The Worlds of Ntozake Shange

Austin, M. Ionita. Poster for the performances of Ntozake Shange's choreopoem For Colored Girls... (1985). Courtesy of the Barnard College Archives, via Wikimedia Commons

Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research for The Worlds of Ntozake Shange.

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

Personal Librarians

Megan Wacha
Performing Arts Librarian
208D Lehman

Vani Natarajan
Humanities and Global Studies Librarian
208C Lehman


Finding Print and Media Materials On and Off Campus

CLIO provides access to the vast resources of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and the Law Library. Search the Catalog for book and media materials.

Some Library of Congress subject headings you may wish to explore in catalog searches:

  • African American dance
  • African American women in literature
  • African diaspora in literature
  • Black Arts movement
  • Dance, Black
  • Dance in literature
  • Feminism
  • Mothers and daughters in literature
  • Shange, Ntozake
  • Womanism

The NYPL catalog searches the circulating and non-circulating research collections at the New York Public Library.

Worldcat searches libraries worldwide. If a title isn't available via Columbia University Libraries, you may request it via Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan.


Recommended Databases for Finding Reviews and Scholarly Journal Articles

Black Studies Center brings together several key resources for researching African American history, as well as the African diaspora and Africa itself. These include the International Index to Black Periodicals, Historical Black Newspapers, Black Literature Index, and Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience.

Ethnic NewsWatch offers full text coverage of newspapers and other periodicals published by the ethnic, minority, and native press in the U.S., with coverage from 1960 to the present.

Gender Studies Database covers scholarship on gender and sexuality---including journal articles, book chapters, reports, and more---from both inside and outside academia.

International Index to the Performing Arts is a multidisciplinary index to the performing arts. Includes full-text.

International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance contains all of the content available in International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance as well as full text for 100 titles.

JSTOR provides access to the core scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences from the earliest issues to within a few years of current publication. Users may browse by journal title or discipline, or may search full-text or citations/abstracts.

ProQuest Direct contains citations and full-text articles from several thousand magazines, journals, newspapers, etc. covering many subjects in academic & professional disciplines.


Newspaper Collections

America’s Historical Newspapers provides access to page images and full text of historic American newspapers from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries (until 1980). Includes a selection of African American newspapers.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers offers full-text and full-image articles from major American newspapers, including the New York Times. Also includes several historic Black newspapers, among them the New York Amsterdam News and the Pittsburgh Courier. Tip: For production reviews, locate the review of a production and then click/flip through the pages of the publication to identify relevant historical and cultural events.


Image and Sound Collections

ARTStor is a nonprofit resource that provides over 1.6 million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities and sciences. Conduct an advanced search or browse by geography, date, or classification.

Digital Public Library of America serves as a portal to the digitized collections of various institutions across the nation, including millions of photographs, documents, books, audio materials, and moving images. These can be searched, browsed, or visualized on a timeline or map.

Internet Archive is a digital library of searchable and freely available audio, video, and text content. Its audio archive includes historic radio broadcasts, some of them available via the Pacifica Radio Archives.

Music Online gives access to audio, video, music scores, and full-text reference content from several digital performing arts collections, including African American Music Reference, Dance in Video, Jazz Music Library, and Smithsonian Global Sound.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library's vast collections


Local Special Collections and Archives

Barnard College Archives houses materials documenting Ntozake Shange's time as a student, and later as a guest lecturer and visiting artist, at Barnard College. In addition, a substantial collection of Ntozake Shange’s papers are in the process of transition into the College Archives.  For more information on these sources, you may wish to contact College Archivist Shannon O'Neill at

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts holds numerous materials of interest to researchers exploring Ntozake Shange’s life and work. These include photographs, clippings, reviews, press releases, and audio and video recordings of performances.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s holdings include numerous sources related to the life and work of Ntozake Shange, her creative collaborators, and contemporaries. These include manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and early editions of published texts.

To further explore the Schomburg Center and NYPL Performing Arts Library collections, consult the NYPL catalog as well as the Archives and Manuscripts portal.


Writing and Citation

The Craft of Research (electronic book) offers advice on all stages of the research and writing process.

Zotero is a free cloud-based tool that allows users to quickly and easily collect, organize, format, and share bibliographic citations. Consult the Barnard Library Zotero guide for support in installing and using Zotero.