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

Getting Starting

Two key things to keep in mind while looking for primary sources in databases.

  1. Words change over time. Contemporaries may not have used phrases "black wall street" or "Haitian Massacre" or "Southern Cone." They would have said "slaves" instead of "enslaved."  As you find primary sources on your topic, pay special attention to the language contemporaries are using.
  2. Less is best. Do not search for a bunch of keywords all at once. This makes it likely you'll either confuse the system or accidentally use an anachronism.  Two or Three well-selected keywords, connected by AND, is ideal.

Some suggestions [Only starting points - you still have a lot of work ahead of you]

  • Race and racism in sorority life at William and Mary.
    • Look at the W&M special collections digital collections, specifically the oral histories and digitized yearbooks. Try searches like Race AND sorority. For broader context, look at historic newspapers with searches like (Race OR racism) AND (sororit*)
  • Commodification of enslaved bodies in spreading the smallpox vaccine in the colonial Southern Cone (encompassing Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil)
    • Look in Sabin and our historic newspapers for Smallpox AND Balmis-Salvany and see what language they're using.
  • Overlap between socioeconomic and racial inequality in higher education (specifically at Willi
    am & Mary).
    • Look at the W&M special collections digital collections, specifically the oral histories and digitized yearbooks. Try simple searches like inequality.  For broader context, look at Chronicle of Higher Education (backdated to historical publications), and historic newspapers with the search ("social inequality" OR "economic inequality") AND "racial inequality" AND "higher education"  Also look in the main catalog, limiting publication date to your time period of interest.
  • Haitian Massacre (1937) is represented in Dominican historical memory

    • Look at secondary sources like "The border of lights reader" to help identify sources. You can also search "Dominican-Haitian Conflict, 1937" in the main library catalog and in WorldCat to find first-hand accounts and remembrances of the events. You can also use the Dominican national library to identify materials to order via ILL.

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

    • The FBI declassified documents are an interesting start, as are the newspaper databases. You can also use secondary sources to identify key figures who worked with MLK, and then use our catalog & worldcat to order their memoirs.

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

    • Look at old articles in Chronicle of higher education, data from the National Center for Education Statistics,  old ERIC articles, and reports in the library catalog using Diversity AND "higher education" AND faculty AND "Student mentoring"

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

    • depending on your time period, look at Sabin, Historic newspapers, Chronicling America, and the main catalog (limited to your time period). Try a search like (Black OR negro OR colored) AND ("Grave robbing" OR "Grave robber*") AND (medical OR physician*)

  • Black Wall Street incident of 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma

    • Start with historic newspapers, limited to 1921 after May, and try just Tulsa AND riot*.  It won't, I think, be called the tulsa race riot or black wall street immediately, so contemporary sources won't use those terms. Look also at our African-American Historical newspaper collections.

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

    • Start with our PRIMO catalog and limit to news articles. You can also search Lexis Uni for transcripts of news tv shows. Start just with Kaepernick AND knee* AND (race OR black OR "African-American").