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Research Guides

AFR 303: Understanding American Slavery through Film


This guide provides some useful starting places and strategies for doing research and creating video essays for this course. We're happy to help!

  • Consult with Karen Storz, your research librarian, on any aspect of your research, from developing a research question to finding, evaluating, and citing sources. Email Karen or make a calendar Zoom appointment.
  • Consult with Allegra Dufresne, your instructional technologist, on any aspect of video production and editing. Email Allegra.

Get Started with SuperSearch

SuperSearch can be a great place to start your search for journal articles, books, films, newspaper & magazine articles, and almost everything else the library has, in one easy to use interface. You can use the filters on the results screen to refine your search and improve your results. For example, try limiting to Full Text Online, and then Book/eBook to see e-books. Or choose Peer-Reviewed Article to find scholarly journal articles, or Encyclopedia Articles & More to find background sources. Click More... to see all content types.


Because SuperSearch contains so much content from so many different kinds of sources, the results can sometimes be overwhelming and hard to focus. At the same time, SuperSearch is also not comprehensive and can miss key sources. To search with more focus, precision, and depth, be sure to try the databases recommended on this guide, as well as the library catalog for books and films. 

Find Background & Context

Find Scholarly Analysis

Although SuperSearch can be a great starting place, it can be challenging to find the most relevant material in a flood of results. More specialized databases, like the ones below, can provide a "less is more" experience, by helping to focus your search on articles and books in your area of interest, with an emphasis on scholarly sources. Some individual databases will also turn up results that SuperSearch misses. It always helps to search a few databases for the best coverage. Even when there's considerable overlap in content, the different search capabilities and features of each database can help you find different sources. 

Cinema & Media Studies Databases

History & Multidisciplinary Databases

Find Film Reviews & News

The film databases FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals and Film & Television Literature Index with Full Text also both have film reviews from film magazines in addition to scholarly criticism. Use the filtering options to choose the document type review or film review. 

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Find Books in the Catalog


Note: You can change Entire Library to Online to see only materials available online.

Catalog Search Tips

Start with a keyword search. Once you find a book that's relevant to your topic, click on the title and look for the Subjects listed for that book to help you find "more like this" and explore related aspects of a broader topic.

Example: Keyword search: hollywood AND "african americans"

Subject terms for the books that come up in this keyword search lead you to many more books on aspects of the topic, for example:

African Americans in Motion Pictures

African Americans in the motion picture industry

Race in Motion Pictures

Motion pictures -- Social aspects -- United States

Slavery in Motion Pictures


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Find Primary Sources

For historical newspapers, see under Find Film Reviews and News above.