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Library Services



Black Studies

Books and e-books

In this section you will find guidance on finding both print and e-books in the Library collections.

Selma Burke and bust of Booker T. WashingtonThe Library holds many books and e-books by Black authors and on topics relevant to Black Studies. The best way to find these is by using Explore and doing a simple search using keywords. 

You can also find relevant literature by searching or browsing the subject headings. Subject headings are like tags, or labels, which describe what the book is about. Browsing or searching the subject headings will enable you to find all the books on a particular topic. See below for guidance on how to search using subject headings.

We welcome suggestions for new books and e-books that contribute to the diversification of our collections.

Please note: UCL Library uses Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to describe and index much of UCL’s collections on Explore. While comprehensive and widely used throughout UK and US academic libraries it is recognised as largely reflecting a predominantly white, non-disabled, cis, male, western worldview. Work is ongoing to make fixes but some terminology may be offensive to library users. UCL Library is committed to addressing these issues and would welcome the thoughts of library users about any terminology used in Explore records.

Image: Selma Burke with her portrait bust of Booker T. Washington, 1935-43. New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Searching Explore using subject headings

Printed books

Print books are distributed across multiple libraries and located within a range of subject collections. Contact your Subject Liaison or Site Librarian for more detailed guidance on finding Black scholarship across the print collections, but some key areas related to the study of Africa, the Afro-Caribbean, and the Black diaspora are listed below.

You can use UCL Explore to find books in UCL libraries. In Explore, you will find the location details of the materials you are looking for: library site, collection and shelfmark. An advanced search by shelfmark will allow you to browse all titles at that location.

  • Art:
    • ART MX 61 - ART MX 69: modern and contemporary African art and artists. 
    • ART MX 85 - ART MX 86: modern and contemporary Caribbean art and artists. 
    • ART QM 65 - ART QM 69: critical studies of African cinema (see ART QN for individual filmmakers, actors etc.)
  • Economics:
    • ECONOMICS L 110 - 129: economies of Africa.
    • ECONOMICS L 92 - 11.6: economies of the Americas.
  • English:
    • ENGLISH XC 17-19: critical material about African American, American Indian and other ethnic minority literatures in America.
    • ENGLISH XN, XR, XS 17-19: works by and about African American, American Indian and other ethnic minority authors in America. 
    • ENGLISH Y: global Literatures in English - works by and about authors writing in English from outside of the UK, US and Ireland.
  • History:
    • AMERICAN HISTORY A 120: civil rights
    • AMERICAN HISTORY A 422 - A 424: Black American history
    • HISTORY 58 I: African history
    • HISTORY 82 Z 20 - Z 27: African economic and social history
  • Latin American History:
    • LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY A 136: Pan-Americanism
    • LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY A 138: Hispano-American Movement
    • LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY A 165: economic and social history; economic resources; slavery
  • Philosophy
    • PHILOSOPHY A 65: African philosophy.
    • PHILOSOPHY P 81: philosophy of Race.  
  • Anthropology:
    • ANTHROPOLOGY D 25: race relations.
    • ANTHROPOLOGY D 57: slavery.
    • ANTHROPOLOGY Q, QG - QW: Anthropology of African regions.
    • ANTHROPOLOGY WX: Anthropology of the West Indies and the Caribbean generally, and specific Caribbean islands.
  • Geography:
    • GEOGRAPHY H 26: race relations, slavery, and racism, as well as other topics.
    • GEOGRAPHY Q, QA-QY: Geography of Africa generally and specific African countries.
    • GEOGRAPHY WX: Geography of the West Indies and the Caribbean generally, and of specific Caribbean islands.

In the Main Education Collection on Level 5 of the IOE Library there are several subject collections of interest at the following shelfmarks:

  • Num: Black Studies;
  • Bax: Race and Education;
  • Tux: the education of specific ethnic groups.


The Library holds many texts on topics relevant to Black Studies in e-book format. The best way to find individual ebooks is by using Explore and searching using keywords, or by browsing the subject headings. Some larger collections are listed here.

E-book collections

Reference works, encyclopeadias and dictionaries

This section lists reference works and handbooks which are a good starting point for discovering further literature.