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HMU432: Topics in Twentieth-Century Music

This guide supports the research goals of HMU432: Topics in 20th-century music.

Social, Political, and Cultural Databases


The UTL has some fantastic databases for finding information on the political, social, and cultural contexts of the music you're studying. These contexts often play a role in shaping the kinds of musics that are produced during a particular historical time period. Here's a short list for you to check out, organized by topic:

Images: Left: Rachel Schragis (American, b. 1986). Flowchart of the Declaration of the Occupation of NYC, 2011. Offset print, 27 x 27 in. (68.6 x 68.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Claudia Orenstein, 2021 (2021.122). Right: Center for Book Arts, designed by Elizabeth Castaldo. Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere, 2020. Letterpress, 24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Center for Book Arts and Elizabeth Castaldo, 2021 (2021.143.4)

Indigenous Studies



  • Indigenous Peoples: North America 

    This database allows users to trace the history of Native Peoples in North America from colonial relations in the 1600s to twentieth-century issues such as civil rights. Includes manuscript collections, rare books and monographs, newspapers, periodicals, census records, legal documents, maps, drawings and sketches, oral histories, photos, and some video.

  • Indigenous Studies Portal 

    Full-text articles, ebooks, theses, and government publications, with a primary focus on Indigenous peoples of Canada and a secondary focus on North American materials and beyond.

  • National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

    As the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Centre, the NCTR works to fulfill the shared vision held by those affected by Indian residential schools: to create a place of learning and dialogue where                                                                                  the truths of their experiences are honoured and kept safe for future generations.

Black Studies




  • Black Studies Center 

    Website of both historical and current information for research on African Americans, the wider African Diaspora, and Africa itself.

  • Black Thought and Culture 

    Black Thought and Culture is a landmark electronic collection of approximately 100,000 pages of non-ficition writings by major American black leaders - teachers, artists, politicians, religious leaders, athletes, war veterans, entertainers, and other figures - covering 250 years of history.

  • Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895 

    In nearly seven hundred entries, the Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895 documents the full range of the African American experience during that period—from the arrival of the first slave ship to the death of Frederick Douglass—and shows how all aspects of American culture, history, and national identity have been profoundly influenced by the experience of African Americans.


  • Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present 

    This remarkable work traces the transition from the Reconstruction Era to the age of Jim Crow, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, and the ascendant influence of African Americans on the American cultural landscape. With coverage up to and including the 2008 election of Barack Obama, the Encyclopedia contains approximately 1,200 fully cross-referenced entries all signed by leading scholars and experts, offering the most reliable and extensive treatment to be found on African American history in this era.

Gender and Sexuality



The archive includes newsletters, newspapers, and periodicals by, for and about gays and lesbians; reports; policy statements; and other materials tracing LGBTQ activism throughout the second half of the twentieth century.




  • Women and Social Movements in Modern Empires Since 1820 

    Women and Social Movements in Modern Empires since 1820 explores prominent themes in world history since 1820: conquest, colonization, settlement, resistance, and post-coloniality, as told through women’s voices. With a clear focus on bringing the voices of the colonized to the forefront, this highly-curated archive and database includes documents related to the Habsburg Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the British, French, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Japanese, and United States Empires, and settler societies in the United States, New Zealand and Australia.

  • Women's Studies Archive

    The Women's Studies Archive analyzes history from the female perspective. Covering the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this archive presents materials on the roles, experiences, and achievements of women in society.





  • U.S. Declassified Documents Online 

    This archive includes a broad range of previously classified federal records from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries including policy papers, diplomatic correspondence, cabinet meeting minutes, briefing materials, and domestic surveillance and military reports.

  • Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War

    This database includes documents from four key 20th-century conflicts, with a spotlight on the Second World War. Documents are primarily British secret intelligence.

  • Empire Online 

    Electronic reproduction of material relating to the European colonial period. Empire online is an extensive, interactive digital resource enabling researchers to explore colonial history, politics, religion, culture and society. Material in the collection spans five centuries, charting the rise and fall of colonial empires from the explorations of Columbus and Captain Cook, the missionary movement and the exhibitions of the 19th century, to decolonisation in the second half of the 20th century and debates over American imperialism. A broad selection of letter books, periodicals, travel writings and more have been selected from leading archives around the world, including the British Library, providing valuable insight into the key events and themes of the European colonial period.


  • Struggles for Freedom: Southern Africa 

    The liberation of Southern Africa and the dismantling of the Apartheid regime was one of the major political developments of the 20th century, with far-reaching consequences for people throughout Africa and around the globe. This collection focuses on the complex and varied liberation struggles in the region, with an emphasis on Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. It brings together materials from various archives and libraries throughout the world documenting colonial rule, dispersion of exiles, international intervention, and the worldwide networks that supported successive generations of resistance within the region.