University Library DePaul Library

Introduction to African American Studies Research Guide

About African American Studies:

"African American studies are academic units that focus on the systematic investigation of people of African descent in their contacts with Europeans, their dispersal throughout the diaspora, and the subsequent institutionalization of racism and oppression as means of economic, political, and social subordination. From the outset, these studies had both an academic and a social mission."

(Aldridge, D. (2010). African american studies. In K. Lomotey (Ed.), Encyclopedia of African American education (pp. 24-29). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412971966.n9)


Terminology: African American vs Black

It is important to denote the difference in the use of terminology African American and Black. African American is used to specifically reference descendants of enslaved African people forced to the United States via the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Black is a term that more broadly covers people of African or other Black Diaspora descent, including those that were not descendants of peoples affected by the Transatlantic Slave Trade and from locations outside of the United States. When looking for older materials, please make note that the subject headings may use Negro(es) or Colored people(s).