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menu border spacer menu gutter spacer INTRODUCTION
- Important Note
- Introduction
- Purpose
- Description & Scope
- Locating Resources

- Art
- Cultural Criticism
- Media, Film and TV
- Language &

- LGBTQ Women
- Music
- Religion &

- Anthropology
- Economics
- History
- Politics
- Legal Theory
- Psychology
- Sociology

- The Academy
- History of Education
- Pedagogy &

- Health and Healing
- Science, Medicine,
  & Technology

(Auto)Biography, Memoirs, Personal Narratives



Multidisciplinary Anthologies

Periodicals: Special Issues


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A Multidisciplinary Bibliography
Compiled by Sherri L. Barnes
University of California, Santa Barbara Library

we will be judged by how well we love. collage illustraion by Arlinda Crossland

Important Note

While Black feminist scholarship, writings, and theorizing within and outside the academy has grown significantly since Black American Feminisms was launched in 2002, this bibliography has not been updated regularly since around 2009, when my career began to move in a different direction. In its current state the bibliography is essentially a collection of 20th century writings, documenting the long 20th century.

I retired in 2021, but UCSB has been gracious enough to continue hosting the bibliography in its antiquated technical format. If there is someone out there who would like to build on what I have started by updating the bibliography's technical infrastructure, adding new content, hosting it, and bringing it into the 21st century, I'd be interested in hearing from you.

When I started compiling the bibliography, there was no other source, print or electronic, that brought together Black feminist thought from across the disciplines. That hasn't changed significantly, despite the continued production of, advancement of, and influence of Black feminist scholarship. Although technology and access to scholarly communications and information has advanced significantly, making it easier for those within and outside the academy to discover and access Black feminist thought, I still believe there is a need for a multidisciplinary resource of books, chapters, and articles, dedicated to showcasing the long intellectual tradition of Black feminism in one place, a Black feminist space.

To continue to ensure the place of Black feminist thought in social change discourse, and to honor the antiracist and antisexist Black women activists and writers of the 19th century, the club women's movement of the long 19th century, the Black women's rights movement of the 60s and 70s, and the hip hop feminism of the late 20th century and forward, it's important to document and organize the voices of 21st century Black feminism. The struggle continues.


Welcome to Black American Feminisms: A Multidisciplinary Bibliography, an extensive bibliography of black American Feminist thought from across the disciplines. References date back to the nineteenth century when African American women like Maria Stewart, Anna Julia Cooper and Sojourner Truth challenged the conventions and mores of their era to speak publicly against slavery and in support of black women's rights. These African American women did not refer to themselves as feminists, however, their beliefs and activism ignited a tradition of anti-racist and anti-sexist political movement and thought which now defines black American feminism. Many black American women, inspired by these nineteenth century trailblazers have continued over the years to work toward the eradication of race and gender inequality, among other systems of oppression, which have historically subjugated black American women.

From the antislavery and women's rights movements of the nineteenth century, continuing through the black and women's rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s, up to today's contemporary black feminist activism, black American women have sought to have a voice in two centuries of liberation struggles that had silenced or ostracized them. Whether one chooses to use the term black feminism, African American feminism, womanism, or black American feminism, 1 to articulate the complexity of black American women's demand for social, economic and political equality, understood is the desire for a compatible and progressive vision of social justice based on the historical and ongoing struggles against the race and gender (at least) oppression black American women have experienced at home, at work, in their communities and, moreover, within the dominant culture as a whole.

Contemporary black American feminists have identified the central themes in black feminism as evidenced in over a century of struggle in the U.S. These include: 1) the presentation of an alternative social construct for now and the future based on African American women's lived experiences 2 2) a commitment to fighting against race and gender inequality across differences of class, age, sexual orientation, and ethnicity 3) recognition of Black women's legacy of struggle 4) the promotion of black female empowerment through voice, visibility and self definition, and 5) a belief in the interdependence of thought and action (Collins 1993, 418; Guy-Sheftall 1995; 2). As black women have become cognizant of the multiple systemic forces of oppression, they have pursued collective actions for social change, transforming society and themselves through their own agency and self-determination.

