African and African-American Studies

Collection Development Policy Guidelines

  1. General Scope

    1. Audience

      African and African American Studies (AAAS) is an interdisciplinary program offering both an undergraduate major, three specialized minors (African Diaspora Studies, African Studies, or African American Studies), and over thirty courses per year providing broad exploration of the historical, cultural, and social experience and influence of the African diaspora.  In addition to several core faculty members, associated faculty across the social sciences and humanities departments often cross-list their courses with AAAS. 

      In 2015, AAAS launched a new biennial foreign study program hosted at the University of Ghana, Legon. While not affiliated with the AAAS program, there are several other campus programs operating in Africa that benefit from the library’s Africana collection.  Dartmouth’s Environmental Studies department sponsors an annual multi-site foreign study program throughout South Africa, Lesotho and Namibia.  The Asian & Middle Eastern Studies program offers foreign study in Morocco, and the Physics Department offers a foreign study program in South Africa.  The Geisel School of Medicine’s Center for Health Equity has also established partnerships with Haiti, Rwanda, and Tanzania, creating opportunities for undergraduate research as well.

      While there has been a AAAS subject librarian for many years, there was no separate collections fund for AAAS until 2008; the AAAS serials fund was created in 2012.  Prior to that, individual selectors purchased relevant titles in their areas.  While that practice continues, the AAAS funds have allowed core materials purchases – particularly for the Baker-Berry collection - to be coordinated using a specific fund.

    2. Boundaries

      Given the interdisciplinary nature of the program, relevant materials fall throughout the collection, reflecting the curricular focus on history, anthropology, sociology, geography, political science, religion, art, music, film, and literature.  Several LC classes are particularly relevant:

      • DT (African history)
      • E 184-185 (African American history),
      • regional American and Caribbean histories in the F class.
      • Colonial histories of western Europe in the D’s.
      • Racial and ethnic studies in the HT1500’s. 
      • PL8000’s, and American, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese literature by African & African American authors in the PQ through PS classes.

      Of note in the Rauner Library are the papers of Errol Hill, Dartmouth professor of theatre and scholar in Black and Caribbean theatre.  The College Archives house documents reflecting early College relationships to and debates around slavery, as well as more recent history of the College’s anti-apartheid movement and subsequent divestment from South African interests.

    3. Partnerships

      Dartmouth currently has no collaborative collection program in place with any of our partners.  Consortial pricing through CRL, NERL, and WALDO has allowed us to purchase online collections such as the Readex/CRL African Newspapers archive.

  2. Specific Delimitations to collecting in this subject area

    1. Languages

      Our collections focus on English-language materials, with additional materials in French, Spanish, Portuguese and German as appropriate to specific regions’ histories.  Very few indigenous African language materials are purchased except multilingual works providing English or Western European language translation.

    2. Geographical Areas (if applicable)

      Although no area is specifically excluded, our collecting reflects the AAAS curricular emphasis on the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, and more recently the Caribbean & Brazil.

    3. Types of Materials Collected

      Scholarly monographs and journals are collected most intensively.  Also desirable are newspapers, magazines, maps, film, sound recordings, government and NGO documents, statistical compilations, as well as full-text and bibliographic reference resources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, bibliographies, and indexing services.

    4. Format of Materials Collected

      Print and remotely-hosted digital material are the predominant formats.  Where available, electronic journals are desired so long as that format does not limit full use of the content, and there is reliable perpetual access.  We select an increasing number of electronic books, but prefer print when the content is difficult to navigate as a digital file.  Preferred physical formats for audio-visual material include DVD and CD.  While not excluded entirely, we avoid microforms and VHS unless no other option is available.  At this time, we are unable to purchase digital media for local hosting.

    5. Collective Collections

      We are fortunate to have access to several key doctoral-level collections through our Borrow Direct service, and the wider OCLC network through DartDoc.  The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is particularly valuable for its collection of African newspapers (via CRL's CAMP project). 

  3. Revision History
    • revised August 2016, Amy Witzel
    • Last revised Dec. 1994 (Greg Finnegan/Ridie Ghezzi)
    • Current selector: Amy L. Witzel