Africana Studies

Ottoman Map of Africa (ca. 1554), via Wikimedia Commons

Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective  research in Africana Studies.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Personal Librarian:
Vani Natarajan
208C Lehman


African Diaspora


If you are looking for secondary sources, check out these databases.

Africa-Wide Information features citations and abstracts to books and journal articles in African Studies including content from the sources South African Studies, African Studies, and African HealthLine.

Historical Abstracts indexes citations and articles in world history, including African history, from 1450 to the present, with many in full text.

JSTOR  includes page images of scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences, including many in African Studies. Coverage spans the mid-20th century to the present.


News and Primary Sources

These tools allow you to access digitized text, image, sound, and film.

African Newspapers from the World Newspaper Archive comprises historic African newspapers, largely sub-Saharan

African Online Digital Library features archival audio, video, images, and text, with strengths in West African and South African history

Aluka includes maps, interview transcripts, photographs, full text periodicals, pamphlets, and other primary sources, with all regions of Africa covered



Familiarize yourself with key historical events and figures, as well as geography.

Africana (Oxford African American Studies Center) is an encyclopedia of both Africa and the African diaspora, includes maps and photographs

Finding Books and Media

CLIO provides access to the vast resources of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and the Law Library. Search the Catalog for book and media materials.

Browse the stacks using the call numbers for African Studies:

African History: DT1-DT3415

African Languages and Literatures: PL8000-PL8844

The NYPL catalog searches the circulating and non-circulating research collections at the New York Public Library.

Worldcat searches libraries worldwide. If a title isn't available via Columbia University Libraries, you may request it via Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan.


If you are looking for secondary sources, check out these databases.

America: History and Life indexes literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. The database indexes journals from 1964 to present and includes citations and links to book and media reviews.

Black Studies Center combines three resources: Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, International Index of Black Periodicals (IIBP), and The Chicago Defender. This fully cross-searchable portal includes scholarly essays, recent periodicals, historical newspaper articles, and much more.


Literary Sources in Full Text

These are available through the Alexander Street Press platform, a strong source for accessing the full text of novels, short stories, plays, poems, essays, and audiovisual recordings not easily accessible in print.

Black Drama

Black Short Fiction and Folklore

Black Thought and Culture

Black Women Writers

Caribbean Literature


News and Primary Sources

These tools allow you to access digitized text, image, sound, and film.

provides searchable full text of 19th century African American and abolitionist papers.

African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 includes full text of a range of African American newspapers. Intricate search functions allow you to specify article types, eras, and regions.

Ethnic Newswatch features full text newspaper, magazine, and journal articles from ethnic, minority, and indigenous press in the US, 1960-present.

Historical Black Newspapers provides full text and full-image articles from 20thcentury African American newspapers: Atlanta daily world, Los Angeles sentinel, New York Amsterdam news, Pittsburgh courier, and The Chicago defender. Proquest advanced search. 



Familiarize yourself with key historical events and figures.

African American Biographical Database contains biographies and narratives of thousands of African Americans, spanning the years 1790-1950.

African American Music Reference combines text reference, biographies, chronologies, sheet music, images, lyrics, liner notes, and discographies . Coverage includes blues, jazz, spirituals, civil rights songs, slave songs, minstrelsy, rhythm and blues, gospel, and other forms of black American musical expression.

Black Women in America features nearly 600 text entries and images on key concepts, groups, movements, and individual Black women. Entries include bibliographies.

Oxford African American Studies Center serves as a comprehensive reference guide to the African American experience. Contents include: Africana, which presents an account of the African and African American experience in five volumes ; the Encyclopedia of African American history ; Black women in America, 2nd ed ; and the African American national biography.


Additional Websites

Black Abolitionist Papers

Civil Rights Digital Library

Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive

Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database



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