Global Studies Guide

Examining primary sources lies at the heart of history research, but before you delve into the details, invest time developing an understanding of your topic in its broader context by consulting resources in the Understanding Context section of this guide, sources like World History in Context (a great starting point for global studies research).

Reading Shelf (browse the latest issue of your favorite international relations publications)
 Time (May 1990-)   Newsweek (1990-)  US News & World Rpt (1990-)
  History Today (1985-)*
*current and historical topics
  The Economist (1988-)   Foreign Policy (1990-)
 Foreign Affairs (1985-)  World Affairs (1985-)  Harvard Intl Review (1990-)

Need Scholarly Sources? Primary? Search journals and pamphlets in JSTOR.

Understanding Context
  • topic overviews
  • reference articles
  • contrasting viewpoints
  • e-books - introductions
All Sides - U.S. policy news from contrasting perspectives
Background Notes (USDoS)
BBC Country Profiles (includes info re: media outlets)
CIA World Factbook
EBSCO ebooks - beware of bias
MW Library Catalog - reference
Open CRS - reports by the CRS
Opposing Viewpoints
PowerSearch (Gale) - books

Specific Projects
Ericson - Dept of State
Ericson - 21st c. US and Asia
Smith - 20th c. Topics
Wilkes - Korean War

U.S. Foreign Policy
Foreign Relations of the U.S. (UW) - primary documents
Frontline Diplomacy - LOC archive shedding light on life of diplomats
National Archives - Online Public Access Advanced Search
National Security Archive (GWU) - primary  source documents
Public Papers of the President (UM) - through Clinton or
State Dept Archive new interface (1945-1976+) HTML or eBooks

Delving Deeper
  • primary sources
  • scholarly journal articles
  • reports and statistics
  • e-books - detail chapters
Ancient History Sourcebook
AP Source - mag & journal articles
Congress.gov - legislation, floor debate transcripts, and more
Digital Resources by Global Region - for European lists, select from menu on European Countries tab
EBSCO ebooks - beware of bias
Google Scholar
Historical Newspapers (incl. NYT from 1851-2007, UK's Guardian and Observer from 1791-2003, and four historic black newspapers)
Indian History Sourcebook
Islamic History Sourcebook
Jewish History Sourcebook
JSTOR - scholarly archive
National Security Archive (GWU) - Electronic Briefing Books incorporate declassified docs
NationMaster - statistics
PowerSearch (Gale) - articles
World Digital Library - high resolution images of primary docs from the world's libraries - browse by region/time or search
World History in Context

Current Global Region
Sub-Saharan Africa

Reference books in VRL

Digital Collections/Exhibits

Essays & Primary Sources
The Abolition of the Slave Trade(NYPL) - essays, texts, images, maps, timeline


Africa through a Lens (UK National Archives) - by location

African Activist Archive Project - records of activism in the U.S. (e.g. documents, posters, buttons, t-shirts, photos) to support the struggle of African peoples against colonialism, apartheid, etc. (one of many online exhibits related to Africa by Michigan State U)

African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World (NYPL) - essays, images, maps, and multimedia

Africa Focus: Sights & Sounds of a Continent - incl. 3000 slides, 500 photos, and 50+ hours of music from 45 African countries


African Journal Archive - open access journals about African research and cultural heritage published in Africa

African National Congress including extensive archives

Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu (LoC) - Dating from the 16th to 18th centuries, the manuscripts in this exhibition cover every aspect of human endeavor and are indicative of the high level of civilization attained by West Africans during the Middle Ages


Colonial Film Database - Films made in or about life in the former British colonies. Indexes over 6000 films and 150 viewable online. Search by country, theme, or time period.

David Livingstone's 1871 Field Diary - British abolitionist, explorer, and missionary - use left menu to open digitized version 

Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya - Harvard "ThoughtCast" (video, 6:59min) by Caroline Elkins - one historian's perspective on human rights abuses during the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya

South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid, Building Democracy (MSU/NEH) - Interviews with South African activists, historical documents, rare photographs, and original narratives tell this story. Also seeWomen in the Movement (SAHA)


Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal(U of Washington) - interviews, videos, documents

Creative Arts

African Life through Art: Cycles(Indianapolis Museum of Art) - Requires Flash, navigate via wheel near center of display

Art & Life in Africa (UI Mus. of Art)

ArtThrob - Contemporary Art in South Africa

Badilisha Poetry X-Change - audio archive of Pan-African poets organized by theme, country, language, and emotion

Caine Prize for African Writingsome winning stories online

Images of Commemorative Fabrics - digitized fabrics printed with images/text documenting events and people of historical, political, religious, economic, educational, and sociological significance to African societies.

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Wendy DeGroat,
Sep 26, 2013, 7:59 AM
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Wendy DeGroat,
May 17, 2010, 8:01 AM
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Wendy DeGroat,
Dec 4, 2013, 11:13 AM