change the rules of narrative perspective (Glück 1994, 20).

All verse quotations, and prose quotations that are longer than thirty words, are indented without quotation marks.


postmedieval uses side-notes, rather end- or footnotes. As a result, notes are strictly limited to no more than 50 words per note. Please use parenthetical in-text citations, instead of notes, whenever possible. The journal’s original motivation for employing side-notes was to lay emphasis on articles’ readability, accessibility, and essayistic style and to distinguish the journal from other, more footnote-heavy publications in medieval studies.

Translation in text

postmedieval does not publish notes containing either original-language quotations or translations. (See previous item.) The stylistic default should be the use of Modern English translations with citations referring readers to original-language sources. For unusual or crucial phrases, it is often advisable to provide a snippet of the original language. Sometimes only a few original-language words are essential and can be incorporated parenthetically in their original script or in transliteration. The overall goal is readability. For example:

The level tone (平 Ch: ping ) is associated with the east, the spring, wood, blue green, birth, and the awakening of desire for spiritual growth (発心 Jp: hosshin).

When a quotation is employed in the body of the text, original-language words can be included in square brackets within the quotation, or in parentheses outside of the quotation. Examples:

This finds its most well-known formulation in Ibn Sīnā’s Pointers and Reminders, where he states that ‘there is a certain relationship between enunciation [ لفظ ] and mental content [ معنى ]’.The treatise concludes with the assertion that the ‘Bright Mirror ’ is ‘nothing other than a shining mirror in this final age, and nothing other than the heart and viscera of the path’ of sutra recitation (是則末代之明鏡也。是則此道之肝心也。).

If the translation is following a block quotation, the translation should be surrounded by square brackets. Example:

ولأن بين اللفظ والمعنى علاقة ما،

وربما أثرت أحوال فى اللفظ فى أحوال المعنى.

فلذاك يلزم المنطقي أيضاً أن يراعى جانب اللفظ المطلق من

حيث ذلك غير مقيد بلغة قوم دون قوم

[There is a certain relationship between enunciation and mental content. And the states of the enunciations may affect the states of the mental content. For this reason, the logician must also take heed with regards to absolute enunciation, since it is not defined in the language of one tribe more than another.] (Ibn Sīnā 1957, I 131; trans. my own from Arabic)

Please indicate the original language of any translated quotations, either in the body of the text, or in the citation. If the quotation is taken from an original-language source, which you have translated yourself, please indicate that you are the translator in the in-text citation by using a semicolon followed by ‘trans. my own from’. For example:

(Latour 2023, 132; trans. my own from French)

In the bibliography, please give the full title of works in their original language, transliterated into the Latin alphabet if required. Examples:

Ibn Khaldūn, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān. 1981. Al-ʿibar wa-l-dīwān al-mubtadaʾ wa-l-khabar fī tārīkh al-ʿarab. Beirut: Dār al-fikr. Latour, Bruno. 2012. Enquête sur les modes d’existence: une anthropologie des modernes. Paris: la Découverte.

Non-Latin Writing Systems

We support non-Latin writing systems. Please insert any quotations you decide to use in their original script, without transliteration. Single words, personal names, and place names are an exception–they can be used in transliteration in a sentence. Examples:

Arabic philological methods would help to define the concept of ṣaḥut ha-leshon , the linguistic purity of the Hebrew language. Kannō, as a Buddhist term, speaks to a desired state of resonance between a believer and the divine being who is the object of belief.

Please contact us if you have any questions about which transliteration system to use. We recognise that when working with some premodern sources, especially premodern Sinitic textual materials, not all written characters have a stable transliteration and that how to sound a written character may often be determined by context. We are happy for authors to determine what is the most contextually appropriate transliteration.

Non-English Words

Single words or phrases in Non-English languages should be italicized, unless they are in common use in English (e.g. Quran, hadith, praxis, mise en scène). If frequently used in the article, italicize the first occurrence only.

Oxford comma


Use of dashes

When dashes are used in a manner similar to parentheses or commas—for instance, to add an additional thought within a sentence by gently breaking away from that sentence, as we’ve done here—then please use an em-dash (the longest form of dash) not separated by spaces from its surrounding words. In Microsoft Word, one creates an em-dash by typing a word, two hyphens, another word, and then a space; the two hyphens will then turn into a correctly formatted em-dash. For more on the correct use of hyphens, en-dashes, and em-dashes, see


Our default is to use the third person plural, “they,” rather than “he or she” when gender identity is unknown.

Social media

Much important intellectual work is carried out on social-media platforms. It should be cited whenever it contributes meaningfully to an article’s claims or analysis.


