Critical Race Theory Resource Guide

Critical Race Theory has its roots in the more established fields of anthropology, sociology, history, philosophy, and politics.  The notions of social construction and reality of race and discrimination are ever-present in the writings of known contemporary critical race theorists, such as Derrick Bell, Mari Matsuda, Richard Delgado, Kimberlie Crenshaw,  and William Tate, as well as pioneers in the field, including W.E.B. DuBois and Max Weber.

This guide was designed to assist upper-level undergraduate level students using the resources usually found in a research university library.  The guide assumes a basic knowledge or familiarity of searching electronic databases and indexes, as well as an awareness of the Library of Congress of Subject Headings (used for subject searching in your university's catalog).

This field has its roots firmly planted in American soils, mainly due to the racial makeup of our country.  Therefore, most of the resources will contain only American-related entries, or may have some other American bias.  The resources below may help to introduce the issues and concerns raised by the field for those unfamiliar to this fairly nascent area of study.  And because the field is so young, particular attention was paid to more recent works, rather than general (and outdated) social science encylopedias, such as The International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. The International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences.  The mini-bibliography of books may be especially helpful to those simply interested in knowing   A mini bibliography of books is included at the bottom of the site for those new to the field or those wish to learn more about the field in general.  Although all of the electronic databases listed below have a printed equivalent, they are listed under "Electronic Databases" due to their electronic edge--searching indexing capabilities, which they possess over their printed counterparts.

Bibliographies & Indexes
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
Electronic Databases & Internet Resources
Suggested Library of Congress Subject Headings & Books

Bibliographies & Indexes

Bridging the Gap: Examining Polarity in America
edited by Nancy L. Herron and Dian Zabel
Englewood, Colo: Libraries Unlimited, 1995, pp. 380

This book is the one-stop shopping source for resources on American critical social issues.  It consists of 12 bibliographic essays on topics such as, "Polarity", "Law and Criminal Justice", and "Poverty, Welfare, and Unemployment". Each chapter contains sources of additional information that may include: indexes, databases, useful Library of Congress Subject Headings, government publications or agencies, legal resources, lists of advocacy groups and organizations, electronic bulletin board services, nonprint materials, periodicals, annual reports, bibliographies and guides, directories, statistical resources, and dictionaries and encyclopedias.  These strategies for locating additional information will prove very helpful to those wishing to ground research in statistical evidence or by authoritative governmental or non-profit organizations.  An index is located at the back of the book for those wishing to locate resources on a particular topic.

Contemporary Social Issues: A Bibliographic Series
Santa Cruz, CA: Reference and Research Services, 1986-
This series provides the "critical edge" found in Critical Race studies.  This edge is a combination of legal, feminist, multicultural, social, political, economic, and philosophical perspectives. The source includes the more provocative and liberal materials of smaller publishers, alternative presses, and activist organizations.  Bibiliographies in this series are particularly helpful if your topic is specifically named as a part of the series. Titles include, Affirmative Action: A Bibliography , African Americans, Social and Economic Conditions: A Bibliography , Latinos in the United States: Social, Economic and Political Aspects: A Bibliography, Asian Americans : Social, Economic and Political Aspects: A Bibliography, The Multicultural Education Debate in the University: A Bibliography, and Native Americans: Social, Economic and Political Aspects: A Bibliography. The bibliographies contain books, pamphlets, government documents, dissertations, and periodical articles. The entries are conveniently arranged by main subject areas and then divided by formats. Bibliographic sources consulted for the bibliographic series include: Books in Print, Uncover,  Magazine Index,  Hispanic American Periodicals IndexChicano Database, The Left Index, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Alternative Press Index.

The Social Theory: A Bibliographic Series

Santa Cruz, CA: Reference and Research Services, 1986-

From the same publishers as Contemporary Social Issues, this series is essential to any research on a particular critical race theorist or theory.  The format is the same as above, but the contents are more scholarly--books, journal articles conference papers, and dissertations.  Each bibliography contains a comprehensive list of the theorist's works and subsequent studies of these works, containing over 600 entries.  Critical race theorists and theories include: Feminist Theory: Women of Color and Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze.

