Journal of Backcountry Studies

Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

As of 2017, The Journal of Backcounty Studies is no longer being published.

The Journal of Backcountry Studies is a peer-reviewed, open-access resource on the eighteenth and early nineteenth century history of the Southern Backcountry. During the colonial era, that region extended in a great arc from southeastern Pennsylvania to the interior and southeastern corner of Georgia. Following the Revolution it expanded along westward migration routes toward the Northwest Territory, eastern Kentucky, east Tennessee, and northern Alabama.

Between the 1730s and the eve of the Revolution, more than a million people settled in the Backcountry or were born into settler families. Ninety percent of this population was European in origin, much of it from the Rhineland, Ireland, Scotland, and the Scottish-English borderlands but significant numbers of English stock colonists from the Chesapeake region. The expulsion and death rate among native peoples in the British-colonial southeast created space in the Backcountry for Catawba Indians who sought a commercial, trading relationship with British colonists. And enslaved and free Africans also lived in the colonial "back settlements."

The most important recent historical discovery in Backcountry Studies is that the Backcountry was not all that far back, not back in the sense of being remote from the larger Atlantic world. The Backcountry was securely linked to the Atlantic by its entry points in the north at Philadelphia and in the south at Charleston and Savannah. Philadelphia was the gateway to America for most Backcountry settlers and also the source of capital and goods. Charleston in South Carolina was the headquarters for the British Superintendent for Indian Affairs in the Southern Colonies, and Savannah in Georgia and entry point for Swiss and Salzberger emigrants. The College of New Jersey in Princeton was the American outpost for Scottish and Ulster Presbyterianism in the middle and southern colonies, and Old World Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, Moravians and other German pietists carved out their own Backcountry provinces.

The study of the Backcountry is an inter-disciplinary enterprise. Beginning in 1985 and most recently in 2004, a series of ten major scholarly conferences on the Backcountry has brought together Historians, Geographers, Ethnographers, Public Historians, Librarians, practitioners in Material Culture, and Historic Preservationists. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro-Old Salem Conference on “The North Carolina Backcountry and Public History, in 2004, considered and endorsed the proposal to create an e-Journal on the Backcountry. Its title indicates our kinship with the older Journal of Appalachian Studies, the overlapping region to our north and west.

The Journal of Backcountry Studies intends to honor and preserve this tradition. Our constituency includes academics and non-academic students of local history; schools, colleges, universities, libraries, archives, and churches; fittingly, our partner in technical support comes from the Digitation Project of the Walter Clinton Jackson Library at the University of North Carolina.

The Journal of Backcountry Studies was founded with support from the North Carolina Humanities Council.


Section Policies

Editor's Note

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed


Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed


Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.