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Critical Race Theory

This guide provides an overview of research strategies and resources on the topic of Critical Race Theory at the UNC School of Law.

What Is In This Guide?

"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. Unlike traditional civil rights discourse, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law."

- Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (3rd Edition)

This guide provides an overview of the major texts, scholars, and related subjects that comprise Critical Race Theory. This introductory page provides an overview of legal research strategies and recommended journals for updating research in the field. The other pages in this guide provide a list of selected texts from CRT. It is organized into the following sections:

  • Introduction to CRT

    • Introductory Texts
    • Key Essays
    • Critical Legal Studies
  • Developments in CRT

    • Developments
    • Latinx CRT
    • Asian-American CRT
    • Indigenous CRT
    • Whiteness Studies and CRT
    • Disability Studies and CRT
    • Queer Studies and CRT
    • CRT Across Racial and Ethnic Lines
  • Subjects Related to CRT

    • Related Subjects
    • Mass Incarceration and Police and Prison Abolition
    • CRT and Sociology
    • CRT and Education
    • CRT Outside the U.S.
  • Racial Justice in the U.S.

    • Introduction
    • Selected Works on Race in American History
    • Recent Popular Titles
    • Oral History Collections
  • Racial Justice in North Carolina

    • North Carolina Historical Resources
    • Selected Works on North Carolina History
    • Special Projects

Use of Language in This Guide

It is a common misconception that libraries and library catalogs are neutral and unbiased. They are not. Bibliographic indexing terms used in libraries were created within a historically white hegemonic information infrastructure. Click the link below to view a list, created by Harvard libraries, of selected open-access writings on this topic.

Bias, Neutrality, and Libraries, Harvard Law Library Research Services

This research guide was created to help researchers effectively navigate the University of North Carolina Libraries' collections for Critical Race Theory research. Because of the origins of libraries' classifying languages in traditionally white spaces, research in this area may require the use of language that is othering, objectionable, triggering, and/or offensive to people of many backgrounds, identities, identifications, and presentations. This language may not reflect the most current beliefs on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or any number of categories of identity. One of the goals of Critical Race Theory is to provide students and scholars with the tools necessary to critique these structures.

Conducting Critical Race Theory Research at UNC

Most of the scholarly work on Critical Race Theory appears in books, chapters, and academic journals, both legal and otherwise. Though CRT is a well established area of scholarship, new works in or related to the subject appear often. This libguide provides a selection of core and related materials on CRT, but researchers will also want to check multiple databases, journals, and publications for new developments.

CRT is also interdisciplinary in nature, so a good researcher may want to venture beyond legal databases for articles and books. Links to UNC databases that may contain works related to CRT are below.


Helpful search topics in the UNC library catalog:

Anti-racism - United States - History - 20th Century

African-Americans - Civil Rights - Cases

African-Americans - Legal status, laws, etc. - Cases

Critical legal studies - United States

Discrimination - Law and legislation

Hispanic Americans - Legal status, laws, etc.

Minorities - Civil rights

Minorities - Legal status, laws, etc. - United States

People with disabilities -- Legal status, laws, etc -- United States -- History

Race awareness - United States

Race discrimination - Law and legislation - United States

Social movements - United States - History - 20th Century

United States - Race relations


Quick links:



Google Scholar

UNC Law databases

UNC African-American Studies databases

UNC American Indian Studies databases

UNC American Studies databases

UNC Cultural Studies databases

Further Resources

Many Law Libraries and other institutions, academic or otherwise, are compiling works related to critical race theory, racial justice, teaching race in law school, and many other topics. This guide owes a debt to, and is inspired by, several of these sites.


African American Intellectual History Society

ALWD's Reading Lists on Diversity and Inclusion

Arizona State University College of Law's Racial Justice Resources

Cardozo Law's Law Teaching Guides for Confronting Structural Violence

Drake Law's Racial Justice in the U.S. Libguide

Equal Justice Institute

Gonzaga University School of Law's Chastek Library Race and Justice Libguide

Harvard Law Library's Critical Legal Studies Libguide

Howard Law Library's Social Justice Guide

Law Deans Anti-Racist Clearinghouse Project

The Ohio State University Moritz Law Library's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Resources

Stanford University's Clearinghouse on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Research

Southern Poverty Law Center

Texas A&M Law's Antiracism Resources Libguide

The University of Oregon's Jaqua Law Library Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practices in the Law School Classroom 

The University of Washington's Gallagher Law Library Diversity Readings Related to 1st-Year Courses and Diversity in the Legal Profession

We Need Diverse Books Resources for Race, Equity, Anti-racism, and Inclusion

Critical Race Theory at Carolina Law

Several faculty members at the University of North Carolina's School of Law specialize and/or publish in the field of Critical Race Theory. Carolina Law has also pioneered a Critical Race Lawyering Civil Rights clinic, directed by Professor Erika Wilson, and hosts the UNC Center for Civil Rights, directed by Prof. Theodore Shaw, both of which engage Critical Race Theory as well as other tools to fight discrimination and inequality.

More information can be found on their faculty pages, linked here:

Ifeoma Ajunwa

Theodore Shaw

Erika Wilson

Major Scholars

Critical Race Theory has been associated with and developed by a number of scholars over the years. This guide features some of their works, but most have published many books, chapters, essays, and journal articles far beyond what is included here. The scholars listed here have been highlighted in publications like Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (3rd edition) by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic or Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement, edited by Kimberlé Crenshaw. Links in this box go to their author entries in the UNC catalog or to a faculty webpage. Researchers may also want to search for their articles in databases like HeinOnline.

Further research into their publications may be helpful:

Derrick Bell

Paul Butler

Devon Carbado

Kimberlé Crenshaw

andré cummings

Alan Freeman

Laura Gomez

Neil Gotanda

Mitu Gulati

Lani Guinier