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ENG 3340 Haunting and Horror in Black Literature: Keywords- A Few Suggestions

Dr. Drea Brown Spring, 2023


The search terms you choose can be the difference between successful or unsuccessful searches.  The computer doesn't "know" what you are looking for.  It only knows to look for the strings of characters you provide so, getting the right words/phrases is important.  

Be sure and see the "search strategies" tab above to get some pointers on how to input the words for best results.  

Here are a few suggested keywords related to your specific course-


"Black gothic"

(use the quotation marks to force the computer to see this as a phrase, the words have to be next to each other to be helpful)



monstrosity  [ try monst* as the term to pick up all forms of the word]

racism  [ also explore using OR to get at concepts-  Race or Racism or Racial]


"speculative fiction" 

Any of these terms could also be used with the OR between them so, horror or haunting or otherness


Keywords From Recent Course Readings

Ring ShoutP. P. Djèlí Clark: monsters, Ku Klux Klan, ring shout, Birth of a Nation, ancestry, racial violence, cultural memory and traditions, spirituality 


The Gilda Stories, Jewelle Gomez: vampires, queer, kinship, chosen family, Black feminism, afrofuturism, Slavery, mythology, monstrosity, humanity, Futurity 


Stigmata, Phyllis Alesia Perry: ancestry, ancestral ghosts, madness, generational haunting, generational trauma, Middle Passage, matrilineal relationships 

A note about subject headings

When searching a database or the library catalog, use the following recommended keywords or subject words for African-American studies material:

"African-American" OR  "Afro-American" OR "Black" 

Different indexing words were used during different time periods, so the best search term depends on the publication date of the material.

To locate items from a variety of dates, string all of the various search term together like this:

(African-American OR Afro-American OR Black)


Keywords are a great way to get started in the catalog and find what you want by looking at subjects or other keywords that come up.