Names of Countries / States
The names of certain African countries/states have changed over time while others have names that are the same or similar to other countries/states in Africa. Still others have names that are the same as ancient or medieval African states that were in another part of the continent and have an entirely different history and ethnic makeup. These different names can cause confusion, and may require you to search under multiple names to find the history and current affairs of a single country/state. To see the past names of any modern African country/state look at the following resource. There you can look up the country/state you're interested in and find out about its name changes (if it's had any) by clicking on the "History" tab on the left-hand side of the page.
Here are a few country/state names that frequently cause confusion:
Hyphen or no hyphen?
When researching African-American Studies, it's important to remember that your search results will vary depending on how and when you use the term "African-American". Because it is a hyphenated name, your search results using that name may vary greatly depending on whether you add or delete the hyphen.
It's also important to remember that the name "African-American" has only been widely used in the United States since the early 1990's. In the late 1960's, 70's and 80's, "black" was more frequently used, and in the 40's, 50's and early 60's "Negro" was used. If you're searching for books or articles written about African-Americans that were published prior to 1990 (and there are many, by excellent authors such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, etc.) the names "Black" and "Negro" may be used frequently, if not exclusively. That being said, it is also important to point out that books and articles written about Africans and African-Americans (though seldom by Africans and African-Americans) that were published before 1960 are somewhat more likely to contain historical inaccuracies and cultural biases. Therefore, be cautious in using such resources unless you know or can find out about the scholarly reputation of the author.