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African Studies collection

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For major research databases in African studies and related resources, consult the African Studies - Research Guide.

For the Africana Librarians Council web page, see http://www.library.upenn.edu/collections/africa/ALC/

Collection description

The Penn Libraries have substantial Africa holdings, covering all subject areas, with concentrations in history, ethnography, and archaeology, Western-language African literature and media, political science and law, local non-Arabic African languages and literature, and economics. Print collections are shared among Van Pelt Library, the Penn Museum Library, and other departmental libraries.

Local African languages and their literature are an important component of the collection, with more than 5,400 titles held in 96 languages (June 2018). Well-represented languages include Swahili, Amharic, Yoruba, Afrikaans, Shona, Malagasy, and Tigrinya; recent acquisitions and gifts have strengthened Wolof, Fula, Setswana, and Hausa holdings. Complete sets of locally-published graded language textbooks in multiple editions are held for Swahili, Igbo, and Yoruba.

The Penn Libraries media collections for African studies are among the largest in the Ivy Plus group, with more than 1,000 Africa-related sound recordings and more than 2,100 videos and videostreams.

Links to special collections will go here if they exist.
Links to policies will go here if they exist.

Related collections

Doing research

For major reference works and research databases on Africa and related resources, consult the African Studies - Research Guide.


Africa Bibliography (1984-present)  |  African Studies Centre (Leiden) catalogue  |  Africana Periodical Literature (aka Bullwinkle)  |  more ...

Reference works

Major journals

Book databases & eBook platforms

Research guides

Other e-resources

Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966  |  Ethnographic Video Online  |  Images of the Black in Western Art (ArtSTOR)  |  Europe and Africa : Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest (19th Ce…