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Critical Race and Legal Theory


Welcome to the Critical Race Theory LibGuide. This guide provides links to books, legislation & informative tools about critical race theory, with a specific focus on the African Nova Scotian community. Because critical race theory is a legal theory and not a specific area of law, the collected primary legal sources have been chosen based on their relation to racialized communities in Canada and Nova Scotia. 

Dalhousie University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq.  We are all Treaty People.

We recognize that African Nova Scotians are a distinct people whose histories, legacies and contributions have enriched that part of Mi’kma’ki known as Nova Scotia for over 400 years.

What is Critical Race Theory?

"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 & Jean Stefancic in Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, 3rd edition (p 3).

"Critical Race Theory (a beginner's beginner guide)" by Khadija Mbowe

This hour long primer was created by Khadija Mbowe, a Black Canadian YouTuber living in Montreal. The video offers some history, context, and commentary on critical race theory as a movement, as well as the benefits and challenges it presents.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Keywords and Subject Headings

Contemporary researchers strive to be respectful and use appropriate terminology when referring to people of colour. However there have been times when authors have referred to people and communities of colour using words that were inappropriate and/or disrespectful. You may encounter these words when you do assignment research.

Some keywords that may be useful to your research in critical race theory include:

  • "civil rights movement" OR "civil rights"
  • "Black Loyalists"
  • "Black Power"
  • "Black Lives Matter" OR "Black Lives Matter Movement"
  • "racial justice," "racial discrimination," "racial equality," "racial inequality"
  • "segregation"
  • "Jim Crow laws"
  • "micro-aggression(s)"
  • "systemic racism"
  • "critical race theory"
  • "intersectionality"
  • "racial minorities," "racialized minorities," "racialized communities," "marginalized communities"

Specific authors/scholars of CRT: "Derrick Bell," "Kimberle Crenshaw," "Richard Delgado," "Patricia Williams," "Cheryl Harris," "Mari Mastuda"

To find other sources using the Library catalog requires searching by Library of Congress Subject Heading, using the catalogue subject keyword search. Some relevant subject headings to critical race theory include:

  • Race discrimination - Canada
  • Black Lives Matter movement
  • Police Brutality - Canada
  • Police misconduct-- Canada
  • Racial profiling in law enforcement - Canada
  • Race Discrimination - United States
  • Discrimination in criminal justice administration-- Canada
  • Discrimination in law enforcement-- Canada
  • Minorities-- Crimes against-- Canada
  • Police-community relations-- Canada
  • Black Canadians-- Social Conditions

This approach will require multiple searches, as subject terminology is not precise or sensitive. You may wish to discuss with a knowledgeable person the appropriateness of the sources found by a library catalogue or database search.

A Note on Terminology: Many of the subject headings use outdated and offensive language. While the Library of Congress appears to be adjusting this language in its system, it may still be present in searches and in older resources.  Our metadata team is working on decolonizing the subject headings to ensure they are using the appropriate language to describe topics and communities describing people of colour.