Basic Guide to Research on Africa: Home

The African Studies Collections at Columbia

Columbia University Libraries' research collections on Africa south of the Sahara, located throughout Columbia's 17 departmental libraries, include over 238,000 book titles & over 1,700 current serials in all disciplines. The Libraries also hold over 700 African Studies videos.
For all African studies resources at Columbia and beyond, see : African Studies.
For Africa north of the Sahara, see also: The Middle East and Islamic Studies Collections.

This Home Page includes: General Reference ; Atlases and Maps ; Contact Information ; Library Catalogs ; Citation Management ; African Language Resources; and, Internet Guides.

General Reference: Biography, Encyclopedias, Handbooks, & Historical Dictionaries

  • The A-Z of South African politics : people, parties and players. Written and compiled by Kashiefa Ajam, Kevin Ritchie, Lebogang Seale, Janet Smith & Thabiso Thakali. (Auckland Park : Jacana Media, 2019)
    --See also, previous editions: 1999 ; 2004; and, 2009

  • Africa. World today series. (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., 2017--

  • Africa contemporary record. Annual. (London: Africana Publishing, 1968/69-2002)

  • Africa : an encyclopedia of culture and society. 3 vols. Edited by Toyin Falola and Daniel Jean-Jacques. (Santa Barbara, California : ABC-CLIO, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2016)
    See also: E-book

  • Africa south of the Sahara. Annual. (London: Europa, 1971-) Print version
    See also: Europa world plus Online

  • Africa today. 3rd ed. Know Africa series. (London: Africa Journal, Ltd. for Africa Books, 1996)

  • Africa who's who. 3rd ed. Know Africa series. (London: Africa Journal, Ltd. for Africa Books, 1996)

  • Africa yearbook online. (Leiden: Brill, 2004-)
  • African biographical archive. 457 microfiches. Comp. by Victor Herrero Mediavilla. (Munchen: K.G. Saur Verlag, [1995-1999]) See also:
    • African biographical index. 3v. Comp. by Victor Herrero Mediavilla. (Munchen: K.G. Saur, 1999) Index to: African biographical archive.
      Search also, the index to the microfiche collection online (Part of "World Biographical Information System")

  • An African biographical dictionary. 2nd ed. Compiled by Norbert C. Brockman. (New York: Grey House Pub., c2006)
    See also: E-book

  • African Biography on the Internet (via Columbia University Libraries)

  • The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights: the system in practice, 1986-2000. 2nd edition. E-book. Edited by Malcolm Evans and Rachel Murray. (Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2008)

  • African disability rights yearbook, 2013--. Online. [Pretoria, South Africa] : Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), 2013-

  • African folklore: an encyclopedia. Edited by Philip M. Peek and Kwesi Yankah. (New York : Routledge, 2004).
    See also: E-book

  • African higher education: an international reference handbook. Ed. by Damtew Teferra, Philip G. Altbach. (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2003).

  • African kingdoms : an encyclopedia of empires and civilizations. Edited by Saheed Aderinto. Santa Barbara, California : ABC-CLIO, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC, [2017]
    --See also: E-book

  • Africana: the encyclopedia of the African and African-American experience. 5 vols. Edited by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

  • African studies companion online. 5th ed. Brill Online Reference Works
    -- Leiden, The Netherlands; New York, USA: Brill, 2012--

  • The African Union and its institutions. Edited by John Akokpari, Angela Ndinga-Muvumba and Tim Murithi. (Auckland Park, South Africa : Fanele ; [Cape Town] : Centre for Conflict Resolution, 2008).
    See also: E-book

  • AMESA: Directory of Scholars of Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia Produced by Columbia University Libraries.

  • Area Handbook series, 1987-1996. Prepared by the Library of Congress and sponsored by the US Dept. of the Army. (Washington)
    Lehman Reference
    • For the handbook of an individual country, search CLIO--Catalog by selecting "Keyword."  Use the name of the country and "area handbook" (in quotes) for the keyword search.
    • To access the online handbooks, see: section on US Dept. of the Army in "US Organizations on Africa," compiled by Columbia University Libraries.

  • Armes, Roy. Dictionary of African filmmakers. (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, c2008).

  • The Cambridge handbook of African linguistics. E-book. Edited by H. Ekkehard Wolff. Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2019.

  • Chiefs of state and cabinet members of African goverments. Selections from US Central Intelligence Agency's Chiefs of state and cabinet members of foreign governments (World Leaders). (Washington, DC: The Agency, 2001--) --via Columbia University Libraries.

  • Commonwealth universities yearbook. Annual. (London: Association of Commonwealth Universities, 1985-2008).

