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Library Resource Guide for: AFRICANA STUDIES

Africana Literature, Arts & Film

Amid the mass of writing in European languages, literature from or specifically about Africa, as well as literature that reflects African sensibilities, can be difficult to find. Writing in indigenous African languages is often left out of the equation altogether.

This page pulls together some databases that provide good coverage of African literature, arts and film, as well as providing links to some exciting new ventures in Africa itself that are designed to promote new writing and film projects.

Subscription Databases:

African Writers Series  full text icon  
For over 40 years, Heinemann's African Writers Series has published the key texts of modern African literature. It has a unique importance in the history of postcolonial writing. Release Seven of this online edition includes over 230 volumes of fiction, poetry, drama and non-fictional prose, including works by Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Steve Biko, Buchi Emecheta, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Doris Lessing, Nelson Mandela, Dambudzo Marechera, Christopher Okigbo, Okot p'Bitek and Tayeb Salih.

ARTstor is a digital library of over one million images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences with a set of tools to view, present, and manage images. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED IN ORDER TO DOWNLOAD IMAGES. For help getting started see ARTstor HELP for Brown University users.

Black Drama  full text icon  
1850-present; when complete, Black Drama will contain the full text of 1,200 plays written from the mid-1800s to the present by more than 100 playwrights from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African diaspora countries. Many of the works are rare, hard-to-find, or out of print. Nearly a quarter of the collection will consist of previously unpublished plays by writers such as Langston Hughes, Ed Bullins, Willis Richardson, Femi Euba, Amiri Baraka, Randolph Edmonds, Zora Neale Hurston, and many others.

FIAF: International FilmArchive Database  
1972-present; the FIAF Databases Online is a group of databases from the International Federation of Film Archives, bringing together contributions from experts around the world dedicated to film preservation, cataloguing and documentation. The FIAF Databases include:
* International Index to Film Periodicals
* International Index to Television Periodicals
* List of Periodicals Indexed
* Treasures from the Film Archives
* Bibliography of FIAF Affiliates Publications
* International Directory of Film and TV Documentation Collections

Film Literature Index (FLI Online)
1976-2001; the Film Literature Index (FLI) annually indexes 150 film and television periodicals from 30 countries cover-to-cover and 200 other periodicals selectively for articles on film and television. The periodicals range from the scholarly to the popular. More than 2,000 subject headings provide detailed analysis of the articles. [This resource is publicly available.]

Humanities International Index  
1975-present; Humanities International Index is a comprehensive database covering journals, books and other important reference sources in the humanities. Humanities International Index provides cover-to-cover indexing and abstracting for over 1,700 journals and contains more than 1.5 million records. Humanities International Index includes deep backfiles for some of the most important journals in the area of humanities. The database includes all data from the American Humanities Index plus bibliographic records from a multitude of international journals, books and reference works. This database provides citations and abstracts for articles, essays and reviews, as well as original creative works including poems, fiction, photographs, paintings and illustrations.

Literature and Culture of Francophone Africa and the Diaspora/Litterature et Culture de l'Afrique Francophone et de la Diaspora
Current; a bilingual site that features selected internet resources on primarily Francophone African & Diasporic cultural expression.

Literature Resource Center (LRC)  full text icon  
Current; provides access to biographies, bibliographies and critical analysis of authors from every age and literary discipline. The LRC covers more than 90,000 novelists, poets, essayists, journalists and other writers, and indexes publications such as Contemporary Literary Criticism, Dictionary of Literary Biography, and Contemporary Authors.

MLA International Bibliography  
1926-present; the MLA International Bibliography is a bibliography of journal articles, books and dissertations. The electronic version of the bibliography contains over 1.5 million citations from more than 4,400 journals and series and 1,000 book publishers.

Internet Resources:

  • African Film Commission
    A non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the development of films about Africa and the film industry within Africa. Sponsors an annual storytelling contest.

  • African Film Library
    An M-Net initiative showcasing the African film industry and making African movies easily accessible. The African film industry is one of the oldest. M-Net has negotiated the rights to almost 600 works in English, French, Arabic and Portuguese and digitally remastered many of them. The library forms an important archive of Africa’s cultural cinematic heritage, and also, for the first time, makes the African artists’ works easily accessible by a wide viewership around the globe. The library includes award-winning works from more than 80 producers including Senegalese Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Mambety, Yousef Chahine from Egypt and Haile Gerima from Ethiopia.

  • Centre for the Book
    A project of the National Library of South Africa to promote "promote the writing, publishing, reading, marketing and distribution of South African books in all South African languages."

  • Chimurenga Library
    A collaborative project comprising a compendium of African and related literary magazines, including African Film (Nigeria), Chief Priest Say (Fela Kuti�s newspaper columns from Nigeria), Ecrans d�Afrique (Burkina Faso), Lamalif (Morocco), Mfumu�eto (Congo), Moto (Zimbabwe). Includes an inter-active feature for authors and general readers to add their comments about individual magazines. A project of the online South African literary journal Chimurenga founded in Cape Town by the Cameroon-born literary scenester and DJ Ntone Edjabe in 2002.

  • National English Literary Museum
    Literary society devoted to "the reading and appreciation of all forms of imaginative South African literature in English."

  • Sea Breeze
    A quarterly, peer-reviewed electronic journal of contemporary Liberian writing and art, devoted to providing a forum in which authors, artists and their fans can share their appreciation for work in Liberian English and indigenous languages.

  • Sierra Leone Writers Series
    A project of the Sierra Leone Library Board to promote writing in all genres by Sierra Leoneans, as well as works written in or about Sierra Leone.

  • The Kanye Cinema Experiment
    A brief history of a colonial project to use cinema for educational purposes in Botswana. Mounted by the Department of History at the University of Botswana.

  • The Kwani?
    Sponsored by the Kwani Trust, Kwani? is an on online forum for writers, poets and artists from Kenya. The Kwani Trust also publishes Kenyan works (English, Kiswahili and Gikuyu) in print and video format for broad distribution.

  • The New Gong Magazine
    Online publication of a cooperative of Nigerian writers, seeking to publish new Nigerian writing and images of any genre, in English.