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Research Essay Assignment
Note: Please review assigment guidelines posted on Canvas.
You are required to write an 8 page essay on an area of African American history or culture based on the materials covered in our texts for the course or on other subjects related to the Black experience in the Americas. Your essay must reference a minimum of eight sources. Choose one topic from one of the following categories:
a) Critical Biography; b) Critical Book Review; c) Research Paper on a particular theme.
Topics for the Research Paper - Mininmun 8 Sources
- The Role of Slavery in the Making of the United States or the Americas
- Naming and the Identity of African Americans
- Blacks and Education in the United States
- The Black Experience in the Americas: Beyond the United States
- African American Studies and the Academic Curriculum
Choose one of the following persons for this assignment.
- David Walker
- Arthur Ashe
- Shirley Chisholm
- James Baldwin
- W. E. B. Du Bois
- Fannie Lou Hamer
- Audre Lorde
- Maria W. Stewart
- Ida B. Wells
- Malcolm X
- Angela Davis
- C(yril).L.R. James
- Zora Neale Hurston
An example of a critical biography is Making Malcolm : the myth and meaning of Malcolm X.
Critical Book Review
- Cornel West - Race Matters (1993)
- Bell Hooks - Black Looks (1992)
- Robin Kelley - Race Rebels (1994)
- Toni Morrison - Sula
- Marsha Houston & Olga Davis - Centering Ourselves (2002)
- Michele Norris - The Grace of Silence (2010)
- Shelby Steele - Content of our Character (1990)
- Franz Fanon - Wretched of the Earth (1963)
- C.L.R. James - Black Jacobins (1963)
To find some models of critical book reviews, search JSTOR.
Critical Book Review Search Tips
General tips for searching book reviews
- When searching for a book review, you need to know the author, title and date of publication. The latter is is generally found on the back of the title page.
- Always choose a database's advanced search for more searching options
- Put book titles within quotation marks to obtain title words in a particular order.
- For common titles that bring up too many records, add the author's last name in the 2nd search box to pair the title with the author.
- Book reviews generally appear within two years of the book's publication.
- Not every database will have a review for your book. If you have used the following vendor/database techniques and did not find a review, check another database.
- Not all books have been reviewed.
Tipasa: Interlibrary Loan
If your article is not available at Collins Library, you've got another option to getting it. Use Tipasa, our interlibrary loan service.
You'll need to set up an account the first time you use it and log in subsequently.
Once you have an account, either go directly to Tipasa and manually enter the information, or, if you're using a database, look for a shortcut link to automatically fill out the form, like this:
Allow at least a week for the article to come. If your article is delivered in electronic format, you'll receive an email with a link to follow as soon as it's arrived. If it's delivered in paper, you'll receive it right in your campus mailbox.
Search for Articles in these Databases
Academic Search Premier
An interdisciplinary database that includes newspapers, magazines, and journals.
Research Library (ProQuest)
An interdisciplinary database that includes newspapers, journals, and magazines.
Humanities International Complete
Covers periodicals in archaeology, art, classics, philosophy, religion, world history, and world literature. 1984 to date. Limit document type to book review.
America: History & Life
Use this database to find scholarly articles published in journals about US history.
An archive of journals on a variety of topics. It does not include articles within the last 3 to 5 years.
Literature Resource Center
See W.E.B Du Bois, Zora Neal Hurston, Ida B. Wells, C.L.R. James
Includes newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press.
ERIC (Education Resource Information Center)
A good starting point for topics related to education.
Includes the full text of 10 core journals in African Studies and selected books.
Primo is a good starting point for finding books and some articles on your topic.
These books provide background information. They are shelved on the main floor.