This research guide provides links to and descriptions of resources that support researching the history of sub-Saharan Africa. Contents reflect a social sciences approach to historiography rather than viewing history exclusively as a discipline within the humanities.
Collection Development Guidelines
Print resources that support teaching, research, and learning in the study of African history are located primarily in the Doheny Memorial Library. The USC Libraries collects in the major areas of emphasis of the discipline, including but not limited to, general theory and methodology of the study of African history and all historical aspects of the African continent and of its regions and nation-states. Emphasis is given to collecting materials related to contemporary history [defined as post-Colonial Africa]. However, books and other materials that support research about any aspects of pre-Colonial African history is also collected. There are no geographical limitations regarding what is acquired, but specific emphasis is placed on acquiring research resources covering the history of sub-Saharan Africa and its indigenous cultures. Relevant materials in philosophy and religious history are located at the Hoose Library of Philosophy; works of art history and architecture are at Architectural and Fine Arts Library; and music and performing arts materials may be found at the Music Library.
Materials are acquired in three ways: standing orders of books from specific publishers and in designated subject areas under the GOBI vendor profile, individually purchased titles [firm orders] from GOBI and other vendors, and donations.
The historical aspects of any discipline within the social sciences and humanities is broadly supportive of interdisciplinary research and pedagogy. Therefore, a deliberate approach is taken to building and maintaining the African history collection so that helps support research in anthropology, classical studies, demography, economics, education, environmental studies, human development, international affairs, law, linguistics, literature, political science, philosophy, and religion. With the exception of course textbooks, anthologies, and reprints of doctoral dissertations, scholarly materials of all types, including digital archives and other types of online resources, are collected or made accessible. The collecting efforts emphasize materials either published in or translated to English. Materials in other languages are acquired very selectively and only in support of current curricular and research needs.
Library faculty consider permanent removal of print materials based primarily on the following criteria: older editions that are not historically significant, duplicate copies, damaged or mutilated materials, or in response to emerging space constraints. Materials also may be considered for permanent removal in response to significant and long-lasting changes in the curriculum, areas of research, and teaching priorities of the Dornsife College Department of History.