Subject of the Month: 2021

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July 2021

"The critical race theory (CRT) movement is a collection of activists and scholars engaged in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, setting, group and self-interest, and emotions and the unconscious."

- Richard Delgado and Jean Stefanic (Critical Race Theory: An Introduction)

As CRT media coverage intensifies, this guide will help you understand CRT's origins and development.

selector: Ida Martinez

CRT Expansion & Inclusiveness

Critical Race Theory began with a focus from an African-American lens. Scholars then branched out to examine CRT from other perspectives. Bodies of literature and examination now include:

A stated goal is "to develop a critical, activist, and inter-disciplinary discourse on law and policy towards Latinas/os."

Created by Bryan Brayboy "to address Indigenous peoples' experiences with colonization as well as racism."

Analysis specific to the racism and oppression experienced by Asian-Americans. (key article)

Explores the intersectionality of race and disability. (key publication available through MelCat)

Studies the intersectionality of race and sexual orientation. (key article)

Critical White Studies
CRT scholars examine the history and evolution of whiteness. (key book)

"A network for critical analysis of law and economic inequality."


Content warning: Graphic violence at 16:20 mark.

More Resources & Acknowledgements

Several librarians have created comprehensive research guides on CRT. I acknowledge their work by referencing many of their sources on this guide, and by linking to their guides here:

Critical Race Theory | Ellie Campbell | University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Critical Race Theory and Ethnic Studies Guide | Denisse Solis | University of Denver

Cultural Competency and Research Positionality: Critical Race Theory | Robert Crown Library | Stanford Law School

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Critical Race Theory History/Development:

Critical Race Theory: Special & Related Topics:

Key Articles

Bell, D. A. (1995). Who's afraid of critical race theory? University of Illinois Law Review, 1995(4), 893-910.

Brooks, R. L., & Newborn, M. (1994). Critical race theory and classical-liberal civil rights scholarship: distinction without difference? California Law Review, 82(4), 787-846.

Carbado, D. W. (2011). Critical what what? Connecticut Law Review, 43(5), 1593-1644.

Crenshaw, K. W. (1988). Race, reform, and retrenchment: Transformation and legitimation in antidiscrimination law. Harvard Law Review, 101(7), 1331.

Davis, P. C. (1989). Law as microaggression. Yale Law Journal, 98(8), 1559-1578.

Harris, C. (1993). Whiteness as property. Harvard Law Review, 106(8), 1707-1791. 

Lawrence, C. (1987). The id, the ego, and equal protection: Reckoning with unconscious racism. Stanford Law Review, 39(2), 317-388.

Leong, N. (2013). Racial capitalism. Harvard Law Review, 126(8), 2151-2226.