Submission Guidelines

Authors should submit work for publication in Present Tense with the understanding that this work is original, that citation follows current MLA standards (8th ed.), that the article meets all institutional review board requirements, and that the work has not been or will be published in other venues.

Authors interested in reviewing books or other media are responsible for ensuring that a review of that work has not been recently published elsewhere. While the editors may consider publishing another review of a work, the review author will have to explain why additional reviews are needed, e.g., strong disagreement with or a different approach from other reviews.

Publishers interested in having a book or other media reviewed should contact the review editor.

Acceptance Rate

Present Tense is a selective journal with a stringent review process and high standards for publication. Our current acceptance rate for submissions is 17%.

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Submission Categories

General Submissions (articles, interviews, slidecasts, podcasts, videos)
Articles and interviews should range between 2,000 and 2,500 words. Slidecasts, podcasts and videos should not be longer than 20 minutes. Endnotes and Works Cited do not count toward the 2,500-word limit, though Endnotes should not exceed 250 words (10% of the total). Slidecasts, podcasts and videos should not be longer than 20 minutes.
At this time, we are temporarily not accepting new reviews due to a surfeit of accepted reviews for our next several issues. We will update our website when we are accepting reviews again. Please see our review submission criteria below:
We seek reviews that are thematically related to the goals of the journal, as described in the About page. Here is a suggested but not exhaustive list of possibilities for review: programs and/or courses, organizations, websites/blogs, books, films and events. If there is a specific book from our list or any other text you would like to review, please first email us about your interest so we can confirm that we have not already received a review of it. This process helps ensure that we do not receive multiple review submissions for the same texts. If you are considering writing a review but are not sure if it is appropriate, please send us a 200-word proposal, and we will let you know if it corresponds with the journal’s vision.
Submissions to the Reviews section of the journal should not exceed 2,000 words. For programmatic reviews and reviews of multiple works, the word count is at the discretion of the editors.

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Sample Submission Topics

Present Tense is interested in submissions dealing with theory, criticism, production, pedagogy and empirical research.

  • Social justice issues involving language, power, and the body: How do institutional rhetorics shape economic policy, the treatment of bodies, and the architecture of resistance movements? How do displaced peoples and refugees use rhetorical resources? How do institutions exercise power? How do sovereign powers operate in the midst of institutional and control societies?
  • Minority issues and minority rhetorics: How has Obama’s presidency affected our notions of racism? How has the immigration debate changed in the last decade? How are people of color and queer people portrayed by the media? How do we negotiate the needs of women of color with those of feminism?
  • Green Rhetoric: How is rhetoric being used within and against environmental movements? How is the green movement being portrayed by the media, pop culture, corporations and the government? How does the language used to frame environmental issues on either side have an effect on personal choices?
  • Rhetoric in national and international politics: How are attitudes about domestic and foreign policies formed by various media outlets? How do technologies shape our dialogue about foreign and domestic issues? How do public speeches by prominent political figures seek to shape the ethos of the individual, organization, and/or country they represent?
  • Popular culture and media analysis: How do rhetorical concepts help us better understand today’s media and pop culture? How do networking sites affect the way in which humans relate to one another? How are sites like YouTube, Wikipedia and Creative Commons changing creative agency as well as the way we share knowledge in our culture?
  • Rhetorics of Everyday Life and Technology: How might different understandings of everyday things change our lives? How do the things which make up our everyday world help shape our work, leisure time, social lives, emotions and/or mobilities? What technologies mediate these interactions and how do their rhetorical features affect our respective communities?
  • Non-Western Rhetorics: How do rhetorical practices in non-Western contexts intersect with issues of education, justice, and power in those communities and cultures? How are discursive practices used to negotiate difference and conflict throughout the world? How do non-Western discursive practices challenge or broaden traditional Western rhetorical concepts and categories?
  • Public Rhetorics and Rhetoric in Action: How is the field of rhetoric uniquely positioned to help us understand and engage the public? How can issues of community-based research and service learning be informed by rhetorical theory? How can historical, hermeneutic, and empirical research be used to study and encourage public participation?
  • Rhetoric, Teaching, and Literacy: How are new composing practices shaping our approaches to writing instruction? What emergent language paradigms affect how we compose, argue, and design? How are new discourse technologies and composing contexts mediating what it means to be a rhetor in the 21st century?
  • Institutional Rhetorics: How do the institutional homes for our rhetorical practices constrain and enable disciplines, discourses, pedagogy, and labor practices? What are the impacts of economic conditions and funding sources upon university policies, employees, students, public engagement, and research? How are conceptions of the liberal arts,the humanities, and citizenship education changing?

