Skip to Main Content

Ethnic Studies Resources for Faculty and Students: Open & Free Resources

What is?

Open educational resources are materials for teaching or learning that are either in the public domain or have been released under a license that allows their freely use, modification, and redistribution. 

Public Domain works may be used without seeking the copyright holder’s permission or paying a license fee because the content owner's exclusive intellectual property rights to that content may have been expired, forfeited, waived, and/or deemed inapplicable.

 Open Access (OA) license allows users to have immediate, unrestricted, digital access to content published under that OA license.

Creative Commons licenses provide a standard way for content creators to grant someone else permission to use, modify, and share their work. 

For OERs and other materials published under the Creative Commons license, please remember to check the creative commons licenses before reusing or modifying the resource. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use and may require specific attribution requirement. Please refer to Creative Commons Quick Reference and citing OERs.

Creative Commons Licenses by D'Arcy Hutchings is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

 Fair Use is designed to help balance the rights of the content  creator and the rights of general public to use portions of copyrighted works for commentary, criticism, and social benefit.

If you intend to use copyrighted content under fair use, please refer to the Copyright Reference Guide for Educators.

Some OER examples

"Routes of the Underground Railroad, 1830-1865." See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1923.

Here are some examples of open textbooks and course materials. Additional resources may be found by searching the resources listed below.

The American Yawp, edited by Joseph Locke and Ben Wright, Stanford University Press (CC BY 4.0)

History in the Making: A History of the People of the United States of America to 1877, University of North Georgia Press Books (CC BY 4.0)

Persistence is Resistance: Celebrating 50 Years of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, University of Washington Pressbooks (CC BY-NC)

Race and Ethnicity LibreText (CC BY-NC-SA)

U.S. History: From Pre-Columbian to the New Millennium by The Independence Hall Association (CC BY 4.0)

Writing Early American Lives: Gender, Race, Nation, FaithMIT OpenCourseWare (CC BY-NC-SA)

Open & Free Resources

  • DocsTeachBrowse ready-to-use lesson plans, student activities, collection guides and research aids. Includes curated resources from The Library of Congress, National Archives, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, and Smithsonian Institution.

  • OpenStax: This resource allows instructors to pull from a range of learning objects and organize the material to create their own courses. It offers textbooks, journal articles, learning objects, and assignments. Once organized, the material can be viewed as either a PDF or EPUBS document for distribution to students.
  • COOL4Ed: Part of the California MERLOT program, it has a great index of Open Source course materials, including reviews by UC, CSU and CCC faculty.
  • Khan Academy: This resource offers open educational resources primarily in mathematics and science but has expanded to include other subject areas. These 3,000 plus online videos are self paced and allow students to focus on the specific lessons they need help with.
  • MERLOT: This massive resource offers access to learning objects, full course curricula, open access journals, assessment tools, open textbooks, discipline-specific pedagogical resources, and more. Material is peer reviewed, and reviewer and user comments are accessible to all.
  • OASIS: Openly Available Sources Integrated Search (OASIS) is a search tool that aims to make the discovery of open content easier. OASIS currently searches open content from 75 different sources and contains 176,005 records. OASIS is being developed at SUNY Geneseo's Milne Library.
  • OER Commons: Searchable open access repository of educational resources including full university courses, complete with readings, videos of lectures, homework assignments, and lecture notes; interactive mini-lessons and simulations about a specific topic, such as math or physics; adaptations of existing open work; and electronic textbooks that are peer-reviewed and frequently updated.
  • OpenOregon: Browse or search the table to find out what Oregon community college instructors are using to reduce textbook costs in their courses. If you see a name and email address, feel free to contact that person about their class.
  • Open Washington: Open Educational Resources (OER) network. This website has a comprehensive list of resources, information, and all the tools needed to adopt, remix, or author your own OER.
  • Smithsonian Open Access where you can download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images—right now, without asking. With new platforms and tools, you have easier access to nearly 3 million 2D and 3D digital items from our collections—with many more to come. This includes images and data from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo."

BCcampus: has a curated collection of open textbooks that align with the 40 highest enrolled post-secondary subject areas in British Columbia.

College Open Textbooks: A collection of colleges, governmental agencies, education non-profits, and other education-related organizations that are focused on the mission of driving awareness, adoptions, and affordability of open textbooks.

Community College Consortium: is an Open textbook collection more focused on Community College level materials, although many of them do contain those as well.


Is a multi-institutional collaborative venture to develop the next generation of open-access texts to improve postsecondary education at all levels of higher learning.

OpenStaxCollege: Great source of peer-reviewed textbooks. Tend to lean more toward the sciences. Usually have additional resources such as ppt slide shows and tests to go along with textbook.

The National Academies Press (NAP)

This is a great resource that provides textbooks on women and people of diverse backgrounds in the behavioral and social science division. All of the books on the National Academies Press site are available as freely downloadable PDFs.

OAPEN - Gender Studies, Gender Groups

Both a collection of open access publications and a publishing platform with a focus on social sciences and humanities.

Open Book Publishers

UK publishing imprint that provides free online access and low cost formatted and print access to titles with a special emphasis on humanities, digital humanities, and social sciences.

