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Penn Dissertations on Africa

This page provides hyperlinks to working documents that describe University of Pennsylvania doctoral dissertations relevant to African studies.

To generate these dissertation lists, a very large set of searches is run in the ProQuest Dissertation Abstracts International or ProQuest Digital Dissertations database. Last update: 11 October 2011.


  • Search terms are very loose: ethnonyms, language names, countries, cities. If a title or abstracts lacks these terms, the dissertation might be omitted.
  • Searches retrieve only those dissertations reported to ProQuest or UMI, its predecessor. Very recent dissertations may not have been received or processed by ProQuest.

Availability of Penn dissertations

  • Franklin, the Penn Library catalog, lists Penn dissertations with location, call number, and current availability information.
  • ScholarlyCommons: Repository, the institutional repository, includes Penn dissertations in fulltext, 1997 to the present. Access is provided from ProQuest.
  • ProQuest Digital Dissertations identifies Penn dissertations from the 19th century to the present and provides fulltext for Penn dissertations received by ProQuest/UMI from 1997 to the present, in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. NB. These are typically page-image PDF, not searchable fulltext PDF.

Working documents

  • AfricaDissAbsSearches.txt (ASCII text)
    The searches run in Dissertation Abstracts. The first search retrieves Penn dissertations for a specific date range.
  • Africa_DAIPQDD_19902011_20111011.doc (MS Word)
  • Africa_DAIPQDD_19902011_20111011.xls (MS Excel)
    Penn dissertations relevant to African studies, 1990 through 2011 (searches run on 31 October 2002, 29 September 2005, and 11 October 2011). 285 dissertations are described. The Word version is sorted alphabetically by author last name within each year, most recent first. The Excel version allows sorting by title, author, date, page-count, advisor (when given), department (from Franklin record), principal subject, and other information. PennKey-proxied URLs are provided for access to fulltext.

For more information, contact Lauris Olson, Social Sciences Bibliographer,