Theorizing Diasporic Visualities

Research Guide

Instructors: Tina Campt & May Joseph

Personal Librarian: Megan Wacha

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Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research in the CCIS Critical Inquiry Lab: Theorizing Diasporic Visualities. This course conjoins Professor Campt's African Studies colloquium, BC3110 Theorizing Diasporas, with Professor Joseph's BC3177 Feminism and Film, offered by the Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. In this spirit, I encourage you to consult the research guides in Africana Studies, Anthropology, and Women's Studies as well.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please use the link above to schedule a research consultation with me.

Reference Sources

Film Index International provides in-depth indexing of over 115,000 films - from the first silent movies to the latest blockbusters - and biographical information for almost 57,000 personalities. Its rich content also includes coverage of international film awards and prizes as well as searchable plot summaries and full cast and crew lists.

Film Language Glossary provides multimedia definitions of essential terms used in basic and advanced film courses that are representative of all the major categories of film studies.

Gale Biography in Context provides full-text biographies of persons living and deceased from all over the world.

Finding Books

CLIO - Online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and the Law Library.

CLIO Search Tips:

  • Use catalog records to identify coverage dates for publications, both in print and online
  • Use boolean operators (and/or/not) and wildcards (i.e. wom?n, femins?) to retrive more results
  • Use a combination of subject and keyword searches to locate items, and then go to the stacks and browse those items as well as the ones nearby
  • Use catalog records to identify useful subject headings such as:

African diaspora                  Feminism                                   Africa -- in motion pictures
Africans -- [place]               Womanism                                 Film criticism
Black diaspora                     Women -- History                      Motion picture industry
Blacks -- [place]                  Women -- Social conditions      Motion picture plays
Diaspora, African                                                                  Motion pictures
                                                                                               Motion pictures -- periodicals
                                                                                               Motion pictures for women

Recommended Databases for Journal Articles and Reviews

Research Technique: Locate a review and then click/flip through the pages of the publication to identify relevant historical and cultural events.

Academic Search Complete is a comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary, full-text database, with more than 6,100 full-text periodicals, including more than 5,100 peer-reviewed journals.

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, historical newspaper articles, and much more.

Film Literature Index includes journal and magazine titles for film and television reviews, scholarly and critical analysis of cinema and television, and articles of popular interest about film and television. Use the Advanced Search to search for articles about a specific director (field: People) or film (field: Reviews and Products).

FIAF International International Index to Film Periodicals Plus is a bibliographical index offering in-depth coverage of the world's foremost academic and popular film journals from 1972 to the present day.

JSTOR provides full-text articles from more than 1200 scholarly journals, including those in African-American studies, anthropology, feminist studies, and film studies.

Proquest Historical Newspapers offers full-text and full-image articles from major American newspapers.

Or search multiple databases simultaneously:

Find Articles


Resources for Evaluating Publications

Audit Bureau of Circulations provides audited circulation reports for newspapers, consumer magazines,  and business publications from the US, Canada, and other countries. This is particularly useful for locating circulation statistics for large publications, such as The New York Times.

Ulrich's Periodicals Directory provides bibliographic and access information for over 240,000 serials. Entries provide pricing, subscription and distribution details

Arts and Humanities Citation Index is a multidisciplinary database covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities. Indexes world's leading arts and humanities journals with selected, relevant items from major science and social science journals.

Scopus provides indexing, abstracting of and citation linking to journals. While it's strength is in the sciences, it includes many titles in the social sciences as well.

Social Sciences Citation Index is a multidisciplinary database with searchable author abstracts, covering the journal literature of the social sciences.

Columbia's Guide to Evaluating Web Resources