Collection Development Policy for Black Studies

General policies and principles for the Library's collections are stated in the General Collection Development Policy.  

Purpose of the Collection

The Black Studies collection supports research, study and teaching of multi-faceted & highly interdisciplinary study of peoples of African descent throughout the world. The collection also supports the research of faculty and students through graduate-level study who are actively working on Black Studies topics in departments across the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, and the Division of Social Sciences.

Although the primary mission of Black Studies acquisitions is to support the programs of the Department of Black Studies, the materials also support instruction and research relating to Black Studies in other humanities, in the social sciences and in other departments and units throughout the university. In addition, Black Studies materials are frequently used by students, teachers, researchers, visiting scholars & other campus visitors with an interest in Black Studies, Ethnic Studies, colonial history, developing countries, et al.

Academic Department/Program Description

The Department of Black Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program that seeks to increase the awareness and understanding of the Black experience through examination of its historical and contemporary manifestations in various societies. The Department introduces students to the humanities and social sciences while examining the dynamics of race, class, gender, sexuality, culture, politics, and economics. The undergraduate major in Black Studies offers a broad range of course leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree or a minor in Black Studies. Graduate students currently enrolled in doctoral programs in Chicana and Chicano Studies, Education, History or Sociology can apply for the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Emphasis in Black Studies.

Subject Parameters

Major areas of interest cover the historical and socio-cultural development of peoples of the African diaspora with emphasis on race, class, sexuality, as well as contemporary issues related to social justice and inequality. 



We actively collect in Art History, Dramatic Art, Film and Media Studies, Economics, Ethnomusicology, Gender Studies, History, Literature, Political Science, Sociology, and Religious Studies.

Geographical Coverage

Peoples of African descent are located in all areas of the world. The geographic focus of the department of black studies is therefore international in scope, with primary emphases on: Africa; United States; the Caribbean & Latin America and secondary emphases on Europe and Asia.


Principal languages include English, French, & Spanish. Materials in other languages are bought selectively.

Chronological Limits/Period Coverage

Time periods range from African prehistory to recent events. The predominant time focus is from the beginnings of early African civilizations to the modern era.

Publication Dates

Recent imprints are prioritized.  Older imprints are selectively acquired.

Types of Materials Collected

We collect monographs, reference tools, audio-visual materials, periodicals, and scholarly series. Conference proceedings are collected selectively. While a large percentage of content is exclusively published in print, electronic format is preferred for reference tools, periodicals, edited volumes and anthologies.  Dissertations are only acquired on demand. Textbooks are generally not acquired. 

When appropriate primary source materials such as posters, photographs, other ephemera including out-of-print books are acquired, they are maintained in the California Ethnic Multicultural Archives in Special Collections.  New journal subscriptions are added to the UCSB Library collection when the budget permits.

Systemwide and Other Resources

U.C. system-wide sources purchase via the California Digital Library such as article and research databases, as well as digitized primary sources such as, Calisphere and Online Archive of California greatly support the discipline.

Related Collection Development Policies

Author: Jennifer Thompson
Policy Last Updated: June 2015