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African Literature: Articles

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a search tool from Google, separate from its main search engine, with its own URL ( Its purpose (says Google) is “to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research.”

Google Scholar is an excellent resource BUT it does not always connect to Emory resources. A book or journal article may be in the library. Never purchase purchase an item without checking. Remember you can also borrow items from other libraries for free.

Check out a video on using Google Scholar.

Even more info: what's included, search tips, getting metrics, etc.

What's a Scholarly Journal?

1. Scholarly journals review submitted articles before they are published. Articles are written by scholars for scholars.

2. A scholarly journal article typically has information about authors, an abstract of the article, footnotes/bibliography and perhaps extensive statistics or charts.

3. Authors often provide at least a brief review of the literature on the subject.

Many databases allow you to restrict your searches to scholarly journals, sometimes called "refereed" journals.

Peabody Library of Vanderbilt University has produced a helpful video explaining how to identify a scholarly journal article.

Research in African Literature TOC

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Major Indexes: Literature Focus

Many of the literature databases cover not only articles but also full-text reference books, literary works, etc.  There is considerable overlap among them. All cover African authors with heavy emphasis on authors who write in English.

Literature Online (LION)  (Emory only)A fully searchable library of more than 350,000 works of English language poetry, drama and prose, plus biographies, bibliographies and key criticism and reference resources. Includes full text of over 300 literary journals. Because LION links to the MLA, ABELL and Heinemann African Writer's series, as well as many others, you can search all of them at the same time. Excellent place to start.

NOTE: Most, but not all,  resources are in English. Coverage of authors who do not write in English is mixed. e.g. You will find biographical and critical information (some from French journals) on Léopold Sédar Senghor and critical information on Ngugi Wa Thiongo in English.



Literature Online Reference Edition (Emory only)Covers over 400 African authors. For prominent figures provides biography, list of works, literary criticism, selected reference articles and related websites. Largely a sub-set of LION above.

Literature Criticism Online (Emory only) Provides access to editorially selected critical responses of authors, works, and topics from every age and literary discipline. Includes over 200,000 reprinted critical essays, arranged chronologically within each entry to provide a “history” of the critical reception of a work. Includes:Contemporary Literary Criticism; Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, Poetry Criticism; Drama Criticism and Short Story Criticism.

Literary Reference Center(Emory only) is a wide-ranging database that provides users with a broad spectrum of information on thousands of authors and their works across literary disciplines and timeframes.  Good for plot summaries and selected critical analysis.

MLA International Bibliography, 1926 to date. (Emory only) Major index for literature. Better foreign language coverage.

ABELL (Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature) (Emory only) (Coverage1920 – present)
Indexes monographs, journals, critical editions of literary works, book reviews, collections of essays, and doctoral dissertations published anywhere in the world including Africa in the areas of English language, English literature, bibliography, and traditional culture of the English-speaking world.


JSTOR (Emory only)
This is an important source for the full text of back runs of (no current issues) for major journals in various fields including African Studies and Language & Literature


Major Indexes: African Focus

AfricaBib.Org (now maintained by Univ. of Leiden)
Africabib is a combination of databases providing access to periodical and other material on Africa. Currently includes a growing number of databases  Africana Periodical Literature, a bibliography of over 36,000 citations from 300 periodicals, covering the entire range of topics relating to Africa and  African Women's Database which, in addition to including citations pertaining to women in Africa, includes conference papers, as well as references to theses and dissertations. A large and detailed bibliography entitled Women Travelers, Explorers and Missionaries to African 1763-2001 can be found on Africabib. Has incorporated Quarterly Index of African Periodical Literature from the Library of Congress from 1991-to its cessation in 2011. The Quarterly Index was particularly strong in indexing journals produced in Africa.

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