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HIST 491C / LAS 450/ AMS 490 / Africana 406: Race and Racism in the Americas (Fall 2022)

Finding Subject Headings

Subject Headings are special search phrases used by librarians to identify a major topic. They are sometimes difficult to guess, but through keyword searching you can find the appropriate subject heading.

WorldCat

W&M Libraries has an Outstanding collection on Atlantic History, but there are always going to be books we don't own. Use WorldCat & Interlibrary Loan to order books we don't currently have in the collection:

Finding Books at Swem

The W&M Library looks small from outside, but the collection of books is massive (part of the library is underground, and we use high-density shelving).

Begin With Keywords

Start with your topic. Examples:

  • Race and racism in sorority life at William and Mary.
  • Commodification of enslaved bodies in spreading the smallpox vaccine in the colonial Southern Cone (encompassing Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil)
  • Overlap between socioeconomic and racial inequality in higher education (specifically at Willi
    am & Mary).
  • Haitian Massacre (1937) is represented in Dominican historical memory

  • FBI surveillance of MLK and how it effected his strategy for the civil rights movement and his career

  • Race and racism in sorority life at William and Mary.

  • Importance of diversity in education, specifically in faculty & the impact on student mentoring

  • utilization of black bodies specifically in the context of grave robbing by medical institutions in need of cadavers.

  • Black Wall Street incident of 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • the role of race in news coverage of Colin Kaepernick kneeling

Identify the key Nouns:

  • Race and racism in sorority life at William and Mary.
  • Commodification of enslaved bodies in spreading the smallpox vaccine in the colonial Southern Cone (encompassing Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil)
  • Overlap between socioeconomic and racial inequality in higher education (specifically at Willi
    am & Mary).
  • Haitian Massacre (1937) is represented in Dominican historical memory

  • FBI surveillance of MLK and how it effected his strategy for the civil rights movement and his career

  • Importance of diversity in education, specifically in faculty & the impact on student mentoring

  • utilization of black bodies specifically in the context of grave robbing by medical institutions in need of cadavers.

  • Black Wall Street incident of 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • the role of race in news coverage of Colin Kaepernick kneeling

Databases are very bad with verbs, adjectives, and ideas: "effected" "impact" "influence" are not great search terms, nor are relationships. It has to be implied. Example "role of racism in shaping higher education" would need to be searched as Racism AND Higher Education, with the relationship implied.

Try simple searches first. Don't overwhelm the catalog.

  • (Race OR racism) AND sororit*
    • You can try adding AND "William and Mary" but may need to more broad and add "Higher education" instead
  • (enslaved OR slaves) AND smallpox AND Southern Cone
    • Pay attention to keywords used in results - you'll find they use the term Balmis-Salvany Smallpox Expedition
  •  ("socioeconomic inequality" OR "racial inequality") AND "higher education"
    • You can narrow search by replacing "higher education" with "william and mary"
  • "Haitian Massacre" AND Dominican AND memory

    • You may find the Dominicans use a different term for this event.

  • FBI AND surveillance AND "Martin Luther King"

    • "impact" is not a great term in databases. Add AND "Civil Rights Movement" if results are too broad

  • Diversity AND education AND "student mentoring"

    • You can add AND faculty if it's too broad.

  • Black OR "black bodies" AND ("grave robbing" OR "grave robbers") AND medical

    • You probably don't need to add AND cadavers

  • "Black Wall Street" AND Tulsa

    • To narrow the search, add AND Topic

  • ("news coverage" OR "media coverage") AND Kaepernick AND (race OR racism) 

    • You probably don't need to add kneeling

DON'T GET TOO EXCITED! These searches will only get you started, and you've a lot of digging ahead still.

When looking at the first batch of results, consider:

  • what keywords are authors using to discuss the topic?
    • Example: what are other scholars calling the 1937 Haitian Massacre?
  • what are themes that keep coming up?
  • what terms work, and what terms don't?

You will need to play around with the search terms to find Exactly what you want.