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African Studies Library

Your one-stop-shop for all things African Studies at the University of Cambridge & beyond

Find the African Studies Materials you Need

Where are Cambridge's African Studies Materials?

The best place to start is by visiting the African Studies Library and speaking to one of our librarians.

There are many other print collections in Cambridge that hold relevant material to African Studies.  Please check for opening hours and borrowing rights.

The Cambridge Centre of African Studies Book Series published by Ohio University Press

 The Cambridge Centre of African Studies Book Series 

Tasker Collection of Caribbean Fiction donated to and held in the English Faculty Library

 Tasker Collection of Caribbean Fiction donated to and held in the English Faculty Library (across the road from African Studies)

Cambridge African monograph series & papers Cambridge African monograph series & papers


Recommendations for improving this page are welcome - email us this link with your thoughts at afr@lib.cam.ac.uk.

Find a Book Using iDiscover

  • Before coming into the Library, it's a good idea to use the iDiscover catalogue to search all print and online content available to you as a member of the University

  • Ensure that you login with your Cambridge credentials (abc123 + password) first to see all subscribed online content available to you

  • When searching for books (print or online) use the radial button on the search bar and select "Cambridge Libraries Collections"

  • Search using author last name and keywords from the title

  • Use the filter bar on the right hand side of the page to bring up the concise title needed

  • Books and journals will show as "Available in the Library" (print) or "Full-text online" in the filter bar, and below this you can identify which libraries hold the item needed

    • Check out this PDF that explains the different types of locations of material, and email us at afr@lib.cam.ac.uk if you're not sure!
  • Make sure to click on the required record for further details, i.e. location, classmark, availability, number of copies

  • For help using iDiscover please see the iDiscover LibGuide for advanced search methods and account management advice


Filtering on iDiscover for Materials in the African Studies Library

How to find a book - African Studies filter

How to find a book - African Studies filter

Find the journal you need

An ongoing selection of new & relevant e-journals are listed below:

  • Africa Bibliography, Research and Documentation (CRSid Login): ABRD brings together essay content from Africa Bibliography, the authoritative guide to works in African studies published under the auspices of the International African Institute annually since 1984, with the former African Research & Documentation, the journal of SCOLMA (the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa) published since 1973. ABRD publishes articles and book reviews on topics relating to research, libraries, archives and publishing in and on Africa, and in African Studies.

  • Stolen Tools (Open Access): Stolen tools is an anti-racist journal dedicated to centering the voices of racialised minorities within health inequalities research. The journal aims to provide a creative platform for diverse racialised voices to be emotionally expressive about racism rooted in academia, challenge their self-censorship in research and share knowledge in a way which is understandable by a diverse range of voices: not just academics.
  • African Journals Online (Partly Open Access): With 700+ journals, AJO is a Non-Profit Organisation that (since 1998) works to increase global & continental online access, awareness, quality & use of African-published, peer-reviewed research.

  • Matatu (CRSid Login): publishing high quality articles on African literatures and societies. The journal continues to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue between literary and cultural studies, historiography, the social sciences, and cultural anthropology.

Find a Dissertation or Thesis

  • The African Studies Library holds (permitted) copies of dissertations from the African Studies MPhil course, dating back to 2011.  These are useful to refer to for structure, writing style, referencing style, and sources. 
  • Dissertations are available for consultation within the Library only, they may not be borrowed or copied in any way.  Please see a list of dissertations at the bottom of this page.
  • The Library also holds a number of bound PhD theses in the basement archive. Please ask us at the issue desk if you wish to consult any theses or dissertations.
  • Find out how to access University of Cambridge PhD theses held at the University Library and elsewhere via the Theses & Dissertations LibGuide.

You are able to view theses from across the world online - try some of the following routes:

  • Apollo: Full-text digital versions of several hundred Cambridge Ph.D. theses. This is a rapidly growing collection deposited by Cambridge Ph.D. graduates on a voluntary basis.
  • Networked Digital Library of Theses & Dissertations: International freely available theses and dissertations 
  • DART-Europe: Dissertations and theses from across Europe.
  • EthOS: Electronic copies of Ph.D. theses submitted at over 100 UK universities are obtainable from EThOS, a service set up to provide access to all theses from participating institutions.
  • Leiden African Studies Centre - Open Access: PhD dissertations rewritten for a broader audience, monographs, edited volumes, and high-quality master’s theses. Manuscripts offered for publication in this series are externally reviewed or they are assessed internally for quality.

