Colloquium: Racial Violence

Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research for Colloquium on Racial Violence. You may also wish to consult the research guide on Critical Race Theory: Researching the Prison Industrial Complex. If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Vani Natarajan
Humanities and Global Studies Librarian
208C Lehman

Finding Books and Media


  • Go to CLIO and use the Catalog search to find books, journals (but not articles in journals), links to online journals, and other materials in the Barnard and Columbia libraries, including the Health Sciences Library.  The collectections of the Columbia Law Library are searchable through Pegasus, their online catalog. 
  • For a known item, search by Title, Author, standardized Library of Congress Subject HeadingISBN, etc.
  • For an All Fields keyword search, "use quotes" for a phrase, and * for truncation (to find variant endings of a word), e.g. feminis* finds feminism, feminist, feminists, etc.
  • For a complex search, use Boolean Keyword searching:
    • AND finds records which have all the search terms you entered;
    • OR finds records which have one of the search terms you entered, as well as records which have more than one of the terms. OR finds MORE.  Use parentheses to group terms, e.g. “prison industrial complex” AND ("african american" OR black).

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.

International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences covers scholarship and fields that have emerged and matured over the years, including topics related to racial violence.

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 Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States provides access to "information about the fastest growing minority population in the United States. The Encyclopedia draws together the diverse historical and contemporary experiences in the United States of Latinos and Latinas from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

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.


Journal and Newspaper Databases

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

Black Studies Center is 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:

  • African American Historical Serials Collection includes African American periodicals, annuals and reports published from 1829-1922 including materials from African American religious organizations and social service agencies.
  • Chicano database covers a wide range of materials on the Mexican American and broader Latin@ experience. Most coverage is from the 1960's to the present, with some older sources represented.
  • 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.
  • Left Index covers literature of the left published from both within and outside of academia, on topics such as the labor movement, ecology and the environment, race &ethnicity, social theory, art & aesthetics, philosophy, history, education, law and globalization.
  • LGBT Life with full text indexes journal articles and book chapters on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues.
  • Race Relations Abstracts covers scholarly and popular articles related to race and ethnic studies, immigration, civil rights, and more.

HAPI (Hispanic American Periodicals Index) includes citations to articles and book reviews in Latin@, Latin American, and Caribbean studies.

Hispanic American Newspapers represents the single largest compilation of Spanish-language newspapers printed in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Lexis/Nexis Academic provides access to a wide array of news and legal information resources including tv and radio transcipts, blogs, court cases, and law review articles.  

National Criminal Justice Reference Service is a source for full-text publications, grant information, calendar of events, and national and international resources in the area of criminal justice and related subjects.

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

  • Alt-PressWatch indexes and provides selected full text access to newspapers, magazines, and journals of the alternative and independent press, including such publications as Colorlines, Dissent, Radical Teacher, and more.
  • 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. 
  • Criminal Justice is a comprehensive database of U.S. and international criminal justice journals.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Newspapers contains US national newspapers, international English-language newspapers, and a select number of state and regional papers. 

Primary Source Collections

Look here for digital and/or physical

collections as well as pathways to primary sources (including image, text, and video).

The American Indian Movement and Native American Radicalism includes documentation of FBI surveillance and suppression of AIM.

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.

Barnard Library Zine Collection includes over 5,000 zines written by women (cis- and transgender) with an emphasis on zines by women of color. 

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.

Civil Rights Digital Library includes a browseable and searchable portal to digital collections related to the Civil Rights Movement, as well as a digital video archive.

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.

Federal Surveillance of African Americans contains facsimiles of hundred of FBI files documenting the federal scrutiny, harassment, and persecution of African Americans between 1920 and 1984.

Freedom Archives contains over 10,000 hours of audio and video tapes which date from the late-1960s to the mid-90s and chronicle the progressive history of the Bay Area, the United States, and international movements. Some of the audio from this collection has been digitized and is accessible for streaming online via the Archives website. There is a strong focus on materials from and related to the Black Panther Party and Black liberation struggles.

Interference Archive collects, preserves, and makes accessible to visitors materials created by participants in social movements. These include posters, photographs, audio recordings, moving images, books, and more. The archive is located in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and it has open visiting hours from Thursday-Sunday (check the archive site for more details).

North American Indian Thought and Culture contains biographies, auto-biographies, personal narratives, speeches, diaries, letters, and oral histories. Biographies include works on Quanah Parker, Dennis Banks, Susan La Flesche Picotte, Cochise, Jim Thorpe, Crowfoot, Peter Pitchlynn, Sacajawea, Geronimo, Hosteen Klah, Black Elk, Pocahontas, George Washington Grayson, Standing Buffalo, and many more.

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.

Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice collects digitized documents covering key aspects of the history of slavery worldwide over six centuries, with 16 key areas of focus: slavery in the early Americas; African coast; the Middle Passage; slavery and agriculture; urban and domestic slavery; slave testimony; spiritualism and religion in slave communities; resistance and revolts; the Underground Railroad; the abolition movement and the slavery debate; legislation and politics; freed slaves, freedmen and free black settlements; education; slavery and the Islamic world; varieties of slave experience; slavery today and the legacy of slavery. The collection also includes case studies from America, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Cuba.

Slavery and the Law collects judicial cases, petitions, and other legal primary documents relating to histories of slavery in the United States.

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.

TV News provides access from 2009 to the present news programming.  

YouTube is a source for video on a wide range of current issues and events.


Sources of Data and Government Information provides access to data collected by the U.S. Government on everything from population to the economy. 

General Social Surveys have been conducted by the National Opinion Research Center since 1972, except for 1979, 1981, and 1992.  They provide insight into a wide range of socioecomic issues that impact the lives of people living in the United States.

ICPSR: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research is one of the largest repositories for social science data in the world. Among the many topics covered, you will find statistics on crime, education, demographics, elections, religion, and many more.
Features: Tables available from a list of datasets.

NYC Statistics Data, reports and statistics about NYC and its City services, administered by city agencies
Features: Download stats into Excel; PDF reports

Polling the Nations is a database of polls taken on a variety of subjects. Each record consists of one poll question and the participants' reponses.  

ProQuest Statistical Insight (formerly LexisNexis Statistical) Tables from US government and business reports, US Federal statistical publications, International statistical publications, and US State government, business, and research institute statistical publications.
Features: Abstracts, PDF full text, tables (.gif or .xls), and links to other editions of the same study or datasets from a different year. All features are not available for all results.


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.