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

A Critical Dictionary on Sociology
edited by Raymond Boudon and Francois Bourricaud
translated by Peter Hamilton
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1989, pp. 438

This resource, originally published by Les Presses Universitaires de France in 1982, has since been translated and modified for American use.  Originally written by two eminent French sociologists, the authors took a critical, yet rational approach to sociological concepts and theories.  This less conventional dictionary is an excellent quick-reference tool to any student new to the critical (neo-Marxist) approach to social theory.  The "Thematic General Index" at the back cross-references terms and names, which includes the terms: "alienation", "class", "minorities", "Americanization of minorities", and "stature". Some critical race theory entries include: "Minorities", "Social Mobility", "Social Stratification", and "Social Change". The entries are lengthy, but accessible to the undergraduate student.  Each entry concludes with a list of cross-references and a brief bibliography.

Dictionary of American Biography
New York : Scribner's, c1964

This reference work, produced by the American Council of Learned Societies, is an excellent source if your research interest is a figure relating to critical race theory.  Consult the Comprehensive Index and search the section, "Subjects of Biographies", for your particular theorist-W.E.B Du Bois, Karl Marx, Max Weber...  Entries include the formation years, educational backgrounds, primary works, greatest influences and accomplishments, and quotations.  Each entry concludes with a brief bibliography of additional writings by the theorist, more thorough bibliographies about the theorist, and where their obituary and orginal papers can be found.

The Social Science Encyclopedia
edited by Adam Kuper and Jessica Kuper
Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985-,

The Social Science Encyclopedia, now in its 2nd edition, is a fact-finding resource that should be kept by your side for easy and quick look up of social science terms, movements, theory, and theorists.  Entries are kept to a maximum of three pages, but the breadth of topics is exhaustive, from the Frankfurt School to Sigmund Freud, from Max Weber to welfare economics.  The guide is up-to-date and is easily accessible (not too scientific).  It includes contributions from PhDs not only from the United States, but from South Africa, Japan, Israel, Canada, and other countries.  References and suggested readings are included at the conclusion of each entry. Check out the "Demography" and "Sociology" subject headings for entries that may interest you.

Electronic Databases

CROW: Course Resources on the Web

CROW is an internet resource on Social Psychology.  The site is an annotated bibliography with links to topics such as, "prejudice", "group influence", "conformity", "genes and culture", and "social beliefs/customs".  The site is sponsored by the Associated Colleges of Illinois and its creator is John Mueller, is a professor of psychology at North Central College, located in Naperville, Illinois.  The "prejudice" bibliography, for example, contains hyperlinks to a position paper, a dicussion guide, a variety of governmental reports, a chapter to a book, The Balch Institute of Ethnic Studies, as well as media-related links.  The site is continuously updated and is most useful for those wishing to get a better "grasp" of the multitude of disciplines that make up Critical Race Theory, rather than a research source.

Digital Dissertations

This database contains more than 1.6 million entries and is the most comprehensive and authoritative database for searching for information about doctoral dissertations and master's theses. The database represents the work of authors from over 1,000 graduate schools and universities. University Microfilms (UMI), adds approximately 47,000 new dissertations and 12,000 new theses to the database annually. A sample search of "critical race theory" in the abstract field resulted in 23 hits. Although the indexing is not consistent, try searching by subject for "Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies" (0631) if you do not have a particular research topic in mind. The "24 Page Preview" option, available on more current materials, will allow you to be certain of the material's relevancy to your research before ordering it.

The database includes records for materials ranging from the first U.S. dissertation, accepted in 1861, to those accepted as recently as last semester. Citations for dissertations published since 1980 and master's theses since 1988 also have abstracts written by the author. The full text can be made available through your library's interlibrary loan department or may be purchased from the Proquest. If your university does not subscribe to Digital Dissertations via Proquest, users can still access the database's website and have free access to the most current two years of citations and abstracts (not full text).

PAIS International

Although a keyword search on "critical race theory" only resulted in 7 hits, this database is excellent for finding abstracts of literature within the public affairs domain.  Although international in scope, searching by descriptor (also located at the bottom of records as hyperlinks), will allow you to find records concerning public and social policies within the United States -- "prejudice, racial -- United States, "hate crimes -- United States", "plural societies -- United States", and "civil rights -- United States".  The databases contains abstracts of annotated bibiliographies, books, articles, dissertations and conference proceedings dating back to 1972 and is provided by OCLC and produed by Public Affairs Information Service, Inc. (PAIS).  PAIS International is also available in print in annually. Check the indexes section of your library.  Literature included in the databases concerns topics such as human rights (political, economic, civil, social, and cultural), labor conditions and policy, law and ethics, and population groups, popluation policy, and demographic policies.


