Black History Month 2021

Black History Month is an annual event reflecting on the histories and cultures of black people throughout the world. It began in America but has been marked every October in the UK since 1987.

For Black History Month 2021, Aberystwyth University Library has published a new list of recommended reading and resources which offer the opportunity to explore some perhaps lesser-known facets of Black History:

  

Welsh Black History

Our Black History in Wales selections take us on journeys to explore Wales’ involvement in slavery and its pivotal role in abolishing it (Slave Wales by Chris Evans);  personal journeys of self-discovery and mixed-race identity (Sugar and Slate by Charlotte Williams) and onto the first Welsh-language volume to discuss the portrayal of multiculturalism in Wales in contemporary Welsh and English fiction (Y Gymru Ddu ar Ddalen Wen by Lisa Sheppard).

 

British Black History

In this section, we look at the experiences of women and students of colour in British Academia (Inside the ivory tower edited by Deborah Gabriel and Shirley Tate and Insider-Outsider: The Role of Race in Shaping the Experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic Students by Sofia Akel). We see how the cultural impact of the politics of race and antiracism is reflected in Black British and British Asian literature (Race and antiracism in Black British and British Asian literature by Dave Gunning), and follow both a historical narrative of Britain’s racialized minorities (Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain, Peter Fryer) and a very British crisis of identity (Afua Hirsch’s Brit(ish): on race, identity and belonging). 

 

Black History in Poetry 

Experience Black History in poetry through recent works by the Dylan Thomas Prize winning Kayombo Chingonyi (Kumukanda) and Raymond Antrobus’ debut collection The Perseverance. Delve into the astonishing online Proquest Literature One African American Poetry collection of nearly 3,000 poems by African American poets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.   

 

Fiction and Non-Fiction

Our fiction recommendations for you include recently published novels, the Welsh-language novel Safana by Jerry Hunter and Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, prize-winning novels (An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo), classic novels (Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Beloved by Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man) and popular YA fiction (Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give )

In our non-fiction selection you’ll find autobiographies and biographies of influential black people (Becoming, Michelle Obama) and a diverse range of challenging essays and political and social commentaries (I will not be erased, gal-dem; Slay in your lane: the Black girl bible, Yomi Adegoke; Natives, Akala; Don’t touch my hair, Emma Dabiri).

 

Online Resources

The list contains many wonderful online resources, but do not overlook the Proquest One Literature Black Writing and World Literature Collection which brings together the largest and most inclusive literature collection ever curated. These are the special projects we are highlighting this month:

African Writers Series​ 

This online collection includes over 250 volumes of fiction, poetry, drama and non-fictional prose by African authors.

Caribbean Literature​ 

More than a million-and-a-half Africans, along with many Indians and South Asians, were brought to the Caribbean between the 15th and 19th centuries. Today, their descendants are producing literature with strong and direct ties to traditional African expressions.

Black Women Writers​ 

Black Women Writers presents 100,000 pages of literature and essays on feminist issues – from 18th century narratives depicting slavery, to works by a wide range of authors during the late 1950s and 1960s, following the winds of independence that swept across Africa.

Black Short Fiction and Folklore​ 

Black Short Fiction and Folklore brings together 82,000 pages and more than 11,000 works of short fiction, comprising a variety of traditions ranging from early African oral traditions to hip-hop – including fables, parables, ballads, folk-tales, short stories and novellas.  

Black History Month display on Level F Hugh Owen Library

We have included a range of physical and online resources on the list, so whether you’re on campus or off, you’ll find something interesting to read. Browse our virtual display here or if you prefer to browse in person, we will have a display on Level F of the Hugh Owen Library throughout October.

And please let us know what you think of the selection! Tweet using the hashtag #BHMAber21 or @aberuni_is on Twitter. 

Is Aberystwyth’s Future Under Water? Stemming the tide of Climate Change.

Climate Change is a daunting subject to get to grips with and finding reliable information to help understand this most critical topic can feel overwhelming. Tackling Climate Change is the responsibility of everyone, and whether your background is in the arts, or in politics, or in the social, environmental or physical sciences, it is vital that each and every one of us does what we can to understand the impact of Climate Change on our world.

The ‘Is Aberystwyth’s Future Under Water? Stemming the tide of Climate Change reading list was created by Catherine Fletcher and Annabel Cook while on an AberForward placement for the Library Academic Engagement Team. This collection of resources was initially put together to support the outcomes of the upcoming AU Festival of Research (18 – 25 October 2021) but we thought it might also be useful to a wider audience. The list seeks to provide a range of information on Climate Change both locally and globally. It includes a link to an interactive map which allows you to explore sea level rise and coastal flood threats that might affect where you live. (Be warned: it’s properly terrifying!)

(Pictured above Climate Central Interactive Map showing the land projected to be below annual flood level in Aberystwyth and surrounding areas in 2040)

We know how much students and residents cherish Aberystwyth so hopefully by shining a light on the negative impact that Climate Change may have on the town, it will help us, as a community, to strive towards making more sustainable choices.

It is not just the Aberystwyth area that the resources on this list focus on. The selection of scientific articles that we have chosen outline the effects of the climatic changes which may have an impact across the globe. We also wanted to show that the research is interdisciplinary, highlighting the vital role all scientific departments throughout the university play in investigating Climate Change. The hope is that in fully understanding Climate Change, we can more efficiently predict and adapt to the challenges we are inevitably going to face.

(Pictured above photograph in Anthropocene poetics: deep time, sacrifice zones, and extinction by David Farrier – 2019)

It is important to remember that it is not only the scientific departments who can inspire change. The arts and social sciences have a role in providing a more creative angle to thinking about and understanding Climate Change. This reading list aims to show how those disciplines are already reacting to the threat that the climate crisis poses.

We all need to do our bit. So whether it’s studying art or studying zoology (or any subject in between) we need to bring our expertise, and our inspiration, to the great crisis of our time. Do let us know what you think of the list, it is a living document and if there are resources that you think should be there, let us know and we will add them.

Module co-ordinators: already know what you want on your new reading list?

This summer we will create and populate your new Aspire reading lists on request.

If you email the content to librarians@aber.ac.uk before July 19th your reading list will be created and published before the reading list deadline.

Please include

  • Module code and title
  • Which books are Essential – the Library will order an ebook or multiple print copies if an ebook is not available
  • Which books are Further reading – the Library will order one print copy
  • Any chapters or articles you need digitising
  • Any section names to group them under

Books will be purchased, digitisations processed and you will be contacted if there are any issues.
Find advice for preparing your Aspire reading lists for the new academic year: https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/en/2978

books on a shelf