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AFAM 410: Interdisciplinary Approaches to African American Studies: Home

This research guide is intended to assist students in their research projects for the course, Interdisciplinary Approaches to African American Studies, taught by Professor Elleza Kelley during Spring term 2023 at Yale University.

Yale Library Search Tools

The main search tools for finding books, articles, databases, archival collections, and more at Yale (and beyond) can all be found on the "Find, Request, and Use" page of the library's website. Here are a few quick refreshers, but be sure to visit the page for a full overview:

Background Sources

Background or "reference" sources are a great place to start your research. Reference works include bibliographies, scholarly encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and other sources that provide overviews of topics and suggestions for further reading.

Oxford African American Studies Center

Comprehensive collection of scholarly reference articles focused on the lives and events that have shaped African American and African history and culture.

 "Hurricane Katrina"

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History

A scholarly encyclopedia with informative articles, each one providing a discussion of the literature including primary sources. Just a couple of examples of several potentially helpful articles include:

 "Climate Change and the American City"

 "Juvenile Justice in the United States"

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature

Part of the Oxford Research Encyclopedias, this resource is often useful for research into many areas of American literature:

 "Harlem Renaissance"

 "Queer of Color Critique"

 "Postcolonial Fiction, Oceans, and Seas"

 "Early African American Print Culture"


Oxford Bibliographies

This is an extensive collection of annotated bibliographies that are keyword searchable and can also be browsed by subject area -- there are several articles (sometimes on the same topic across multiple disciplines) that may provide helpful starting points for your research, often listing both primary and secondary sources. Some of the subject areas that are included are:

 African American Studies

 African Studies

 American Literature

 Art History



 Political Science


Some examples of articles are:

 "The Juvenile Justice System"



 "Mass Incarceration in the United States and Its Collateral Consequences"

Oxford Handbooks Online
Lengthy chapters in the Oxford Handbooks usually provide helpful overviews of scholarly topics and historical literature, along with suggestions for further reading. A number of the handbooks may be helpful depending on your research topic.

Gale in Context: U.S. History

This resource brings together reference articles, along with selected primary and secondary sources for getting started on your research.

ProQuest Black Studies

This database brings together many reference as well as primary and secondary sources. Includes collections of Black historical newspapers, archival primary source collections such as the Papers of the NAACP, academic journals, video content, and the Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience.

Wiley Online Library

Includes scholarly journal articles and monographs as well as reference works. Often a single chapter or two within a reference work can provide a helpful starting point for research. Titles include The Handbook of Law and Society and A Companion to Post-1945 America.

Secondary Sources/Subject Databases

In addition to the online library catalog (Books+ and Orbis), reference sources, and footnotes in the sources you're already finding, subject-specific databases of journal articles, book reviews, and the like are another extremely helpful resource for finding secondary literature. Here are some key ones for your research this semester:

Library contact

James Kessenides, Librarian for African American Studies,