Resources for Contributors

The Immigrant Entrepreneurship project seeks to produce a high-quality, peer-reviewed reference work. The essays should present original scholarship, in-depth research, and a fresh, critical look at German-American immigrants and their entrepreneurial ventures. To help assist potential contributors, here are some general guidelines and other resources for researching, writing, and submitting an article for the project.


I. Planning your article

Language and length: The essay should be written in English. It should be 15 to 20 pages in length (1.5 spaced, 11-point Arial, 8,000 words max).

Sources: Use only reliable sources and ensure the accuracy of all references to people, places, and dates. Please keep in mind that sources, whether official or autobiographical, often reflect (self-) representations, and should thus be viewed critically. Consult the list of databases for a selection of useful databases, literature, and further resources for locating archival and visual materials.

Academic standards: Write for a broad audience with little or no prior knowledge of the candidate and his or her business. The essay must adhere to academic standards but remain easily readable.


II. Writing your article

Avoid clichés: Please do not revert to clichés: rags to riches, pillar of society, genius, etc. The aim is not a triumphal narrative detailing the rise of an extraordinary individual, but rather a thorough and critical analysis of the way in which ethnicity, the immigrant experience, and entrepreneurship were interconnected, and thus may have led to specific business strategies, entrepreneurial activities, and enterprise development.

Visualization: Please submit 10-15 supporting digital images (photographs, advertisements, etc.) and 10-15 scanned documents (business records, letters, contracts, journal entries, etc.) with descriptive captions and source information. Integrate and refer to the images in your narrative whenever possible.

Contextualization: Contextualize individual life stories in a broader historical, economic, social, and political setting. Please consult the standard literature on the respective regions, industries, markets, and technologies.

Structure of the article: Your article should roughly adhere to the following structure:

  1. Introduction
  2. Family Background
  3. Business Development
  4. Social Status
  5. Conclusion

The role of ethnicity and the immigrant experience should be the leading research question in each section as well as the guiding principle throughout the essay. Please bear in mind that not all of the following points will be applicable to all candidates. You should divide your article into subsections that best fit your subject matter.


1.    Introduction (1 paragraph max.)
This section should give a brief idea of who the person is/was and of his/her entrepreneurial activities.


2.    Family and Ethnic Background
This section should describe (if available) the candidate’s and his/her family’s background: geographical origins, occupation, religion, education, social milieu, circumstances of the candidate’s or his/her parents’ migration. Include as much biographical data as possible on relevant individuals, especially family members.


3.    Business Development
This section should form the core of the article, examining the development and history of the immigrant business, the role that the candidate played in it, and the impact of his/her ethnicity on the business as a whole. Please include information on how and when the candidate either founded or joined the firm in question, as well as information on the sector and the market (competitors, size of market), marketing strategies, and overall success or failure. For all values, include a marker of wealth (giving the historical amount as well as the 2010 USD value according to Measuring Worth using the Consumer Price Index, or CPI) and a comparative indicator, if possible. Key considerations:

  • Entrepreneurial sources and obstacles: economic/political events and social processes fostering or hindering immigrant entrepreneurship, sector-specific biases, personal resources (self-made entrepreneurship, innovation, minority status)
  • Comparative advantage: transnational transfer of skills/knowledge, access to particular markets
  • Specific business strategies: focusing on a particular customer base, concentration on particular  areas of entrepreneurship, (ethnic) branding/advertising

4.    Social Status, Networks, Family and Public Life
Elaborate on the entrepreneur's family, its standing in society, its (self-)representation and outside perception as well as questions of ethnicity and assimilation as key factors for entrepreneurial success or failure. Consider family life and any social activities. Key considerations:

  • Family life and society: role of spouse and children (in the business), status of siblings, philanthropic and non-economic activities, religious affiliation, cultural heritage vs. adaptation in private life, leisure pursuits
  • Political and social engagement: activity in clubs and/or cultural institutions, membership in political parties, councils, parliaments and lobby organizations (in U.S./Germany)
  • Ethnic/transnational networks: immigrant solidarity networks (sources of capital, market opportunities, labor)

5. Conclusion
Please give the reader a brief summary of your findings. Re-evaluate your subject in the light of immigrant entrepreneurship, ethnicity, and the migration experience.


6. Sources Further reading
Further reading (only most relevant sources, 6 max.), websites, major collections, archives, museums.


III. Submitting your article

Deadline: Please adhere to the given deadline.

Formatting: Format your article according to the style sheet. Use endnotes, not footnotes.

Images: Visual material must be supplied in a high-resolution TIFF, JPG, or PNG format (at least 1500px in the smallest dimension). Please secure all copyrights and provide your volume coordinator with written confirmations. All related fees should be discussed with him/her.

Documents: Please provide legible scans of the accompanying documents to your article. Multi-page documents should be in PDF format. Single page documents can be sent as image files (PNG, JPEG, TIFF). Please ensure that the scans are large enough that the text can be read easily on a screen.

Audio/Video: Please consult with your volume coordinator about specifications for other AV sources.


IV. After submitting your article

Editorial Review: Each article will be reviewed by one or more members of the editorial board. You may be asked to make revisions in order to comply with our guidelines.

Payment of the honorarium: Once the editors have approved your revised article, you will be paid the honorarium.

Copyediting: A copyeditor will work with the final version of the article to ensure consistency of style and grammar.


Download the complete guidelines (PDF).