  • A companion to African cinema. Edited by Kenneth W. Harrow and Carmela Garritano. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley-Blackwell, 2018.
    --See also: E-book

  • A companion to African history. Edited by William Worger, Charles Ambler, and Nwando Achebe. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley Blackwell, 2019.
    --See also: E-book

  • A companion to African literatures. E-book. Ed. by Olakunle George. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley-Blackwell, [2020]

  • A companion to the anthropology of Africa. E-book. Edited by Roy Richard Grinker, Stephen C. Lubkemann, Christopher B. Steiner, and Euclides Gonalves. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley-Blackwell, [2019]

  • A companion to modern African art. Ed. by Gitti Salami and Monica Blackmun Visonà. (Chichester, West Sussex, UK ; Malden, MA : Wiley Blackwell, 2013).
    See also: E-book

  • Compendium of elections in southern Africa. Ed. by Tom Lodge [et al.]. (Johannesburg, South Africa: Electoral Institute of Southern Africa, 2002).

  • Dictionary of African biography. 6 vols. Emmanuel K. Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., editors in chief. (Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2012)

  • Dictionary of African Christian biography. (Online) (Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, Connecticut)

  • A dictionary of African politics. E-book. [Compiled by] Nicholas Cheeseman, Eloïse Bertand, and Sa'eed Husaini. ([Oxford] : Oxford University Press, 2019)

  • Directory of world cinema. Africa. Edited by Blandine Stefanson and Sheila Petty. (Bristol, UK : Intellect Books, 2014)

  • Elections in Africa: a data handbook. Edited by Dieter Nohlen, Michael Krennerich, Bernhard Thibaut. (New York : Oxford University Press, 1999)
    See also: E-book

  • Encyclopaedia Aethiopica. 5 vols. Edited by Siegbert Uhlig ; editorial board: Baye Yimam ... [et al.]. (Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz, 2003-2014)

  • Encyclopedia of Africa. 2 vols. Edited by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010)

  • Encyclopedia of African history. 3 v. Ed. by Kevin Shillington. (New York : Fitzroy Dearborn, 2005)
    See also: E-book (via Credo Reference)

  • Encyclopedia of African religion. 2 vols. (Los Angeles: SAGE, c2009)
    See also: E-book

  • Encyclopedia of African religions and philosophy. Edited by V.Y. Mudimbe and Kasereka Kavwahirehi. Dordrecht, The Netherlands : Springer, [2021]
    --See also: E-book

  • Encyclopedia of Islam. 3rd ed. online. (Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2004-)
    Requires a special font.
    See also: 2nd ed. online
    For print edition, see: Vols. 1-11 (1960-1982).

  • Encyclopedia of the Middle Passage. Edited by Toyin Falola and Amanda Warnock. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2007).

  • Encyclopedia of South Africa. Edited by Krista Johnson and Sean Jacobs. (Boulder, Colo. : Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011)
    --See also: E-book

  • Ethnologue. Country Index: Languages of Africa (Dallas, Texas: SIL International, 1999-).

  • Europa world plus. (New York, NY : Routledge ; Taylor & Francis Group, 2007-).
    Economic, political, historical, and geographic profiles.
    Select "Africa South of the Sahara"

  • Falola, Toyin. Key events in African history : a reference guide. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2002.
    --See also: E-Book

  • Fatula, Olugbemi. 2000 foremost Nigerians. 2 vols. (Ibadan, Nigeria: Caltop Publications, 2000-)

  • Le Festival panafricain du cinéma et de la télévision de Ouagadougou et l'Association des trois mondes.
    Les cinémas d'Afrique: dictionnaire. (Paris : Karthala : Editions ATM, 2000)

  • The Garland encyclopedia of world music. (Alexandria, Virginia: Alexander Street Press).

  • The Garland handbook of African music. E-book. Edited by Ruth M. Stone. (New York: Routledge, 2008)
    --See also: Taylor & Francis e-book

  • GlobaLex--Foreign Law Research: Country Index, 2005-2022 (New York University, Hauser Global Law School Program, New York)

  • Gray, John. Music of Sub-Saharan Africa : an international bibliography and resource guide. (Nyack, New York : African Diaspora Press, 2018)

  • Guide to Videos in African Studies at Columbia University

  • Handbook of African philosophy of difference. E-book. Edited by Elvis Imafidon. (Cham : Springer International Publishing : Imprint: Springer, 2020)

  • Handbook of Africa's international relations  Editor, Tim Murithi. (Oxfordshire, England ; New York : Routledge, c2014). E-book version (via ProQuest)

  • Handbook of political science research on Sub-Saharan Africa: trends from the 1960s to the 1990s. (New York: Greenwood Press, 1992).

