Congratulations Professor Spear and the Editors & Writers of the Oxford Encyclopedia of African Historiography

The African Studies Program is excited to announce that Emeritus Professor Thomas Spear’s (et. al.) Oxford Encyclopedia of African Historiography: Methods and Sources has been awarded the Waldo G. Leland Prize by the American Historical Association for the best reference work published over the past five years. 

 The volumes are a collection of over 80 critical studies of the unusual methods and sources historians use to research and write African history. As such, it is a component of the larger Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History, a comprehensive online collection of articles critically assessing major topics of African historyThis award is thus also a wonderful recognition by the profession of the larger project as a new critical resource for students and scholars of African History. 

The prize will be awarded at the AHA Annual Meeting in New Orleans at 6:00 pm on Thursday, January 6th. 

Congratulations Professor Spear! 

The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Historiography: Methods and Sources  

Thomas Spear, Peter Limb, Kathryn M. de Luna, Peter Mitchell, Olufemi Vaughan, Richard Waller (eds.) 


  • Introduction: Researching African History, Thomas Spear 
  • Early African Pasts: Sources, Interpretations, Meanings, David Schoenbrun 
  • Kingdoms of South-Central Africa: Sources, Historiography, and History, David Gordon 

Methods and Sources of African History 

  1. Archaeological Methods and Sources
  • Introduction: Archaeological Methods & Sources, Peter Mitchell 
  • Archaeobotany: Methods, Dorian Fuller & Louis Champion 
  • Archaeozoology: Methods, Veerle Linseele 
  • Ceramics, Foodways and Consumption: Methods, Lisa Gijanto 
  • Pottery chaînes opératoires as Historical Documents, Oliver P. Gosselain 
  • Scientific Dating Methods in African Archaeology, Vincent J. Hare & Emma Loftus 
  • Paleoenvironmental Science: Methods, David R. Wright 
  • African Iron Production and Iron Working Techniques: Methods, Louis Iles 
  • Precolonial Metallurgy and Mining across Africa, Shadreck Chirikure 
  • Ethnographic Analogy in Archaeology: Methodological Insights from Southern Africa, Mark McGranaghan 
  • Primary Historical Sources in Archaeology: Methods, Rachel King 
  • Rock Art Research Methods, Jeremy Hollmann 
  • Documenting Precolonial Trade in Africa, Shadreck Chirikure 
  • Interactions among Precolonial Foragers, Herders, and Farmers in Southern Africa, James Denbow 
  • Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Precolonial Sub-Saharan African Farming and Herding Communities, Paul Lane & Anna Shoemaker 
  • The Archaeology of Gender in Sub-Saharan Africa, Lyn Wadley 
  1. Biological and Environmental Sciences Methods and Sources
  • Introduction: Biological and Environmental Sciences Methods, Richard Waller 
  • African Historical Geography, Landscapes, and Environmental Change, Katherine Homewood 
  • Climatology: Methods, Sharon E. Nicolson 
  • Genetics and Southern African History, Christian Capelli & Francesco Montinaro 

III. Language Methods and Sources 

  • Introduction: Language Methods, Kathryn M. de Luna 
  • Historical Linguistics: Classification, Constanze Weise 
  • Historical Linguistics: Words and Things, Rhonda M. Gonzales 
  • Historical Linguistics: Loanwords and Borrowing, Birgit Riquier 
  • The Bantu Expansion, Koen Bostoen 
  1. Anthropological and Ethnographic Methods and Sources
  • Introduction: Anthropological and Ethnographic Methods and Sources, Thomas Spear 
  • Anthropology and the Study of Africa, Jessica Johnson 
  • Anthropological and Ethnographic Methods and Sources, Constance Smith 
  • Bodily Ways of Knowing: Anthropological and Historical Approaches to Affect and the Senses, Kathryn Linn Guerts 
  1. Documentary and Written Sources
  • Introduction: Documentary and Written Sources for African History, Olufemi Vaughan 
  • Reading the Archives as Sources, David Gordon 
  • Documentary Sources and Methods for Precolonial African History, Christina Mobley 
  • West African Manuscripts in Arabic and African Languages and Digital Preservation, Fallou Ngom 
  • Islamic Historical Sources: Manuscripts and Online, Amidu Olalekan Sanni 
  • Travellers’ Accounts as Sources, Adam Jones 
  • Business Records as Sources for African History, Dmitri van den Bersselaar 
  • Newspapers as Sources for African History, Emma Hunter 
  1. Digital and Numerical Sources
  • Introduction: Digital and Numerical Sources, Peter Limb 
  • Numerical Data and Statistical Sources, Leign Gardner 
  • Quantitative Methods and Economic Statistical Sources for African History, Morton Jerven 
  • Digital Approaches to the History of the Atlantic Slave Trade, Daryle Williams 
  • Digital Sources for the History of the Horn of Africa, Massimo Zaccaria 
  • The Internet and Social Media as Sources, Aubrey Bloomfield & Sean Jacobs 

VII. Oral Sources 

  • Introduction: Oral Sources, Thomas Spear 
  • Oral Traditions as Sources, Stephen Belcher 
  • Oral History and Life History as Sources, Mary Dillard 

VIII. Cultural Sources 

  • Introduction: Cultural Sources, Richard Waller 
  • Material Culture as a Historical Source, Robert Ross 
  • Heritage and the Use of the Past in East Africa, John Giblin 
  • Exploring Present Pasts: Popular Arts as Historical Sources, Bogumil Jewsiewicki & Allen  Roberts 
  • Photographs as Sources, Robert Gordon & Jonathan Kurzwelly 
  • Film and Video as Historical Sources, Mahir Saul 
  • Animating African History: Digital and Visual Trends, Paula Callus 

Histories and Historiographies of African History 

  1. Schools of African History
  • Introduction: Schools of African History, Olufemi Vaughan 
  • African Philosophies of History and Historiography, Toyin Falola & Abikal Borah 
  • The SOAS School of African History, Shobana Shankar 
  • Writing African History in France during the Colonial Era, Sophie Dulucq 
  • The Wisconsin School of African History, Joseph Miller 
  • The Dakar School of African History, Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch 
  • The Dar es Salaam School of African History, Gregory Maddox 
  • South African Historical Writing to the End of the Apartheid Era, Christopher Saunders 
  1. Histories and Historiographies
  • Introduction: African Histories and Historiographies, Thomas Spear 
  • Africa in the World: History and Historiography, Experanza Brizuela-Garcia 
  • Atlantic Slavery and the Slave Trade: History and Historiography, Daniel B. Domingues da Silva & Philip Misevich 
  • African Diasporas: History and Historiography, Mohammed Bashir Salau 
  • Environmental History, Emmanuel Krieke 
  • African Economic History and Historiography, Alois Mlambo 
  • Ethnicity in Africa, Gabrielle Lynch 
  • African Biography and Historiography, Heather Hughes 
  • Migration History and Historiography, Benedetta Rossi 
  • African Urban History and Historiography, Eric Ross 
  • Sport History and Historiography, Michelle Sikes 
  • Colonial History and Historiography, Marie-Albane de Suremain 
  • Legal History and Historiography, Richard Waller 
  • African Military History and Historiography, Timothy Parsons 
  • Intellectual History and Historiography, Jonathon Earle 
  • Christian History and Historiography, Joel Cabrita 
  • History and Historiography of Science, Helen Tilley 
  • Historiography in the Maghrib in the 19th and early 20th Century, Sahar Bazzaz 
  • Community-based Approaches to African History, Peter R. Schmidt & Kathryn Weedman Arthur 

 Produced by Carly Lucas