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The multidisciplinary subject bibliography of black American feminist writings that follows is an effort to combat the erasure of black feminist subjectivity and thought through the promotion and use of the literature for the general public, students, scholars and life-long learners seeking information on African American feminism and African American feminist interpretations of a broad range of issues. The bibliography documents and validates an intellectual tradition that is continuously ghettoized within black studies, women's studies and society as a whole. Moreover, the bibliography serves to ensure a place for black American feminist thought in the social change discourse, ensuring its preservation and perpetuation

Now that most of the older literature has been added, and I'm primarily adding newly published sources, I will be updating less frequently, twice a year, rather than quarterly3. Citations will be added for the sections that I have new material for. The entire body of black American feminist writings is not cited here, nor do I anticipate being able to identify all of the new literature as it is published. As a result, I do welcome input from site visitors. If one is aware of a book, a chapter, an article or Web site that should be included in the bibliography, please get in touch and I will take your suggestion into consideration.

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Description and Scope

Black American Feminism is not a comprehensive bibliography of black American feminist thought, however, it does seek to be comprehensive in subject coverage, citing sources from numerous subject areas within the humanities, social sciences, and health, medicine and science. Citations date back to the nineteenth century to the present, with the majority of references representing the very influential contemporary black feminist thought that emerged in the the 1970s and continues today. The bibliography is primarily arranged by discipline and subject. There are 4 broad discipline based section headings: Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences; Education; Health, Medicine and Science; and 6 sections related to format: (Auto)biographies, Memoirs, and Personal Narratives; Interviews; Speeches; Multidisciplinary Anthologies; Periodicals: Special Issues; and Websites. Under the disciplines, citations are arranged under narrower subject headings. When I began compiling the bibliography most of the scholarship related to black lesbian feminists was liteary. Thus, Lesbian Subjectivities was placed, and still resides, in the Arts and Humanities section. It no longer comfortably fits there. Many of the sources now come from the social sciences. For interdiscipinary research interests, one should consult multiple and related subject headings and formats. Many sources appear in various books and journals. Reprints that I have knowledge of are noted so that researchers have options when trying to locate materials.

The citations come from professional, scholarly, popular, mainstream and alternative magazines, journals, newspapers, and books. Many of the references are by self-defined black feminists and written about the black American female experience. However, the bibliography is not limited to such materials. Included are works which do not explicitly propose to take a black feminist stance, but manifest black feminist thinking by employing at least a race and gender analysis. Some sources are more descriptive than analytical. The one theme evident througout all of the works is the desire for social change.

The emphasis of the bibliography is on Black feminist traditions in the United States - feminism, womanism, and Africana womanism.. The increasing volume of literature on African feminism, feminist movement in the Caribbean, and black feminism in Britain was excluded primarily to keep the bibliography within a manageable scope, and to satisfy the requirements of a liberal studies Master's thesis with an American studies concentration, the bibliography's first manifestation. Furthermore, black women in other parts of the world, under different social, economic and political systems, bring their distinct histories, issues, cultures and experiences to feminist movement and subjectivity 4. While some commonalties exist, some do not. Nonetheless, some black feminists in the U.S. have focused on the common concerns of women of African decent throughout the Diaspora. These theorists have looked to the Diaspora as a source of empowerment and to interpret the black female experience in the United States. Rosalyn Terborg-Penn's, Andre Benton Rushing's and Sharon Harley's Women in Africa and the African Diaspora (Howard University Press, 1996), and Black Women Cross-Culturally (Schenkman 1981), edited by Filomina Chioma Steady, features the afrocentric feminist ideology of this school of black American feminist thought, which has come to be known as African Diaspora women's studies. These and similar works are included in the bibliography. Black American feminists, as this bibliography illustrates, represent a diversity of viewpoints and activities. Many are and have been integrationist, nationalist, clubwomen, reformists, communists, slaves, men, nurses, teachers, academics, artists, theologians and more, hence "black American feminisms". All resist the multiple and simultaneous oppressions of race and gender experienced by black American women and are committed to the dismantling of patriarchy, white supremacy and other systems of domination which exploit, oppress and victimize people.