  • Handbook of political science research on the Middle East and North Africa. Ed. by Bernard Reich. (Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, 1998)

  • Historical Dictionary series (Metuchen, NJ ; Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press).
    For a modern country, search in CLIO--Catalog, select "All fields" in "Advanced Search", and use keywords [current name of country] and "historical dictionary" (as a phrase). Thematic titles include:

  • Human rights law in Africa. 2 vols. Edited by Christof Heyns, Morne Vander Linde. (The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 2004)
    See also:
    E-book version (via HeinOnline)

  • Human rights manual and sourcebook for Africa. Compiled by Keir Starmer and Theodora A. Christou; edited by Kate Beattie...[et al.] (London: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, c2005).

  • Makers of modern Africa. 3rd ed. Know Africa series; no. 1. (London: Africa Journal, Ltd. for Africa Books, 1996).

  • The Middle East and North Africa. Annual. (London: Europa, 1995-)
    See also: Europa world plus

  • New dictionary of South African biography. Edited by E.J. Verwey. 2 vols. (Pretoria: HSRC Publishers; Johannesburg: Thorold’s Africana Books [distributor], c1995).

  • New encyclopedia of Africa, 5 v. Editor in chief, John Middleton; editor, Joseph C. Miller. (Detroit: Thomson/Gale, c2008).
    See also: E-book

  • Oxford African American Studies Center. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008-). Includes: Africana (5 volumes); Encyclopedia of African American history; Black women in America--2nd edition; and, the African American national biography.

  • Oxford Bibliographies Online (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press)

  • The Oxford encyclopedia of African historiography : methods and sources. Thomas Spear, editor in chief. (New York : Oxford University Press, 2019)
    --See also: E-book

  • The Oxford encyclopedia of African thought. Editors in chief, F. Abiola Irele and Biodun Jeyifo.
    2 vols. (New York : Oxford University Press, 2010).

  • The Oxford handbook of African archaeology. Edited by Peter Mitchell and Paul Lane. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).
    --See also: E-book

  • The Oxford handbook of African languages. Edited by Rainer Vossen and Gerrit J. Dimmendaal. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020)
    --See also: E-book

  • The Oxford handbook of modern African history. Edited by John Parker and Richard Reid. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)
    --See also: E-book

  • The Oxford handbook of the sociology of Africa. E-book. Edited by R. Sooryamoorthy and Nene Ernest Khalema. New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2023]

  • Oxford research encyclopedias--African history. Online. (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press)
    Scholarly essays, with extensive bibliographic references, on wide variety of topics in the field.

  • Oxford research encyclopedias--Anthropology. Online. (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press)
    Scholarly essays, with extensive bibliographic references, on archaeology and anthropology of all world areas, including Africa.

  • The Palgrave handbook of African colonial and postcolonial history. 2 vols. Editors, Martin S. Shanguhyia and Toyin Falola. (New York : Palgrave Macmillan, [2018])
    --See also: E-book

  • The Palgrave handbook of African education and indigenous knowledge. Edited by Jamaine M. Abidogun and Toyin Falola. (Cham, Switzerland : Palgrave Macmillan, [2020])
    --See also: E-book, via Teachers College.

  • The Palgrave handbook of African oral traditions and folklore. E-book. Edited by Akintunde Akinyemi and Toyin Falola. (Cham, Switzerland : Palgrave Macmillan, [2021])

  • The Palgrave handbook of African philosophy. Edited by Adeshina Afolayan and Toyin Falola. (New York, NY, U.S.A. : Palgrave Macmillan, [2017])
    --See also: E-book

  • Palgrave handbook of African traditional religion. Edited by Ibigbolade S. Aderibigbe and Toyin Falola. (Cham, Switzerland : Palgrave Macmillan, [2022])
    --See also: E-book

  • The Palgrave handbook of African women's studies. 3 vols. E-book. Edited by Olajumoke Yacob-Haliso and Toyin Falola. (Cham : Springer International Publishing : Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022)
    --See also: Vols. 1-3 in print

  • The Palgrave handbook of Islam in Africa. EBSCO e-book. Edited by Fallou Ngom, Mustapha H. Kurfi, and Toyin Falola. (Cham, Switzerland : Palgrave Macmillan, [2020])
    --See also: Springer e-book

  • A political and economic dictionary of Africa. Compiled by David Seddon, with Daniel Seddon-Daines. (London: Routledge, 2005).
    --See also: E-book

  • Political parties of Africa & the Middle East. Edited by R. East and T. Joseph. (Harlow, England: Longman; Detroit, MI: Gale Research, distributor, 1993).

