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Geotrip: A Guide for People Doing Field Work in the Geosciences: Colonialism and the Geosciences

Field guides, maps, and GIS data for researchers, students, and interested academics who do geologic field work.

Resources for Inclusive and Just Geosciences

This page collects some resources held by the Yale Library to begin reading about the history of the geosciences and colonialism, imperialism, and racism, as well as looking forward to the future that we want to build in the sciences. While many similar lists exist online, the primary function of this page is to quickly link Yale researchers to the copy that we have, digital or electronic. Please note that if something is checked out, Borrow Direct (for books) and Interlibrary Loan (for articles or books) are two excellent options.

Books in the Catalog

How to Search Articles+ for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Content

It can be difficult to locate information on colonialism and imperialism's impact on the geosciences. The books on the left from our catalog show just how complex the topic is, especially when it comes to the history of resource exploitation and European colonial powers.

The best way to search Articles+ is to use Boolean operators — AND, OR, NOT. Quotation marks "" and parentheses () can also be used to structure a query, much like how you structure mathematical equations to show the order of operations. In tools like Articles+ and Google Scholar, instead of using NOT, the system uses a minus sign, as in the search exoplanet atmospheres -"hot jupiters"

Let's look specifically at EDI resources now.

(geology OR geophysics OR "earth sciences") AND (diversity equity inclusion)

The above search is generally useful for finding information about diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is also available here for browsing. 

A different search, where we replace the AND (diversity equity inclusion) with AND (colonialism OR imperialism), might seem like an ideal way to find more information about imperial powers and the geosciences, and you can view that modified search here. When you take a look, note that many of the top resources are not about the most recent 500 years of exploitation, but about human migration patterns into Europe and the Americas and their impact and evidence.

Searching for something more specific, like American imperialism, will yield results that are much more consistent with your information need. America is not the only modern or historical colonial/imperial power, so you can also search for the intersection of the geosciences with the Spanish conquest or another topic of interest.

Articles+ has some additional features that make it more useful for an in-depth search for this topic than Google Scholar. For example, you can use the topic/subject filters on the left-hand side to drill down to a specific set of subjects, and you can also limit to document type, like journal articles or dissertations. By default, Articles+ only shows you items we can access electronically (about 80% of our online resources; some of our highly specialized business and chemical databases aren't compatible, unfortunately), and you can click on "Add results beyond your library's collection" below the main search box to see items that you could order through interlibrary loan. 

How to Search Proquest Natural Sciences Collection for EDI Content

Above, we looked at Articles+. Here, we are looking at Proquest Natural Science Collection, which will limit our results to many natural sciences fields, including most earth and planetary science subdisciplines.

One important difference between ProQuest databases, including the Natural Science Collection, and Articles+ is that the Boolean operator NOT is the preferred method of negation in a ProQuest database. Keep that in mind if you need to remove any words or phrases from your results. It's also harder to share links to specific searches in ProQuest databases, so please use this link to try out any of the searches below for yourself:

Here, a search for colonialism AND geosciences will display a robust set of resources focused on a range of topics, ranging from professional topics that impact departments and groups to grappling with the entire topic of colonialism in the geosciences.

We can also search for topics like belonging. As a heads up, if you type belonging AND geosciences, many of the results will treat the word belonging in a broad way, with meanings ranging from "this rock belongs to X time period" to the actual meaning we want. A search for belonging AND geosciences AND professional refines the results because it lets ProQuest know that we're interested in a "human in STEM" topic, that of how we improve belonging in the geosciences profession.

Taking a look at any of the books in the left-hand panel and viewing their citations can also be useful for finding specific authors and topics to search either here or in Articles+. You may also take interest in highlighting passages, proper names, and terminology used in blog posts and outreach articles like this one from the magazine of the Geological Society of London about the Society's historical links to slavery and colonialism.