Open Textbook Library: This library is a tool to help instructors find affordable, quality textbook solutions. All textbooks in this library are complete and openly licensed.

Open TextBook Store: calls itself a “Store,” but they are not a publisher. It provides freely and openly available math textbooks created by Washington CTC faculty.


Hosted by the Wikimedia foundation, Wikibooks is an open content textbook collection spanning a variety of reading levels and disciplines.

Academic Earth: Find lectures and videos from some of the most respected instructors in the world.

LearningSpace from Open University: All of the learning materials presented on this site are CC licensed, but don't confuse "Learning Spaces" with the full Open University- their licensing/copyrights are different.

Lumen Learning: Use Lumen’s OER course materials to improve affordability, access, and student success. Lumen provides a simple, well-supported path for faculty to teach with open educational resources inside your LMS.

MIT OpenCourseWare: Offers approximately 2,000 courses in a range of disciplines, which include lecture notes, online textbook material, assignments and exams with answers, and multimedia. The course content is downloadable, with the exception of the video materials, through iTunes.

Open Courseware: An independent search engine that indexes open education classes from places like MIT, Yale and UMass.

Open Course Library: WA Open Course Library project offers 81 of Washington's most enrolled courses. There are a lot of great readings in these course files. Great community college content

Open Yale Courses: provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University.

Pressbooks OER

The BCcampus Open Education OER by Discipline Guide lists a wide range of open educational resources, including textbooks and courses, organized by discipline. Saylor offers full courses online. It can be really helpful to use the reading lists from Saylor to find and organize your courses.

TED ED: Lessons Worth Sharing

Search keywords and find educational videos on race, gender, and sexuality then create and share lessons using any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk or YouTube Video.

University Videos

This Digital Library portal contains the metadata of the YouTube Channels of the world's Top Universities.

Ecofeminism and Climate Change Ecofeminism and Climate Change publishes peer-reviewed interdisciplinary research articles on the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on women, the relationship between gender and the environment, and the ways in which women and nature have been similarly oppressed, published by Emerald Publishing.

Ethnic and Racial Studiesa peer-reviewed social science academic journal that publishes scholarly articles and book reviews on anthropology, cultural studies, ethnicity and race, and sociology, published by Taylor & Francis.

Ethnicity & Healtha peer-reviewed social science academic journal that publishes research exploring race and ethnic public health, medical, epidemiological, sociological, behavioral, psychological, and cultural issues, published by Taylor & Francis.

The International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion (IJIDI) presents wide­ ranging and multidisciplinary perspectives on the intersection of equity, social justice, and information. IJIDI is a quarterly, open access, online journal. sponsored by Information & Computer Science Dept. (Library & Information Science Program), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and Faculty of Information (iSchool), University of Toronto.

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies a peer-reviewed social science academic journal that publishes research on all forms of migration and its consequences, including ethnic conflict, discrimination, racism and policies of integration, published by Taylor & Francis.

Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity (JCSCORE) An interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal published by the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), a production of the University of Oklahoma Outreach.  

Lateral is the peer-reviewed, open access journal of the Cultural Studies Association.

SAGE Open is a peer-reviewed, "Gold" open access journal from SAGE that publishes original research and review articles in an interactive, open access format. Articles may span the full spectrum of the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities.


Calisphere provides free access to unique and historically important artifacts for research, teaching, and curious exploration. Discover over two million photographs, documents, letters, artwork, diaries, oral histories, films, advertisements, musical recordings, and more. Visit Calisphere: Ethnic Studies Library

The collections in Calisphere have been digitized and contributed by all ten campuses of the University of California and other important libraries, archives, and museums throughout the state.

Digital Classroom at NARA (National Archives and Records Administration)
Featuring primary-sources documents, classroom activities, and information on professional development for educators. To encourage teachers of students at all levels to use archival documents in the classroom, the Digital Classroom provides materials from the National Archives and methods for teaching with primary sources.

Digital Public Library of America

DPLA connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more—are free and immediately available in digital format.

Films for Action

Films For Action is a community-powered learning library for people who want to change the world. Films For Action has cataloged over 1,500 of the best films and videos that can be watched free online. These films address social, environmental, and media-related issues.


HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world.

The Human Rights Campaign

The Human Rights Campaign represents a force of more than 3 million members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Internet Archive: Digital Library

Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

Movement Advancement Project

Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. MAP’s work is focused on three primary areas:

PBS - The Talk: Race in America

This two-hour documentary is about the increasingly common conversation taking place in homes and communities across the country between parents of color and their children, especially sons, about how to behave if they are ever stopped by the police.

Project Gutenberg -Sociology Bookshelf

Project Gutenberg's list of Sociology books in the public domain, available freely online. Search topics such as sexual life, communities, and race.

Race & Ethnicity (Pew Research Center)

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. We conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. We do not take policy positions.

Racial Equity Tools
“Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.” Note that you will need to create a free account to access materials.

SPLC - Hate and Extremism

The SPLC is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.

Zinn Education Project
Free teaching materials on various history lessons from a “people’s history” perspective. Downloads of PDFs are free, but require registration (also no-cost) on the website. Please note these teaching materials are NOT under a Creative Commons license.