  • Rake, Alan. African leaders: guiding the new millennium. (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2001).

  • Rake, Alan. 100 great Africans. (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1994).

  • The Routledge companion to Christianity in Africa. Edited by Elias Kifon Bongmba. (New York, NY : Routledge, 2016)
    --See also: E-book

  • Routledge handbook of Africa-Asia relations. Edited by Pedro Miguel Amakasu Raposo de Medeiros Carvalho, David Arase and Scarlett Cornelissen. (Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2018)
    --See also: E-book

  • The Routledge handbook of African law. E-book. Edited by Muna Ndulo and Cosmas Emeziem. (London ; New York : Routledge, 2022)

  • The Routledge handbook of African theology. E-book. Edited by Elias Kifon Bongmba. (Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2020)

  • Routledge handbook of contemporary African migration. E-book. Edited by Daniel Makina and Dominic Pasura. (Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2023)

  • Routledge handbook of Francophone Africa. E-book. Edited by Tony Chafer and Margaret A. Majumdar. (London : Routledge, 2023)

  • Routledge handbook of Islam in Africa. E-book. Edited by Terje Østebø. (Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2022)

  • Routledge handbook of pan-Africanism. E-book. Edited by Reiland Rabaka. (London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2020)

  • Sweetman, David. Women leaders in African history. (London : Heinemann, 1984).

  • Ugowe, C.O.O. Eminent Nigerians of the twentieth century. (Lagos, Nigeria : Hugo Books ; Ibadan, Nigeria : Ebony Bookmakers, 2000).

  • United States. Central Intelligence Agency. The World factbook. (Washington, DC: The Agency)

  • U.S. Foreign Policy: Getting Started (Compiled by Columbia University Libraries).

  • Verdier, Isabelle ; in collaboration with Victor Mpara ; English ed., Kimberly Conniff Taber. Gulf of Guinea oil: the top 100 people. (Paris: Indigo Publications, 2003).

  • Verdier, Isabelle and Victor Mpara.
    Sénégal: les hommes de pouvoir: le guide permanent. Collection "Les hommes de pouvoir." (Paris: Indigo Publications, c2001).

  • West Africa over 75 years: selections from the raw material of history. Kole Omotoso et al., researchers; Kaye Whiteman, editor. (London: West Africa, 1993).

  • Westley, David. The Mfecane: an annotated bibliography. (Madison: African Studies Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999).

  • Who's who in African art. Compiled by Guy Van Rijn. (Antwerp, Belgium: Van Rijn Documentation Center, 2003).
    See also: 1995 edition

  • Wiseman, John A. Political leaders in Black Africa: a biographical dictionary of the major politicians since independence. (Aldershot, England; Brookfield, VT: E. Elgar, 1991).

  • World of learning (1947-2010). Annual. (London: Europa)
    See also: Europa world of learning (2007 to present)

  • Yakan, Mohamad Z. Almanac of African peoples & nations. (New Brunswick, NJ : Transaction, c1999)
    --See also: E-book.

  • Yearbook on the African Union, 2020--. E-book. (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2022-- )


    Library Catalogs

  • CLIO
    (All CU libraries EXCEPT Law Library & Teachers College)

  • Pegasus (Law Library)
    --For access, see Law Library Guide
  • Educat (Teachers College)

  • Borrow Direct (Fast interlibrary book loan)
  • Interlibrary Loan
  • WorldCat
  • Atlases and Maps

  • Africa: atlas of our changing environment. (Nairobi, Kenya: UNEP, 2008).

  • Africa's lakes: atlas of our changing environment.. (Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Environment Progam--UNEP, 2006). via Internet Archive

  • Africa mountains atlas. (Nairobi, Kenya: UNEP, 2014).

  • Africapolis: Visualise Urbanisation in Africa (2018) (Paris, France)
    Produced by the OECD Sahel and West Africa Club, Africapolis data is based on a large inventory of housing and population censuses, electoral registers and other official population sources, in some cases dating back to the beginning of the 20th century."

  • Agence française de développement. Atlas of Africa: new perspectives on the continent. E-book. [S.l.] : Routledge, 2021.
    --See also: French version in print

  • ArcGIS Hub (ESRI, Redlands, California)
    Search by country to view maps online, but requires subscription to download.

  • Atlas du continent africain. (Paris: Jeune Afrique & Les Editions du Jaguar, 1993).

