Ethnic and Racial Studies (ERS) began publishing in 1978. Over the following forty years it developed in terms of its editorial arrangements, its format, the types of contribution published, the characteristics of its author contributors, the characteristics and methodologies of its articles, the topics that they described, and the countries whose circumstances they covered. The article describes these developments, mostly analysed by quinquennia; one issue of particular salience has been the increased feminization of the Editorial Board and of the corpus of authors. The article also discusses how book reviewing has been an important part of the journal’s history, leading to the establishment in 2014 of ERS Review.