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Contemporary African Politics

This guide is intended primarily for BU students taking courses related to African politics or researchers interested in the subject in general.

To start with

Researching Africa can be a real challenge….

  • Resources are often rare or difficult to locate.
  • Resources may exist , but in other languages, such as French, Portuguese, Swahili, Arabic…
  • Information may be biased depending on who the author /publisher is.

Here are some helpful hints as you begin your research….

  • Research something you are genuinely interested in!
  • It helps to start broadly. Consult general reference books on Africa to learn about the country and/or the ethnic group you research. (Each African country has a unique history which continues to impact it today. Understanding the larger context will help as you narrow your research topic.)
  • As you narrow your topic, identify keywords that will help you in your research, such as names, events, African terms, etc.
  • When using BU Library Search, keep in mind there are often variations on keywords (For example, the Fula, Fulani, Fulbe, Peul, and Pullo are all terms used to refer to the same ethnic group in West Africa. The people call themselves Fula. Their Hausa neighbors call them Fulani. The Fula people were colonized by both the French and the English, leading to variations on their name such as Peul. And just to make things even more interesting, there are subgroups of this people, such as the Bororo and Wodaabe.
  • When you find a good resource, be sure to note the author (did they write other works on this topic?) and take a look at the works cite and/or bibliography to see who they relied on for their research.

Encyclopedias, Dictionaries & Handbooks

Country-Specific Information Resources