  • Atlas of Africa: energy resources. (Nairobi, Kenya: UNEP, 2017)
    --See also: E-book

  • Betz, Richard L. The mapping of Africa: a cartobibliography of printed maps of the African continent to 1700. ([Utrecht], The Netherlands: Hes & de Graaf Publishers, c2007),

  • Christopher, A.J.. The atlas of apartheid. (New York: Routledge, 1994).

  • Christopher, A.J. The atlas of changing South Africa. 2nd ed. (London ; New York : Routledge, c2001)
    See also: E-book

  • Columbia University Libraries: Geospatial Data Catalog (Research Data Services)

  • Columbia University. Lehman Social Sciences Library Map Room, 2nd Floor,

  • Conservation atlas of tropical forests: Africa. (New York; London: Simon & Schuster, 1992).

  • Eastern Africa atlas of coastal resources. Vol. 1. Kenya. (Nairobi, Kenya : United Nations Environment Programme ; [Brussels] : Belgian Administration for Development Cooperation, c1998).

  • Eastern Africa atlas of coastal resources. Vol. 2. Tanzania. (Nairobi, Kenya : United Nations Environment Programme ; [Brussels] : Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Zanzibar: United Republic of Tanzania, Institute of Marine Sciences; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: University of Dar es Salaam, c2001).

  • Eltis, David and David Richardson. Atlas of the transatlantic slave trade. (New Haven, [Connecticut] ; London, [England] : Yale University Press, 2010)
    --See also: E-book

  • Environmental Systems Research Institute. The Sub-Saharan Africa map book. (Redlands, California : Esri Press, [2014])

  • Freeman-Grenville, G.S.P. The new atlas of African history. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991).

  • Griffiths, I.L. An atlas of African affairs. 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 1994)
    See also: Lehman Reference copy.

  • Historical atlas of Africa. Ed. by J.F. Ade Ajayi et al. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985).
    See also: Butler Reference copy

  • Humanitarian OpenStreet Map Team--Our Work (Washington, DC)
    Select locations in Africa: "When major disaster strikes anywhere in the world, HOT rallies a huge network of volunteers to create, online, the maps that enable responders to reach those in need.

  • International Lake Environment Committee Foundation for Sustainable Mangement of World Lakes & Reservoirs. World Lake Database--African Lakes. (Shiga-ken, Japan: ILEC, 2022) -- via Columbia University Libraries.

  • Kwamena-Poh, Michael et al. African history in maps. (London; New York: Longman, 1982).

  • Lake Victoria Basin: atlas of our changing environment. E-book. (Arendal, Norway: GRID-Arendal, 2017).

  • Landscapes of West Africa : a window on a changing world. (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso : Comité Permanent Inter-états de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CLISS), [2016])

  • Mapping Specialists, Inc. Africa on file. 2 vols. (New York: Facts on File, 1995).

  • Maps and Power in Modern African History. (Columbia University Libraries)

  • Maps of Africa on the Internet. (Columbia University Libraries)

  • McIlwaine, John. Maps and mapping of Africa: a resource guide. (London: Hans Zell Publishers, 1997).

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. An atlas of the Sahara-Sahel : geography, economics and security. E-Book [Edited by] Laurent Bossard. ([Paris, France] : OECD, 2014).

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Regional Atlas on West Africa. E-book. Paris : OECD Publishing, 2009.

  • Perry Castañeda Library, University of Texas at Austin: Maps of Africa (Austin, Texas)

  • Pourtier, Roland. Atlas de la Zone Franc en Afrique subsaharienne: monnaie, économie, société. (Paris: Documentation française, 1995).

  • SEDAC--Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center -- Map Gallery
    (Center for International Earth Science Information Network, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York)
    -- See also: Data sets

  • United Nations Geospatial---General Maps (New York)
  • Librarian

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    Yuusuf Caruso
    Columbia University
    309 Lehman Library
    Global Studies
    420 West 118th Street
    New York, NY 10027 USA

    Global Studies Library

    African Language Resources

    Internet Guides

  • African Studies Internet Resources -- WWW-Virtual Library for African Studies, since 1997 (Columbia University Libraries, New York)

  • LANIC--Latin American Network Information Center (University of Texas at Austin)

  • Middle East Studies Virtual Library (Columbia University Libraries, New York)
  • Citation Management

  • The Chicago manual of style. 17th ed. E-book. (Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, [2017])

  • Columbia University: Citation Management Software (EndNote, Mendeley & Zotero)

  • Columbia Guide to Online Style. (2006) E-book.

  • Guide to Citing Government Documents

  • Hacker, Diana. The Bedford handbook.
    5th ed. Boston : Bedford Books, c1998.
    --See also: 6th ed.