  • OATD - Open Access Theses & Dissertations: OATD.org aims to be the best possible resource for finding open access graduate theses and dissertations published around the world. Metadata (information about the theses) comes from over 1100 colleges, universities, and research institutions. OATD currently indexes 4,189,303 theses and dissertations.
  • ProQuest Theses & Dissertations: The University subscribes to this database and titles are grouped by general subject packages (i.e. Social Sciences, History, Business).

For more in-depth information regarding these online services please see the: Theses & Dissertations LibGuide.

Find and Access eBooks

The ebooks@cambridge team have created a comprehensive LibGuide which includes the following information:

  • How to find ebooks

  • How to access ebooks

  • How to use ebooks

  • How to cite ebooks

  • Copyright & licensing

  • Free & Open Access ebook collections

Video: How to Access and Use eBooks

Please note: this SMS video is not accessible with keyboard-only access and some screen readers. Please use the YouTube version below if you experience any issues.

African eBook Platforms

African Books Collective eBooks(ABC) is an African-owned mission-based distribution outlet for books published independently in Africa. The publishers from across the continent who are part of the collective have over its 30 year history contributed some 3000 titles, which continue to be available in print. Over 2000 of these are available digitally on this platform and new titles will be added regularly.

Routledge's Knowledge Unlatched - African Studies Collection

  • University of Cambridge readers now have access to the beginnings of a new collection organised by Knowledge Unlatched via Routledge.
  • Over the course of 2021 and 2022, around 100 new Routledge eBooks focused on Africa and discussing a wide variety of subjects will become available.

Here's what we have access to now:

Routledge's New Collection on Borders and Migration

  • This collection, linked here, gives you access to 1,000+ eTitles about borders and migration in Africa (make sure you login using the institution login and your Raven account).

Routledge's New Collection on Ethnic Studies

  • Though this collection, linked here, could probably use a better name, it provides you access to 100+ eTtitles about interdisciplinary scholarship on race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with a focus on the experiences and perspectives of people of colour. (make sure you login using the institution login and your Raven account).

Lived Places Collections

  • LPC - Lived Places is a relatively new publisher, whose aim is to “explore the intersection of identity and place, humanizing an issue through lived experience”. The 2024 collection will be made up of 25 titles (all with unlimited, DRM-free access), classed across various subject themes:
    • Artists Studies
    • Asian Studies
    • Black Studies
    • Carceral Studies
    • Cultural Anthropology
    • Disability Studies
    • Education Studies
    • Fashion and Personal Style Studies
    • Forced Migration Studies
    • Gender Studies
    • Latinx Studies
    • Queer and LGBT+ Studies
    • The Emergent Entrepreneur Collection

Are you Struggling to Access eResources?

The eResources team have put together excellent guidance for using browser extensions and plugins to help you with your search

Browser extensions and plugins can help you by enabling seamless authenticated searching, or by sourcing you an Open Access version of book chapters or articles.

Visit their page to find out more about how these tools can help you, and how to install them:

  • Lean Library (Recommended)
  • CORE Discovery
  • Google Scholar Button
  • Kopernio
  • Open Access Button
  • Unpaywall

Collection of Digital Libraries

  • UN Digital Library (account required): 1 million + documents from the global peace agency.

  • Smithsoninan Library (Open Access): Library spanning the range of scientific and cultural pursuits of humanity from aerospace, anthropology, and art history to business history and botany, cultural history, design, philately, zoology, and much, much more.

Help Finding Books

For help using iDiscover please see the iDiscover LibGuide for advanced search methods and account management advice


Journals

Advice on how to find print journals at the African Studies Library (journals are reference only).


Help Finding eBooks or eResources

The eResources team have put together excellent guidance for using browser extensions and plugins to help you with your search

Browser extensions and plugins can help you by enabling seamless authenticated searching, or by sourcing you an Open Access version of book chapters or articles.

Visit their page to find out more about how these tools can help you, and how to install them:


Still Having Trouble?

Get in touch with us at afr@lib.cam.ac.uk with your question and we'll be happy to help.

Inter-Library Loans

Still struggling to get access to print or online resources?

If you still come away empty-handed, you may be able to get access by using the Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service

Please see their pages for more information regarding what is available via the ILL Department (UL).

Electronic Legal Deposit

Texts to which Cambridge libraries have access through electronic legal deposit (eLD), also known as non-print legal deposit (NPLD), can be identified in iDiscover by the appearance of the phrase

Online access restricted to designated PCs in the UL and most Faculty and Departmental libraries”.

For more information on how to access, cite, and use these texts (books and journals) please see the comprehensive Electronic Legal Deposit LibGuide

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