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How to Format

All submissions to Present Tense should comply with the latest MLA documentation and formatting guidelines (8th ed.). Please include the url for all online references in your submissions. Videos should be formatted as Quicktime files and podcasts as MP3s.

The use of headings to divide up lengthy texts is encouraged to facilitate online reading.

Send your videos and podcasts as an anonymized link or a data file.

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How to Submit

Articles, Interviews and Reviews:

Please send two versions of your submission to The first version should be your work as you intend to publish it. For your second version, please be sure to remove all identifying information, including author name(s) and institutional affiliation(s). All typographic texts should be submitted as .doc or .docx files.


For review purposes, please remove all identifying information and post your slidecast on, then email the link to


Please remove any identifying introductions or conclusions and email for submission details.


Please remove opening and closing credits in which the filmmakers’ names are revealed. Then, email the link for the video to We understand that you cannot remove other identifying information within the film without hurting its integrity.

If you are writing about a video for which you do not own the copyright, such as a news program or a TV show, please try to find that video posted on network or government sites or other open access sites, and provide the link with your submission. If you can’t find a legal version of the video online, please use screen shots instead or instruct readers to search for the video themselves.

Upon acceptance into the journal, please send the following:

  1. A 50-100 word bio.
  2. A picture of the author(s) in jpeg or gif format.
  3. A list of five keywords. These keywords should be checked against CompPile’s Glossary of Search Terms for the sake of database consistency.
  4. An image that can serve as an illustration for your submission. If no image is provided, Present Tense will find one that fits the content of the article. Authors must have the rights to submitted images or images must belicensed through an appropriate creative commons license (see:

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Hyperlinking Policy

Our hyperlinking policy has been adapted from Kairos.

All links should help readers make sense of the submission. All links should also reference the name of the link/site in the text so that readers may make informed navigational decisions. Linking from descriptive phrases rather than individual words is recommended.

Links to external nodes should point, to the best of the author’s knowledge, to stable sites and resources. Since back issues of Present Tense will be available in our archives, we must strive to make all links as current and accurate as possible.

Since we have no control over external sites to which authors may link, broken links and “404” errors are likely to occur eventually.

Care should be given in linking to commercial sites in order to avoid promoting any particular companies or their products.

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Review Process

Present Tense will send authors an email confirmation within one week of receiving submissions. Our editors will then pass non-identifiable copies to two reviewers for double-blind peer review. Whenever possible, these referees will be assigned to review texts based on their areas of scholarly expertise. Reviewers strive to provide feedback to the Editor within 3-4 months in order to facilitate timely publication. Should the first two reviews disagree, the Editor may send the manuscript to a third referee for additional evaluation. Upon receiving feedback from all reviewers, the Editor will make a final decision and authors will be notified via email of their acceptance or rejection. The Editor may also email authors to suggest additional revision and encourage future resubmission.

Once a submission has been accepted, it will be posted to the online journal within 3-4 weeks. This practice allows us to further expedite the publication process because authors need not wait for their works to appear in a scheduled upcoming issue.

Once an issue’s worth of submissions have been accepted and published, Present Tense will announce the new issue. Before an issue is announced, the editors may rearrange articles from their original publication order. These texts will then be available as part of a featured current issue on the home page, at which time older texts will be archived and searchable as past issues.

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Copyright Information – Creative Commons

Our copyright policy has been adapted from Composition Forum.

Present Tense is an open access journal. We promote the free distribution and use of articles we publish. We use the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License for our journal. Our use of this license means that authors retain their copyright while granting Present Tense and our readers’ the rights to this work for non-commercial purposes, providing the author is credited. The Creative Commons license allows for the production of derivative works, as long as the author is credited, and as long as producers share their derivative work. For more information, please visit the Creative Commons at

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