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African Studies: Humanities research & primary sources

A guide to UF Libraries' research and teaching resources in African Studies. Feel free to let us know what would be useful to have included.

Reference resources for African Humanities

Arts & Humanities Citation Index (via Web of Knowledge aka Web of Science, journal index)

Empire Online (primary sources online)

General History (guide page: includes tab with links to Online Primary documents such as Empire Online)

Historical Abstracts (journal index)

Literature Resource Center (journal index and related scholarly resources)

MLA International Bibliography (journal index)

Reference Universe (index to reference resources)

Virtual Reference Library (index to reference resources)

Primary research resources

A primary source is a document, photo, sketch, video, sound recording, etc. that was made at the time something happened by someone who was there. The following sources of examples should help you to more fully consider what other potential sources of primary information might be available for your project. Colonial government officials' and religious missionaries' reports may also be useful primary sources. Additional archival materials are listed in the guide: Rare Books, Archives, & Manuscripts under the subheading "Archives." Additional historical government sources on colonial rule in Africa are available on Chelsea Dinsmore's guide, Government Documents for African Studies.

  • Africa through a lens (UK National Archives). "Africa through a lens is a set of thousands of images taken from a broader photographic collection of Foreign and Commonwealth Office images, held at The National Archives. Starting with some incredible early photographs from the 1860s, the images span over 100 years of African history. These images are now available, for the first time, to view online."
  • ArchiveGrid is "a collection of over four million archival material descriptions, including MARC records from WorldCat and finding aids harvested from the web. It is supported by OCLC Research as the basis for our experimentation and testing in text mining, data analysis, and discovery system applications and interfaces, and it provides a foundation for our collaboration and interactions with the archival community."
  • British Parliamentary Debates. "The debates, now known as the Hansard Debates, is the official, edited verbatim report of proceedings in both Houses of Parliament. Hansard’s British Parliamentary Debates is roughly equivalent to the United States of America's Congressional Record. For the period of 1803-1909, the Debates represent the best record of political events and discourse in the United Kingdom and its global Empire."
  • Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire "This website holds detailed information on over 6000 films showing images of life in the British colonies. Over 150 films are available for viewing online. You can search or browse for films by country, date, topic, or keyword. Over 350 of the most important films in the catalogue are presented with extensive critical notes written by our academic research team. The Colonial Film project united universities (Birkbeck and University College London) and archives (British Film Institute, Imperial War Museum and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum) to create a new catalogue of films relating to the British Empire. The ambition of this website is to allow both colonizers and colonized to understand better the truths of Empire."
  • "The David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project is a collaborative, international effort to use spectral imaging technology and digital publishing to make available a series of faded, illegible texts produced by the famous Victorian explorer when stranded without ink or writing paper in Central Africa."
  • Digital National Security Archive "The Digital National Security Archive contains the most comprehensive set of declassified government documents available. The resource now includes 36 collections consisting of over 80,000 meticulously indexed documents, with more than 500,000 total pages. Each of these collections, compiled by top scholars and experts, exhaustively covers the most critical world events, countries, and U.S. policy decisions from post World War II through the 21st century. Together, these collections offer unparalleled access to the defining international strategies of our time. Glossaries, chronologies, bibliographies, overviews, and photographs are included."
  • Early English Books Online (EEBO)
  • eHRAF (includes full text of many ethnography books). "This ethnographic database is unique because each culture or ethnic group contains a variety of source documents (books, articles, and dissertations) that have been indexed and organized according to HRAF's comprehensive culture and subject classification systems:the Outline of World Cultures and the Outline of Cultural Materials (OCM). These retrieval systems extend search capability well beyond keyword searching thus allowing for precise culture and subject retrieval, even in a foreign language."
  • "Empire Online is an exciting collection of original documents relating to Empire Studies, sourced from libraries and archives around the world."
  • Government publications relating to Uganda, 1900-1962 Call Number: LIBRARY WEST Microfilm (3rd Floor) -- DT433.213.G691 1973. Holdings: reels 1-62. For all UF held titles in this series, search for: "Government publications relating to African countries prior to independence."
  • IMC/CBMS archives Call Number: LIBRARY WEST Microfiche (3rd Floor) -- BV3500.I231 1977. Joint archives for the Conference of British Missionary Societies and the International Missionary Council, Africa and India, 1910-1945. Original manuscripts in the Library of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Holdings: boxes 200-447, 1202-1240. Our holdings relate mostly to British Africa, but contain material on other areas as well. Link is to more information from the Center for Research Libraries and includes a pdf guide.
  • International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda [archived]. "Recognizing that serious violations of humanitarian law were committed in Rwanda, and acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) by resolution 955 of 8 November 1994. The purpose of this measure is to contribute to the process of national reconciliation in Rwanda and to the maintenance of peace in the region. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was established for the prosecution of persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994. It may also deal with the prosecution of Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide and other such violations of international law committed in the territory of neighbouring States during the same period."
  • International Documentation Network on the Great African Lakes Region "The objective of the Network is to disseminate as widely as possible a large amount of 'grey litterature', i.e. unpublished or scarcely distributed written documents." ["The Programme stopped its activities in March 2009, but the CCDP website now hosts the database that still offers the full content of the Programme’s production."]
  • "The International Mission Photography Archive offers historical images from Protestant and Catholic missionary collections in Britain, Norway, Germany, France, Switzerland, and the United States. The photographs, which range in time from the middle of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, offer a visual record of missionary activities and experiences in Africa, China, Madagascar, India, Papua-New Guinea, and the Caribbean. The photographs reveal the physical influence of missions, visible in mission compounds, churches, and school buildings, as well as the cultural impact of mission teaching, religious practices, and Western technology and fashions. Indigenous peoples' responses to missions and the emergence of indigenous churches are represented, as are views of landscapes, cities, and towns before and in the early stages of modern development."
  • North American Women's Letters and Diaries (focus on the Americas with some material related to missions and history of enslaved people).
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission (South Africa). "The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was set up by the Government of National Unity to help deal with what happened under apartheid. The conflict during this period resulted in violence and human rights abuses from all sides. No section of society escaped these abuses."
  • World Newspaper Archive "A fully searchable collection of historical newspapers from around the globe. This uniquely comprehensive online resource was created in partnership with the Center for Research Libraries - one of the world's largest and most important newspaper repositories."

African Studies Librarian

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