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African Studies  

Last Updated: Sep 8, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Kiberu Serugunju Simeon, Busomba, Uganda, c. 1950

Kiberu Serugunju Simeon, Busomba, Uganda, c. 1970

Africana Reference

  • African Historical Dictionaries (print)
    Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.
    Very useful resources for locating specific information about people, places and events. Most are located in the Reference Room in the DTs, but some will be found in the circulating collection.
  • African Index Medicus
    In order to give access to information published in or related to Africa and to encourage local publishing, the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA) with the technical support of the World Health Organization has produced an international index to African health literature and information sources.
  • Africana Conference Paper Index
    The Africana Conference Paper Index is an index to the individual papers -- in western European languages -- of the conference proceedings held by Northwestern's Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies. The database includes conference papers from the earliest period of the Northwestern Africana collections to the present, including 245,000 volumes, 2,500 current serials, 275 current African newspapers, 10,500 books in African languages, as well as other research materials.
  • Cambridge History of Africa  Icon
    This unique historical reference compendium allows instant access to the renowned texts of the Cambridge Histories series. With access to the most up to date and authoritative scholarly content, Cambridge Histories Online is an invaluable resource, for undergraduates, graduates, lecturers and researchers alike.All the available volumes are grouped into topics, making it quick and easy to search and browse through an array of historical subject areas. The extensive bibliographic referencing and other leading functionality, enhances usability and makes this resource ideal for any type of historical research.
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought  
    The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought offers a comprehensive view of African thought, covering the intellectual tradition on the continent and throughout the diaspora. All major trends in African philosophy, political theory, and religion will be covered, as well as significant historical figures and social movements.
  • UNESCO General History of Africa
    The UNESCO General History of Africa was the first of its type to present the entire history of the African continent. The collection sheds light on the pre-colonial era and interweaves Africa’s destiny with the rest of humanity’s, examining its interaction with other continents and the role of Africans in the dialogue between civilizations. The entire collection is published in eight volumes and is freely available online.

African Studies Program (ASP)

The African Studies Program (ASP), a constituent program of the University of Iowa International Programs, was established in 1979 to promote the interdisciplinary study of Africa at The University of Iowa. It helps students gain a broader understanding of traditional and contemporary life in Africa and provides an environment of cooperation and collaboration among students and faculty that leads to increased opportunities for research and teaching.

Getting Started

  • Africa South of the Sahara
    Perhaps the most intensively annotated and frequently updated portal to Internet resources on Africa, with browsable Topic and Country lists.
  • African Studies (Oxford Bibliographies)  Icon
    Over more than half a century, African Studies has emerged as a diverse multidisciplinary effort that spans multiple epistemologies and methodologies, making it challenging for students and scholars to be informed about every applicable area. And given the diversity of African environments and peoples it is difficult to appreciate both its broad similarities and complex specificities. This bibliographic resource combines broad introductions to such subjects as African society, politics, or literature with specific studies of individual peoples, states, or literary traditions to enable the user to appreciate Africans’ distinctiveness as well as their diversity.
  • African Studies Abstracts Online (ASC Leiden)
    ASA Online succeeds the printed abstracts journal of the African Studies Centre Leiden, published since 1968, first as Documentatieblad, then as African Studies Abstracts (1994-2002). It provides a quarterly overview of journal articles and edited works on Africa in the field of the social sciences and the humanities available in the ASC library.
  • Black Studies Center  Icon
    Black Studies Center combines three invaluable resources for research and teaching in Black Studies: Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, International Index of Black Periodicals (IIBP), and The Chicago Defender. This fully cross-searchable gateway to Black Studies includes scholarly essays, recent periodicals, and historical newspaper articles.
  • Literature of travel and exploration : an encyclopedia - Jennifer Speake, ed. 3 vols. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2003.
    Call Number: Main Reference Collection. Folio G465 .L565 2003
    “More than 600 alphabetically arranged entries—ranging in length from 1,000 to 5,000 words—each include an essay analyzing current thinking about a particular subject, as well as a thorough bibliography of source material that gives students and researchers a starting point for further study”.

