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AFST 100: Gender and Sex in African History

Professor Thabiti Willis--fall 2021

What are primary sources and secondary sources

Primary sources: are usually items written or created during the time period under study by individuals with a first-hand experience. The original artifacts or phenomena that scholars analyze in order to produce insight.


  • film footage, manuscripts, newspaper articles, and official records (government documents)
  • novels (fiction), poetry, artwork, photograph, or music
  • diaries, memoirs and biographies 
  • artifacts 
  • political demonstrations, natural phenomena

Secondary sources: are the publications in which scholars present their analysis, insights, and claims. On occasion, things that were originally published as secondary sources can be analyzed by future scholars as primary artifacts about what scholarship was like at the time of the original publication. In this way, Some secondary scholarship can sometimes be considered a primary source, and how you categorize them depends on how you're using them in your work.

Primary source databases


Carleton Licensed Video Collections