Authors are responsible for obtaining high-resolution files and permissions by the time their article is ready for copyediting. For more information on the formats and resolutions that we support, please consult the page here. There is no fixed number of images allowed per article. Authors often size the images in text to show how they should be formatted. Image captions should include a description, the provenance of the image, whether the image is a detail and the credit.Please label the images as fig.1, fig. 2, and so on. In physical printing, images will be in black&white, but digital (including .pdf versions) can feature them in colour. If you have questions about images, please contact

Ethical commitments

postmedieval asks our authors to consider their citation practises as simultaneously reflecting and constructing authority. We evaluate submissions based in part on their breadth and depth of engagement with thinkers who represent multiple perspectives in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, able-bodiedness, discipline, and/or academic status or affiliation. There is no simple rule to guide citation, so we ask authors to be thoughtful about its politics and ethics and open to editorial dialogue about it.As part of our citational ethics, we uphold a policy of not citing known harassers (unless accompanied by an acknowledgement of their harassing behaviour, documented with reference to public record). While medieval studies has been and continues to be shaped by systemic forms of violence, specific individuals nonetheless have been agents of exceptional harm. The motivation behind this policy is not to hold up past thinkers to our own moral judgement but to act in the present in solidarity with those now struggling to thrive in our field, with its hierarchies and unequal vulnerabilities. As editors, we are ready to confer confidentially with authors about relevant situations and concerns; authors are not responsible for upholding this policy on their own. Sadly, many who might have made rich intellectual contributions have already been excluded from our footnotes by the damaging effects of harassing behaviour. postmedieval is committed to acknowledging and respecting cultural and linguistic diversity and specificity. Authors are responsible for ensuring that all names of scholars and persons to which they refer are spelled correctly throughout. Please pay particular attention to names from cultures and writing conventions to some degree unfamiliar to you.postmedieval acknowledges the pervasive Latinisation of non-Western names in existing scholarly practice as well as the persuasive critiques of that practice. We recognise that it may at points be appropriate (for instance, to distinguish the influence of the Latin translations of the works of Ibn Sina under the Latinised name Avicenna). Authors are invited to engage critically with such usages, acknowledging and marking the adoption of naming conventions rather than naturalising Latinisation.postmedieval follows the practice of capitalising ‘Black’ and not capitalising ‘white’ when writing about race. For further guidance: postmedieval acknowledges and supports personal religious practice, inclusive for instance of authors who should wish to spell God ‘G-d’. It invites authors to engage respectfully with religious traditions not their own.

If you would like clarifications on any aspect of this style guide, please write to

Chicago Author-Date Sample Citations

Copied for your convenience from:

Go to Notes and Bibliography: Sample Citations

The following examples illustrate the author-date system. Each example of a reference list entry is accompanied by an example of a corresponding in-text citation. For more details and many more examples, see chapter 15 of The Chicago Manual of Style.


Reference list entries (in alphabetical order)

Grazer, Brian, and Charles Fishman. 2015. A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Smith, Zadie. 2016. Swing Time. New York: Penguin Press.

In-text citations

(Grazer and Fishman 2015, 12)

(Smith 2016, 315–16)

For more examples, see 15.40–45 in The Chicago Manual of Style.

Chapter or other part of an edited book

In the reference list, include the page range for the chapter or part. In the text, cite specific pages.

Reference list entry

Thoreau, Henry David. 2016. “Walking.” In The Making of the American Essay, edited by John D’Agata, 167–95. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press.

In-text citation

(Thoreau 2016, 177–78)

In some cases, you may want to cite the collection as a whole instead.

Reference list entry

D’Agata, John, ed. 2016. The Making of the American Essay. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press.

In-text citation

(D’Agata 2016, 177–78)

For more details, see 15.36 and 15.42 in The Chicago Manual of Style.

Translated book

Reference list entry

Lahiri, Jhumpa. 2016. In Other Words. Translated by Ann Goldstein. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

In-text citation

(Lahiri 2016, 146)


For books consulted online, include a URL or the name of the database in the reference list entry. For other types of e-books, name the format. If no fixed page numbers are available, cite a section title or a chapter or other number in the text, if any (or simply omit).

Reference list entries (in alphabetical order)

Austen, Jane. 2007. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Penguin Classics. Kindle.

Borel, Brooke. 2016. The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ProQuest Ebrary.

Kurland, Philip B., and Ralph Lerner, eds. 1987. The Founders’ Constitution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Melville, Herman. 1851. Moby-Dick; or, The Whale. New York: Harper & Brothers.

In-text citations

(Austen 2007, chap. 3)

(Borel 2016, 92)

(Kurland and Lerner 1987, chap. 10, doc. 19)

(Melville 1851, 627)

Journal article

In the reference list, include the page range for the whole article. In the text, cite specific page numbers. For articles consulted online, include a URL or the name of the database in the reference list entry. Many journal articles list a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). A DOI forms a permanent URL that begins This URL is preferable to the URL that appears in your browser’s address bar.

Reference list entries (in alphabetical order)

Keng, Shao-Hsun, Chun-Hung Lin, and Peter F. Orazem. 2017. “Expanding College Access in Taiwan, 1978–2014: Effects on Graduate Quality and Income Inequality.” Journal of Human Capital 11 (1): 1–34.

LaSalle, Peter. 2017. “Conundrum: A Story about Reading.” New England Review 38 (1): 95–109. Project MUSE.

