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Colonial states and African societies: Reference Sources

Resources for the study of African colonial history including Belgian, British, and French colonial history.

Reference Sources

Africa South of the Sahara
London, Europa Publications.  1971- date.  Background on all countries.


African Digital Repositories
Find full text dissertations, theses, reports, journal articles from African universities.


American Historical Association's Guide to Historical Literature
Third ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. 
Vol. One, "Sub-Saharan Africa" by Margaret Jean Hay and Joseph C. Miller,  pp. 560-616.
Annotated citations (primarily to English language works); mainly works published between 1961 and 1992. Headings: Reference Works, Historiography, Western Africa,   Northeastern Africa, Eastern Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa. These are subdivided by time period. Topical headings cover - general studies, women, slavery, health & disease.
A separate chapter on the "Middle East and North Africa since 1500" by Carter V. Findley includes the Sudan. Vol. 2 has a smaller number of citations to Africa-related publications in the sections on International Relations, 1815-1920  (Imperialism-Africa) and International Relations Since 1920 (Africa Since 1945).

Index to archival finding aids derived from major archival libraries and sources in the United States and the United Kingdom. Many sources from World Catalog.

Archives Hub
database of over 300 archival repositories in the United Kingdom.

A biographical dictionary of the British Colonial Service , 1939-1966
Compiled and with an introduction by A.H.M. Kirk-Gteene.  London ; New York : H. Zell, 1991.  403 p.

Cambridge Histories Online
Has the full text of the Cambridge Histories of Africa and various Cambridge Histories of African and Literature  plus other Cambridge University Press books.

Dissertation abstracts international. A, The humanities and social sciences [1969 - 2012]

Dissertation abstracts [1952 - 1966]

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) daily reports / Readex  1941-1996
Transcripts of radio broadcasts. Select Africa.  You can remove all African countries except the one you want.


Henige, David P.
A union list of Africana archival materials in microform
Edition: 2nd ed. [Madison, Wisc. : University of Wisconsin?], 1984. 45 p.
Lists holdings up to the 1980s.

Historical currency comparison 
Compute the Relative Value of a UK Pound Amount, 1270 to Present,  and other sources (France, etc.).

Hommes et destins : dictionnaire biographique d'outre-mer. [1975 - ]
Paris : Academie des sciences d'outre-mer, 1975-
11 volumes
Green Library


Hoover Library &  Archives - Africa Collections at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives


Joucla, Edmond Antoine, 1873-
Bibliographie de l'Afrique occidentale française, par E. Joucla, avec la collaboration des services du gouvernement general de l'Afrique occidentale francaise et pour le Dahomey de m. Maupoil, administrateur des colonies.
Paris, Societe d'editions geographiques, maritimes et coloniales, 1937.   704 p. 25 cm.
Series: (Bibliographie generale des colonies françaises, par G. Grandidier ... E. Joucla)
Subject (LC): Africa, French-speaking West--Bibliography.
GREEN Library Lane Room, Second Floor, Bing Wing
HOOVER Library and SAL 1& 2

New encyclopedia of Africa/ John Middleton, editor in chief ; Joseph C. Miller, editor.
Detroit : Gale Cengage Learning, c2008. 5 v. : ill., maps.
Has an Ethnic Groups Appendix and contents listed by themes such as environment, modernity, social structures, economics/development, government, health/education, arts, writers.


Oxford Bibliographies: African studies
From Oxford University Press. Annotated bibliographies by academics, with introductory essays. Covers all countries, African writers, anthropology, archeology, arts, Belgian, British, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese Colonial Rule, China in Africa, cinema, conservation, crime, disease, early states, environment, feminism, health, Indian Ocean, islam, language, law, literature, media, music, police, political science, popular culture, religion, slave trade, sport, tourism, trade, urbanism, wars, women, youth and more.


Oxford Handbooks Online - many topics


Oxford Handbook of Modern African History
Signed articles by scholars. Topics include -

  • Africa in the Atlantic World, C.1760 – C. 1840 
  • African Literary Histories and History in African Literatures
  • Chieftaincy
  • Communications and Media in African History
  • Demography and Disease 
  • Ethnicity and Identity
  • Health and Healing 
  • Law, Crime, and Punishment in Colonial Africa  By Richard Roberts
  • New Religious Movements
  • Work and Migration  By Emily Lynn Osborn


Oxford Research Encyclopedia -  African History
Very extensive sources for African history. Includes Historiography and MethodsPrint copies of Historiography and Methods are in Green Library. Also has Digital Sources in Europe for African History by Dr Marion Wallace, Lead Curator, African Collections at the British Library. Has "Tips for Research and Searching" and "Digital Collections Dealing with Liberation Struggles in Southern Africa." Part of the Oxford Research Encyclopedias site.  


Palgrave Handbook of African Colonial and Postcolonial history
By Martin S. Shanguhyia, Toyin Falola, editors. New York, NY : Palgrave Macmillan, [2018]
.2 volumes Lane  Reading Room:Reference
DT20 .P35 2018 V.1      DT20 .P35 2018 V.2
online for Stanford readers

ProQuest dissertations & theses global
 Ann Arbor, Michigan : ProQuest LLC
From 1743 to the present day. Full text Ph.D. dissertations and Masters theses from 1997 from universities worldwide.

Subject catalogue of the Library of the Royal Empire Society, formerly Royal Colonial Institute / by Evans Lewin...
[London : The Society], 1930. 582 p.
Green Library SAL3  Z7164 .C7 R82  V.1 cover Africa.
Hoover Tower Reading Room (under dictionary stand)


Thurston, Anne.
Sources for colonial studies in the Public Record Office.

London : HMSO, c1995-
Series: (British documents on the end of empire. [Series C] ; v. 1-2)
Vol. 1: "A revised and expanded version of Public Record Office handbook no. 3: Records of the Colonial and Dominions Offices by R.B. Pugh." Incomplete contents: v. 1. Records of the Colonial Office, Dominions Office, Commonwealth Relations Office and Commonwealth Office --

Vol. 2. Records of the Cabinet, Foreign Office, Treasury and other records.
Subject (LC): Great Britain. Public Record Office--History--Sources.
Subject (LC): Great Britain--Colonies--Administration--History--Sources.
Green Library Jonsson Social Sciences Reading Room
CD1043.3 .T54 1995 V.1
CD1043.3 .T54 1995 V.2


Westfall, Gloria D.
French colonial Africa : a guide to official sources
New York : Hans Zell Publishers, 1992.  226 p.
GREEN LIBRARY Jonsson Social Sciences Reading Room
Bibliography of government and other publications on French colonial Africa.