Online access to the 50-volume Ethnographic Survey of Africa is now available to Penn readers.
Conceived by the International African Institute as a collection of separate, self-contained works, each volume described one particular African population group or a regional cluster of groups. The works were published between 1950 and 1977 and were written by ethnographers who had field experience with the groups they described.
Each English-language ethnographic reference work is a concise (typically 130 pages) account of then-contemporary knowledge of the tribal groupings and their demography, distribution and physical environment, their social conditions, political and economic structure, and their religious beliefs, technology and domestic architecture, and art. All areas of Africa south of the Sahara are covered.
Routledge has released the collection as 50 standalone individual volumes with downloadable PDF-format chapters and as one 6,326-page PDF-format file. Selected individual volumes have appeared online from other vendors – eHRAF World Cultures, for example. The Routledge ebook version complements the complete print run in the Penn Libraries collections.