Again a keyword search on "critical race theory" only resulted in 7 hits, but this database is instrumental in finding current works on such a new field. Produced by the American Psychological Association and provided by SilverPlatter, PsychInfo contains abstracts and summaries of dissertations, books, book chapters, articles dating back to 1887.  It includes literature from the fields of  linguistics, anthropology, business, and law within an American scope.   Its indexing is concise and is conveniently available in each record as descriptor hyperlinks.  Check out the following major descriptors (MJ): Race-Anthropological, Social-Equality, Socioeconomic-Status, Racism-, Civil-Rights-Movement, Sociocultural-Factors, Culture-Anthropological, and Self-Concept. Journal coverage is international and includes records from more than 1,300 periodicals written in over 25 languages, but is predominantly in English. Over 55,000 entries are added annually to this database. There is also a print equivalent to this database.  Check your libraries indexes section.

Sociological Abstracts

Provided by Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, this database contains citations and abstracts to journal articles dating as far back as 1963.  Fields, such as anthropology, social and group psychology, social structure and law are covered.  An "exact phrase" search of "critical race theory" resulted in a prolific 42 hits.  It also contains some links to external full-text sources.  The database is  thoroughly indexed with descriptor hyperlinks located at the bottom of each record.  Check out "Cultural Pluralism", "Political Culture", "Social Identity", "Class Relations", "Discrimination", "Subordination", and "Ethnic Identity".  It is also indexed by particular ethnic and cultural groups, such as "Indigenous Populations", "Asian Cultural Groups", "Latin American Cultural Groups", and "Black Americans".  This database is particularly helpful for researching particular individuals associated with Critical Race Theory, who are indexed as well.  For example, a search of "Du Bois, William Edward" as a descriptor resulted in 99 hits.  Check your library's indexes section for Sociological Abstracts' print equivalent. Sociological Theory Abstracts, another products of CSA, is incorporated into Sociological Abstracts (10% Sociological Theory Abstracts).  These abstracts specifically address social theory in the fields of history, linguistics, anthroplogy, psychology, economics, sociology and geography.

Social Science Citation Index

A search for "critical race theory" retrieved 91 records in SSCI from its thousands of indexed multidisciplinary journals -- which include materials from the arts and humanites, social sciences, and hard sciences.  This database is truly unique in that if you find an article (via SSCI or any other way) that seems to summarize your research topic or "really hit the nail on the head", you can click on the "Cited References" link, which will automatically bring you to a list of authors who have cited the author of the work that interested you (along with the titles of the journals, volumes, page numbers, and years of the work).  SSCI is a fairly young database, only dating back to 1990.  This is partially due to the database's extensive coverage.  It is provided by the Insititute for Scientific Information (ISI) and is interfaced via Web of Science.  The databases print equivalents included the Arts & Humanities Citation Index , the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Science Citation Index.

Suggested Library of Congress Subject Headings & Books

Although an offical subject heading for "critical race theory" does not exist according to the Library of Congress Subjects Headings (LCSH), here are some reommended subject headings to get you started with you wish to start with your library's catalog:

Culture and law
Critical legal studies--United States
Discrimination in education--United States
Freedom of speech--United States
Race discrimination--Law and legislation--United States
Racism in language
Racism--United States
Sociologial jurisprudence
United States--Race relations--Philosophy

Recommended Readings
(For those new to Critical Race Theory or for those who wish to gain a general understanding of the field)

Crenshaw, Kimberlé, ed. Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement. New York: New
    Press, 1995.

Delgado, Richard. Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995.

Delgado, Richard and Jean Stefanic. Critical Race Theory: An Introduction . New York: New York University Press,
    From the Critical America series

Gates, Nathaniel E. The Concept of "Race" in Natural and Social Science . New York: Garland Pub., 1997.
    From the Critical Race Theory series

Gates, Nathaniel E. Cultural and Literary Critiques of the Concepts of 'Race'. New York: Garland Pub., 1997.
    From the Critical Race Theory series

Parker, Laurence, Donna Deyhle, and Sofia Villenas, eds. Race is---Race Isn't: Critical Race Theory and Qualitative
    Studies in Education. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1999.
 Please contact the librarian, Jennifer Rumain,, for further assistance.