Primary Sources for African History

  • African Newspapers  Icon
    More than 70 nineteenth- and early twentieth-century African newspapers. Featuring titles from Angola, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanganyika, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
  • British Online Archives: Colonial and Missionary Records  Icon
    Includes the following collections: African Blue Books, 1821-1953; Early colonial and missionary records from West Africa; Papers of the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, 1694-1709; Universities' Mission to Central Africa; Papers relating to the Jamaican estates of the Goulburn family of Betchworth House; Records of the Committee on Women's Work, 1861 - 1967; South American Missionary Society records, 1844-1919; Archives of the Associates of Dr Bray to 1900; Indian papers of Colonel Clive and Brigadier-General Carnac, 1752-1774; Indian papers of the 4th Earl of Minto; Papers of Sir Mark Sykes, 1879-1919: the Sykes-Picot Agreement & the Middle East; and United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG) records for the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia, South Asia, and West Indies.
  • Confidential Print: Africa  Icon
    Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966 covers the whole of the modern period of European colonization of Africa: from coastal trading in the early nineteenth century, through the Conference of Berlin of 1884 and the subsequent Scramble for Africa, to the abuses of the Congo Free State, fights against tropical disease, Italy’s defeat by the Abyssinians, World War II, apartheid in South Africa and colonial moves towards independence. The Confidential Print series, issued by the British Government between c. 1820 and 1970, originated out of a need to preserve the most important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices. Documents range from single-page letters or telegrams to comprehensive dispatches, investigative reports and texts of treaties.
  • Cooperative Africana Materials Project (CAMP)
    The Cooperative Africana Materials Project (CAMP), founded in 1963, is a joint effort by research libraries throughout the world and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) to promote the preservation of publications and archives concerning the nearly fifty nations of Sub-Saharan Africa. UI researchers may borrow CAMP materials; contact the bibliographer for details.
  • Empire Online  Icon
    This resource brings together manuscript, printed and visual primary source materials for the study of 'Empire' and it's theories, practices and consequences. The materials span across the last five centuries and are accompanied by a host of secondary learning resources including scholarly essays, maps and an interactive chronology.
  • Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest (Nineteenth Century Collections Online)  Icon
    Through a variety of official government documents, political papers of prominent individuals, and newspaper accounts, researchers can trace the development of British strategic imperatives, French and Belgian desire for the expansion of trade and raw materials, and Germany and Italy’s late entrance onto the imperial stage. Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest covers exploration, military and missionary activities, and economic and political imperialism in the ninetenth century. Documents are sourced from The National Archives, Kew; the U.S. National Archives; the Library of Congress; the National Library of Scotland; and Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.
  • Global Commodities: Trade, Exploration, and Cultural Exchange  Icon
    This resource brings together manuscript, printed and visual primary source materials for the study of global commodities in world history.
  • Government Publications Relating to African Countries Prior to Independence (microform)
    British colonial documents (in microform) pertaining to Kenya (1897-1963), Tanganyika (1919-1961), Uganda (1900-1962), Zanzibar (1860-1963), the Gambia (1822-1965), Sierra Leone (1808-1961), the Gold Coast (1846-1957), and Nigeria (1862-1960). See bibliographer for assistance.
  • Regional and District Books, Tanganyika (microform)
    Beginning in 1922, British colonial officers at the provincial and district levels were directed to compile background information on the historical, social, political and economic circumstances of their jurisdictions. The resulting "handing over reports" or handbooks comprised the institutional knowledge of local colonial administration. See bibliographer for assistance.
  • Slavery & Anti-Slavery, A Transnational Archive  Icon
    In addition to the standard primary sources one would expect—newspaper collections and books published in the antebellum era, for example—SAS includes a broad selection of documents from several different archives.
    Includes Parts I-IV.
  • Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice, 1490-2007  Icon
    This digital collection documents key aspects of the history of slavery worldwide over six centuries. Topics covered include the African Coast, the Middle Passage, the varieties of slave experience, religion, revolts, abolition, and legislation. The collection also includes case studies from America, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Cuba.
  • Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
    The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on more than 35,000 slave voyages that forcibly embarked over 12 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. It offers researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history.
  • Women and Social Movements, International— 1840 to Present  Icon
    Online archive of published and manuscript primary sources focusing on women’s international activism since the mid-nineteenth century. The archive includes proceedings of women’s international conferences, books, pamphlets, articles from newspapers and journals, as well as correspondence, diary entries, and memoirs. Also contains numerous online publications of contemporary Non-Governmental Organizations.

Bibliographer for African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Studies

Profile Image
Edward A. Miner, PhD

African Literature, Film & Art

  • African Writers Series  Icon
    The publication of this historic collection in online form restores access to a substantial body of literature, much of which is out of print and only accessible in specialist research libraries, opening up new possibilities for scholarship and teaching in the fields of African and literary studies.
  • Art & Life in Africa Project
    Art and Life in Africa Online contains information about African Art and Culture. Some of the material on this site has been adapted from similar material developed for the Art and Life in Africa CD-ROM being produced at The University of Iowa. Additionally, some material is specific to this site (and not found on the CD), as noted below. Links to further resources on the web have been added where appropriate.
  • ArtMattan African Diaspora Film Collection
    (streaming video)
    ArtMattan Films distribute films that focus on the human experience of black people in Africa, the Caribbean, North and South America and Europe.
  • Black Drama - 1850 to present  Icon
    Black Drama, Second Edition contains approximately 1,462 plays by 233 playwrights, together with detailed, fielded information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more. The database also includes selected playbills, production photographs and other ephemera related to the plays. Some 600 of the plays are published here for the first time, including a number by major authors.
  • California Newsreel -- Library of African Cinema
    California Newsreel is the most important distributor of African film and documentary. The Main Library owns all of their titles, which can be located in the InfoHawk Catalog and checked out from Media Services.
  • Villon Films South African Collection  Icon
    (streaming video)
    Villon Films has been independently producing and distributing award-winning films since 1970. With a strong focus on socio-political documentary, this South Africa video collection spans such issues as government, history, ecology, culture, health and science, women’s issues, biography, and the apartheid period of South African history, among others.

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