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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Afro American Studies

A general guide to library research in Afro American Studies.

Welcome to the Library Guide for 
AFROAM 254: Introduction to African Studies

Library Guide by Isabel Espinal, PhD, MLIS
Course taught by Professor Y. Covington-Ward, PhD
Spring 2024

This course explores the diversity of the many peoples, cultures, and societies of Africa, both past and present. Moving beyond stereotypes and commonly held misconceptions about Africa and Africans, the course takes a multidisciplinary approach drawing on history, ethnography, literature, and film to explore a range of issues and topics relevant to the every-day lived experiences of Africans. These include topics such as Ancient Africa, Africa under European colonialism, urban Africa, African livelihoods, ideas of kinship, memory and forgetting, the impact of war, experiences of migration, youth movements, health and healing, Nollywood and other African films, technology growth, and music and popular culture, among other topics. A comparative approach will be used to illuminate these topics, drawing upon case studies from various countries and regions of the African continent, as well as historical and literary sources. While our longer case study is based on Liberia, we will also draw on our main class reader and various articles and films for examples from other countries (such as Nigeria, Senegal, and South Sudan, among other countries).

Citation Management

Use a citation manager, such as Zotero to keep track of your research.

Put all your references in one place, create quick and easy bibliographies, build your knowledgebase for the rest of your career. For help, check out the online guides and webinars or Ask a Librarian. 

Some tips on using Chicago notation style with Zotero

If it's not at UMass, we'll get it for you - for free!

Use your Interlibrary Loan account to:

  • Borrow books, videos, and other materials not available in the Five College system.
  • Request electronic copies of articles and book chapters not available at UMass.


Article databases

Finding Books

To find books at UMass 


Start with the Discovery Search, the general search box on the library home page,  

This search gives you access to books and articles and more.

Citations can be exported directly to Zotero or other citation managers.

Some recent books in African Studies available at UMass: