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African and African American Studies Research Guide

Selected indexes, e-journals & websites in African & African American studies; in-depth resources



The field of African American studies is blessed with hundreds of specialized encyclopedias. There are a number of important African-focused encyclopedias as well. Here are a few titles of interest. You can always find more by searching Quick Search!

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Africana: Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (REF DT14 A37435 2005)

Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara (REF DT351 E53 1997, 4 vols)
Long a classic, this authoritative encyclopedia set provides thorough though now dated coverage of all Africa except the northern-most nations (such as Algeria, Libya, Egypt). Lavishly illustrated with photos, entries focus on nations, people, cultures, history, broad topics, and more. Authoritative entries are signed and very long, and include bibliographies.

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (REF E185 .544 2006)
Authoritative signed essays profile individuals, regional histories, academic disciplines, and a fascinating range of cultural and historical topics. Roughly two-thirds of all entries in this indispensable six-volume set are biographical. Lavishly illustrated with photos, reproductions, and illustrations. The online version of the encyclopedia is very useful for quick searching, but note that many photographs and illustrations from the print version are not included.

Encyclopedia of African American Education (REF LC2771 E63 2010, 2 vols)
New 2-volume encyclopedia focused on African American education-related issues. Entries are long, signed, and include Further Readings lists.

Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1805: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass (REF E185 E545 2006, 3 vols)
Excellent detailed entries dealing with all aspects of African American history and famous people. Many topics are covered in great depth; all entries are signed and include short bibliographies for further reading.

Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the 21st Century (REF E185 E5453 2009, 5 vols)
Companion series to the set listed above, this newer 5-volume set also features highly detailed authoritative entries on a wide range of African American history topics from a more recent time period. Again, all entries are signed and include bibliographies; lengthier entries often include fuller bibliographies as well.

Encyclopedia of African American Society (REF E185 E547 2005)
Recent two-volume encyclopedia has useful entries on many African American issues, events & people; also includes entries on Biracialism, Black consciousness, Ethnicity, Identity, Racial attitudes, and more.

Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought (REF DT14 I74 2010, 3 vols)
Fascinating lengthy entries on a wealth of topics plus biographical information on numerous individuals. Authoritative signed entries include (often extensive) bibliographies identifying additional sources on the topic. Good coverage of both African and African American content. Edited by F. Abiola Irele & Biodun Jeyifo.

Online Encyclopedias & Other Reference eBooks

Online encyclopedias and reference ebooks are always useful as a starting point, especially when you don't already know a lot about your topic. The Library subscribes to numerous authoritative online encyclopedias and reference ebooks that focus on topics in African American and African studies. Here are a few! Remember you can always find more by searching Quick Search!

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Your Librarian

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Susan A. Vega García
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Assistant Dean, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Associate Professor
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Iowa State University
Ames IA 50011
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