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Locating Resources

To locate materials in the bibliography as well as information on black American Feminism please consult your local public, school, or academic library. The librarian on duty at the reference desk will be able to assist you. If your local library does not own the necessary materials, the library's interlibrary loan department may be able to borrow the material from another library for you. If your local library does not own materials on black American feminism, and you feel that it should, please make the person(s) responsible for selecting library materials in the areas of women's studies, black studies, the social sciences and the humanities aware of the the gap in the library's collection.

Works Cited

Collins, Patricia Hill. "Feminism in the Twentieth Century." In Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1, ed. Darlene Clark Hine. Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing, 1993.

Guy-Sheftall, Beverly, ed. Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought. Introduction. New York: The New Press, 1995.

1 I use the term "black", rather than African American, to reflect a solidarity with political movements and struggles for racial justice. African American power, or African American liberation aren't meaningful. The "American" in Black American Feminism is a geographic reference. The bibliography does not reference works concerning black feminist movements in other parts of the Diaspora.

2 This expression comes from bell hooks' theory that "Black women with no institutional other‚ that we may discriminate against, exploit, or oppress often have a lived experience that directly challenges the prevailing classist, sexist, racial social structure and its concomitant ideology...It is essential for continued feminist struggle that black women recognize the special vantage point our marginality gives us and make use of this perspective to criticize the dominant racist, classist, sexist hegemony as well as to envision and create a counter hegemony." From Feminist Theory From Margin to Center (Boston: South End Press, 1984), 15.

3 Since the 2002 debut of the bibliography I have been able to locate and add a substantial amount of content. Recently, the quantity of new material to be added has declined. This is not a result of a decrease in the volume of black feminist scholarship being produced, but because it has taken me years to locate and add the huge body of black feminist writings available. Most of the new content that will be added from now (Spring 2008) forward will be newly published material. Along the way, if I discover, or am made aware of older material, I will add that too, but for the most part I believe the bibligraphy is now relatively comprehensive.

4 A recent text addressing the current and historical dynamics of Black feminism in Britian is Ranu Samantrai's Alternatives: Black Feminism in the Postimperial Nation (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002); also, see the multidisciplinary anthology Reconstructing Womanhood, Reconstructing Feminism: Writings on Black Women, ed. Delia Jarrett-Macauley, (New York: Routledge, 1996); and Gemma Tang Nain, "Black Women, Sexism, and Racism: Black or Antiracist Feminism?" Feminist Review no. 37 (Spring 1991), 3-22. Current discourse on Caribbean feminism can be found in a special issue of Feminist Review, entitled Rethinking Feminist Difference, no. 59 (Summer 1998); also, see CAFRA News: Magazine of the Caribbean Association For Feminist Reseach and Action. A source for an introduction to the politics of African Feminism from an anthropological perspective is African Feminism: The Politics of Survival in Sub-Saharan Africa, ed. Gwendolyn Mikell, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1997); also, see African Women & Feminism: Reflecting On the Politics of Sisterhood, ed. Oyeronke Oyewumi, (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2003).

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border spacer gutter spacer This Web site was made possible by a grant from the Librarians Association of the University of California. Author: Sherri L. Barnes, UCSB Libraries.
Updated: 2024-01-12
All images, artwork, and design are copyrighted © and may not be used or reproduced without the express written consent from the following: Background image extrapolated from "True Self" © Karin Turner. "We Will be Judged" © Arlinda Crossland. Site design © Gwen Harlow. License to use images may be available through private treaty with the artist.
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