ENG/AFS 2390 - Introduction to African American Literature

Subject Specialist Librarian

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Veronica Bielat
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165 TC/Purdy Library


Putting an Author or Work in Context

Learning more about the time period, social life, culture, surrounding an author or work can help understand the context in which it was created. These resources provide access to resources like timelines, primary source documents, images and more that may increase your understanding of a work.


Scholarly Articles in the Arts & Humanities

In the sciences, scholarly articles usually are reporting on scientific experiments or research that includes some type of data analysis, and they follow a specific format. Articles written by arts and humanities scholars may appear more like essays, and will not have a standard format.

A scholarly article in the Arts or Humanities will include the author's name and their professional affiliation at the beginning of the article and a significant number of footnotes or references. These may include primary and secondary sources.  

Here is an example of a scholarly journal article that provides critical analysis of an author: 

To Be(come) Young, Gay, and Black: Lorraine Hansberry's Existentialist Routes to Anticolonialism

Reading Other Scholar's Writings About Literature

You can find scholarly articles that discuss themes, authors and their works in library databases. These articles are written by scholars and researchers and are published in a variety of scholarly, peer-reviewed journals that have names like Modernist Cultures or African American Review. We use library databases to search for them using key terms and concepts.

Key Words and Concepts

An easy way to start your search is with the author's name and work. To find more articles on more specific topics, consider searching the author's name or work along with one of the following thematic terms, or one you develop from your reading of the author's original work.

assertiveness ideology spirituality
beauty musicality violence
blues protest virtue
education rebellion working class
humanness reparations  
identity slavery  

Library Databases

Following are three library databases that are recommended for locating literary research articles.

Other Resources, Including Primary Sources