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AFAM 480: Senior Colloquium: African American Studies: Home

This guide is intended for students in Professor Elizabeth Hinton's course and provides an overview of key resources in the Yale Library for writing your senior essays this year.

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:

Finding Archives Beyond Yale

Archive Grid contains records for finding aids from over 1000 archival institutions. Start here when you are seeking to discover if there are any relevant archival collections for your research beyond Yale. The "Summary View" option is a good way to filter your search results after running a search. This is an open access resource/no login required.

Background sources

Background or "reference" sources are a great place to start in building your bibliographies. These are scholarly encyclopedias, handbooks, bibliographies, and similar sources that will often contain lengthy essays with background information on a topic and overviews of the relevant scholarship. Citations to the secondary literature will always be included, and often so too will citations to primary sources.


Cambridge Core

Includes the Cambridge Histories and Cambridge Companions. Examples of volumes within these series include:

The Cambridge Companion to Black Theology

Oxford African American Studies Center

Comprehensive collection of scholarship focused on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture, coupled with precise search and browse capabilities.

Examples of articles include:

"Florida A&M University" by Abha Sood Patel

"Butler, Octavia E." by Cynthia A. Callahan (this is the most recent of several articles on Butler)

"Oral Histories" by Anthony Edwards (in Black Women in America, 2nd ed.)

Oxford Bibliographies

Oxford Bibliographies offers peer-reviewed annotated bibliographies on specific topics across varied subject areas. Each of these features an introduction to the topic. Bibliographies can be browsed by subject area and searched by keyword. Subject areas include African American Studies, African Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Cinema and Media Studies, Literary and Critical Theory, Political Science, Sociology, and more. 

Examples of articles include:

"Speculative Fiction" by Esther L. Jones

"Afrofuturism" by Daylanne K. English

Oxford Handbooks Online

Includes numerous handbooks, usually with lengthy chapter overviews of topics. A few examples of titles that are part of this collection are The Oxford Handbook of African American Theology, The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, 1865-Present, and The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative, as well as:

The Oxford Handbook of Oral History

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History

Examples of articles include:

"Black Girlhood in 20th-Century America" by Miya Carey

"African American Soldiers in World War I" by Amanda M. Nagel

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature

Examples of articles include:

"Toni Morrison" by Kristine Yohe

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion

Examples of articles include:

"African Americans and Religion" by Sylvester A. Johnson

ProQuest Black Studies

This resources brings together reference as well as secondary and primary sources.


Books on Writing a Thesis

Library contact

James Kessenides, Kaplanoff Librarian for American History,

Click here for a list of subject specialists in the Yale Library