Satterfield, Susan. 2016. “Livy and the Pax Deum.” Classical Philology 111 (2): 165–76.

In-text citations

(Keng, Lin, and Orazem 2017, 9–10)

(LaSalle 2017, 95)

(Satterfield 2016, 170)

Journal articles often list many authors, especially in the sciences. If there are four or more authors, list up to ten in the reference list; in the text, list only the first, followed by et al. (“and others”). For more than ten authors (not shown here), list the first seven in the reference list, followed by et al.

Reference list entry

Bay, Rachael A., Noah Rose, Rowan Barrett, Louis Bernatchez, Cameron K. Ghalambor, Jesse R. Lasky, Rachel B. Brem, Stephen R. Palumbi, and Peter Ralph. 2017. “Predicting Responses to Contemporary Environmental Change Using Evolutionary Response Architectures.” American Naturalist 189, no. 5 (May): 463–73.

In-text citation

(Bay et al. 2017, 465)

For more examples, see 15.46–49 in The Chicago Manual of Style.

News or magazine article

Articles from newspapers or news sites, magazines, blogs, and the like are cited similarly. In the reference list, it can be helpful to repeat the year with sources that are cited also by month and day. Page numbers, if any, can be cited in the text but are omitted from a reference list entry. If you consulted the article online, include a URL or the name of the database.

Reference list entries (in alphabetical order)

Manjoo, Farhad. 2017. “Snap Makes a Bet on the Cultural Supremacy of the Camera.” New York Times, March 8, 2017.

Mead, Rebecca. 2017. “The Prophet of Dystopia.” New Yorker, April 17, 2017.

Pai, Tanya. 2017. “The Squishy, Sugary History of Peeps.” Vox, April 11, 2017.

Pegoraro, Rob. 2007. “Apple’s iPhone Is Sleek, Smart and Simple.” Washington Post, July 5, 2007. LexisNexis Academic.

In-text citation

(Manjoo 2017)

(Mead 2017, 43)

(Pai 2017)

(Pegoraro 2007)

Readers’ comments are cited in the text but omitted from a reference list.

In-text citation

(Eduardo B [Los Angeles], March 9, 2017, comment on Manjoo 2017)

For more examples, see 15.49 (newspapers and magazines) and 15.51 (blogs) in The Chicago Manual of Style.

Book review

Reference list entry

Kakutani, Michiko. 2016. “Friendship Takes a Path That Diverges.” Review of Swing Time, by Zadie Smith. New York Times, November 7, 2016.

In-text citation

(Kakutani 2016)


Reference list entry

Stamper, Kory. 2017. “From ‘F-Bomb’ to ‘Photobomb,’ How the Dictionary Keeps Up with English.” Interview by Terry Gross. Fresh Air, NPR, April 19, 2017. Audio, 35:25.

In-text citation

(Stamper 2017)

Thesis or dissertation

Reference list entry

Rutz, Cynthia Lillian. 2013. “King Lear and Its Folktale Analogues.” PhD diss., University of Chicago.

In-text citation

(Rutz 2013, 99–100)

Website content

It is often sufficient simply to describe web pages and other website content in the text (“As of May 1, 2017, Yale’s home page listed . . .”). If a more formal citation is needed, it may be styled like the examples below. For a source that does not list a date of publication or revision, use n.d. (for “no date”) in place of the year and include an access date.

Reference list entries (in alphabetical order)

Bouman, Katie. 2016. “How to Take a Picture of a Black Hole.” Filmed November 2016 at TEDxBeaconStreet, Brookline, MA. Video, 12:51.

Google. 2017. “Privacy Policy.” Privacy & Terms. Last modified April 17, 2017.

Yale University. n.d. “About Yale: Yale Facts.” Accessed May 1, 2017.

In-text citations

(Bouman 2016)

(Google 2017)

(Yale University, n.d.)

For more examples, see 15.50–52 in The Chicago Manual of Style. For multimedia, including live performances, see 15.57.

Social media content

Citations of content shared through social media can usually be limited to the text (as in the first example below). If a more formal citation is needed, a reference list entry may be appropriate. In place of a title, quote up to the first 160 characters of the post. Comments are cited in reference to the original post.


Conan O’Brien’s tweet was characteristically deadpan: “In honor of Earth Day, I’m recycling my tweets” (@ConanOBrien, April 22, 2015).

Reference list entries (in alphabetical order)

Chicago Manual of Style. 2015. “Is the world ready for singular they? We thought so back in 1993.” Facebook, April 17, 2015.

Souza, Pete (@petesouza). 2016. “President Obama bids farewell to President Xi of China at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit.” Instagram photo, April 1, 2016.

In-text citations

(Chicago Manual of Style 2015)

(Souza 2016)

(Michele Truty, April 17, 2015, 1:09 p.m., comment on Chicago Manual of Style 2015)

Personal communication

Personal communications, including email and text messages and direct messages sent through social media, are usually cited in the text only; they are rarely included in a reference list.

In-text citation

(Sam Gomez, Facebook message to author, August 1, 2017)