Black Feminism(s)/Womanism(s) and "Black Sexual Politics" in Contemporary U.S. Popular Culture


Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective  research for Black Feminism(s)/Womanism(s) and "Black Sexual Politics" in Contemporary U.S. Popular Culture.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Personal Librarian:
Vani Natarajan
208C Lehman

Finding Books and Media

CLIO is the online catalog of Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library but excluding the Law Library and Teachers College Library.  CLIO includes records of CUL materials held offsite, which can be requested through the catalog. Use CLIO to search for books, zines, audiovisual materials, microforms, and journals.


  • Use the symbol * to search for variations on a word or word root.  (feminis* searches for feminist, feminism, feminisms)
  • Use the Refine Search box on your search results page to limit by publication date, location, subject headings, and other features.

Zines are self-published works motivated by the desire for expression, not profit. The Barnard Library Zine Collection includes over 5,000 zines written by women (cis- and transgender) with an emphasis on zines by women of color. To search for zines, use CLIO. You may try an Advanced Search combining the terms "zines" (keyword) with additional keywords and phrases, such as "African American*" or "Riot Grrrl."

Worldcat : search for items in libraries worldwide.

BorrowDirect : borrow books directly from the libraries of Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale, in addition to select libraries of Harvard and MIT. Items requested through BorrowDirect typically deliver in 3 to 4 business days, with a 6-week loan period + one 6-week renewal.

Browse the stacks using Library of Congress call number ranges that correspond with your general areas of research.

Interlibrary Loan: borrow books, articles/book chapters, music scores, and selected audiovisual items (i.e. maps or films) that are not currently available at Columbia University Libraries. ILL has a larger scope of participating institutions than Borrow Direct.

New York Public Library has a variety of holdings, circulating and noncirculating. Try specific collections like the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (includes books, manuscripts, images, sound recordings, and film).



Consult these sources to familiarize yourself with key concepts, terms, and facts, and sources.

Black American Feminisms: A Multidisciplinary Bibliography brings together citations and, in some cases, links to a wide variety of Black American Feminist sources across disciplines. A project of UC Santa Barbara Librarian Sherri Barnes.

Key Concepts in Feminist Theory and Research explores six key concepts in feminist theorizing: equality, difference, choice, care, time, and experience.

Oxford African American Studies Center offers searchable full text of the reference sources African American National Biography, Africana, Black Women in America, and Encyclopedia of African American History.

Oxford Bibliographies offers thoroughly researched annotated bibliographies of scholarly sources on a wide range of topics across disciplines. You may wish to try searches for theoretical frames, historical periods, or broad concepts.



Look to these sources for citations and full text of journal and newspaper articles, analytical essays, and monographs.

Black Studies Center describes itself as a “fully cross-searchable gateway to Black Studies.” The database combines Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, The HistoryMakers Videos and full transcripts for interviews with 100 contemporary African Americans, International Index to Black Periodicals (IIBP), historical black newspapers, Black Abolitionist Papers, and the Black Literature Index.

Contemporary women’s issues provides full-text journal and magazine articles, fact sheets, and reports about women in over 190 countries, from U.S. and international sources.

EBSCO combines a variety of databases in one interface. You can search all databases at once, or a combination of individual ones. Some examples:

  • Family & society studies worldwide  provides citations to journal articles, book chapters, monographs, reports, papers, unpublished material, and other documents in the fields of family studies and childhood studies across a range of social science, health science, and humanities disciplines. Coverage extends from 1970 to the present.
  • Film and Television Literature Index with Full Text covers journal and magazine titles for film and television reviews, scholarly and critical analysis of cinema and television, and articles of popular interest about film and television, from the early 20th century to the present.
  • Gender studies database combines databases in women's studies, men's studies, and child development & adolescent studies, along with selected material on sexuality studies. Sources covered include journal articles, books, conference papers, reports, dissertations, web sites, and other sources.
  • Humanities Full Text contains full text academic articles covering the humanities, including book reviews, bibliographies, interviews, obituaries, reviews of performing arts and media, and also original works of poetry, fiction, and drama.
  • LGBT Life with full text indexes journal articles and book chapters on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues.

FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals is a bibliographical index offering in-depth coverage of the world's foremost academic and popular film journals from 1972 to the present day.

Proquest combines a variety of databases in one interface. You can search all databases at once, or a combination of individual ones. Some examples:

  • Arts & humanities full text provides full-text access to articles from journals in diverse areas of the arts and humanities, including sources in ethnic studies, women's studies, and other related fields. 
  • Ethnic News Watch has a full-text collection of newspapers, magazines and journals from ethnic, minority and indigenous press.
  • GenderWatch offers access to a full-text collection of international journals, magazines, newsletters, regional publications, special reports and conference proceedings devoted to women's and gender issues.
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences indexes over 2,700 journals and about 7,000 books each year; fields covered include anthropology, political science, sociology, and economics.
  • International Index to Music Periodicals covers scholarly and popular journals and magazines on music.
  • MLA International Bibliography features scholarly articles on world languages, literatures, and folklore, with e-links to full text. Includes significant content related to children's literature.



Black Camera (July 1985-present via JSTOR)

Black Women, Gender, and Families (Spring 2007-present via JSTOR)

Callaloo (Dec. 1976-Oct. 2007 via JSTOR, Winter 1995 to present via Project MUSE)

Differences (Spring 1994- Summer/Fall 2011 via EBSCO, 1999-present via e-Duke Journals)

Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism (Autumn 2000-December 2011 via JSTOR, Spring 2001-present via Project MUSE)

Scholar and Feminist Online (Winter 2003-present, published by Barnard Center for Research on Women)

Signs (Autumn 1975-present via JSTOR)

Small Axe (Sept. 1998-July 2010 via EBSCO, March 2001-present via Project MUSE)


Primary Source Collections

Look here for digital collections as well as pathways to primary sources (including historical periodicals, images, manuscripts, and video).

ArchiveGrid is a searchable database of collection descriptions from thousands of archives, libraries, museums, and special collections around the world. Includes links to finding aids and contact information for arranging research visits.

Black Thought and Culture features searchable full text non-fiction works  by African American writers. Content includes books, essays, articles, speeches, letters, interviews, and other materials, some of which have not previously been published.

Black women writers is a growing collection of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry by women from North America, Africa, and the Caribbean. It also includes selected secondary texts by scholars and feminists looking at gender and literature in Africa and the diaspora.

Documents from the Women's Liberation Movement: An Online Archival Collection collects many key sources from women of color organizers and activists, with a focus on the 1960's and 1970's.

Gerritsen Collection: women’s history online, 1543-1945 presents the full text of primary sources from women's history, with the bulk of materials dating from 1880-1920. Sources include journals, scholarly studies, and published advice manuals.

Independent Voices: An Open Access Collection of an Alternative Press allows searchable and browseable access to digitized pages from magazines, journals, and newspapers of the alternative press, with a focus on material from the 1960's - 1980's. This growing collection will eventually become fully open access.

Readers' Guide Retrospective indexes the most popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States. The complete database covers the years 1890 through 1982.

The Sixties: Primary Documents and Personal Narratives 1960 - 1974 gathers an assortment of full text U.S.-based sources on the 1960's and early 1970's. These include manifestos, diaries, letters, written and oral history, and memoirs. Subjects covered include popular culture, student activism, the new left, feminist movements, and the neo-conservative movement.

Women and Social Movements in the United States 1600-2000 includes 105 document projects and archives, along with over 53,000 pages of full text documents. Examples of movements covered: abolitionism, anti-war movements, civil rights, and reproductive justice.

Women and Social Movements International, 1840-present collects published and manuscript sources documenting women's activism around the world, from the nineteenth century onward. Sources include letters, memoirs, conference proceedings, pamphlets, books, and journal articles, among others.

Writing and Citing

OWL: Purdue University Online Writing Lab provides general and subject specific writing tips and techniques, along with research advice and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

Research and Documentation Online serves as the online version of Diana Hacker's guide Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age. It provides detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, MLA, Chicago, and CSE styles, along with tips for research in subjects within the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Other features include a glossary of research terms, a list of additional style manuals organized by subject, and tips for evaluating sources.

Zotero is a free, open source program that allows you to quickly save, organize, format, and share your bibliographic citations.