Africana studies collection

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This page describes Africana collections.  For a guide to Africana databases and other resources visit this site: Africana Studies

Africana Studies is an interdisciplinary program of study aimed at understanding the experience of members of the African diaspora outside of Africa.  The Africana fund primarily purchases works in the humanities and social sciences related to the African diaspora.  Additional material is purchased by area studies funds--especially those for African and Latin American Studies--French Language and Literature, Literatures in English, Anthropology and Archaeology, the History of Art, and a broad range of social sciences.  Physical items supporting Africana Studies are mainly located in Van Pelt Library, but the Fisher Fine Arts Library and Museum Library have significant holdings relating to arts/design and anthropology/archaeology, respectively.  

Collection description

Over the past 20 years the Library has purchased monographs relating to Africana Studies at a high level to support consistently high interest and growing curricular needs.  Nonetheless, BorrowDirect access to circulating collections held by Ivy+ Plus Libraries serves the essential purposes of filling gaps in our collections and providing second copies when Penn's are invaluable.  The Library has also purchased a robust collection of electronic primary and secondary source resources to support research about the African diaspora during all time periods and in all locations.  Collecting of Videos in either DVD or streaming format also has been and remains robust. 

Special collections

The principal repository of material in the Philadelphia area concerning African Americans is the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American collection, a component of the Temple University libraries. This collection of over 30,000 items contains "materials on the global black experience in all formats: books, manuscripts, sheet music, pamphlets, journals, newspapers, broadsides, posters, photographs, and rare ephemera. In addition, the collection houses selected artifacts." The Library Company of Philadelphia has extensive holdings in African Americana materials from the 19th century and earlier.  Material relating to Africana Studies is available in special collections throughout the Delaware Valley.  Many of those collections are listed here.

The Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts is notable for its collections of material related to African Americans in music and culture, including the Marion Anderson Collection, James DuPriest papers, and records of the Painted Bride Arts Center.  Kislak is developing its collection of material related to Africana Studies and the Civil Rights Movement through purchases of underground newspapers, a run of The Black Panther, and antebellum slavery records. Penn's University Archives house extensive material relating to the African American experience at Penn, and also holds the important Raymond Pace Alexander and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander papers. 

Links to policies will go here if they exist.

Doing research

As an interdisciplinary subject, students doing research in Africana Studies will likely want investigate resources related to a wide range of areas of study.  Some of the resources most directly relevant to Africana Studies are in the following guides.

Research guides