Diversity and Inclusion resources

Welcome to our diversity and inclusion resources page. With students in 180 countries worldwide, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the University of London’s mission to transform lives through education. 

The Library team has put together a carefully curated set of resources that celebrate diversity and inclusion, which we hope will interest, inspire and inform. 

If you have any suggestions for resources to be included on this page, we would welcome you sharing them with us.


Ten LGBTQ+ Books you might not know you can read in the Online Library - Pride Month June 2024

What makes the University of London exceptional is our rich diversity crossing populations, religions, locations, gender and racial identities. As part of LGBTQ+ Pride month, we are sharing a few books available via the Online Library, which cover some of the global spectrum of life experiences within the LGBTQ+ community.


1.“Noël Coward Screenplays : In Which We Serve, Brief Encounter, the Astonished Heart” by P Noël Coward and Barry Day

Read it here in E-Book Central

Read the words, laugh and cry with this compendium of the best works of one of the most glamourous glorious gays of history and certainly one of the most playful playwrights…the notorious Noël Coward.


2. “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf

Read it here in VLeBooks

A day in Mrs. Dalloway’s world shares an inside view of not only British Society but a quite secluded lesbian life between the wars in Virginia Woolf’s famous 1920s classic.


3. “Gay Bar: The Fabulous, True Story of a Daring Woman and Her Boys in the 1950s” by Will Fellows and Helen Branson

Read it here in Project MUSE (open access)

Vivacious, unconventional, candid, and straight, Helen Branson operated a gay bar in Los Angeles in the 1950s—America’s most anti-gay decade. After years of fending off drunken passes as an entertainer in cocktail bars, this divorced grandmother preferred the wit, variety, and fun she found among homosexual men (review courtesy of Project Muse).


4. “Transgender Emergence : Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and Their Families”, by Arlene Istar Lev, and Valerie Jowett

Read it here in E-Book Central

This book is a insightful guide for anyone wanting to support and better understand the challenges of Gender-Variant folks.


5. “Queer Turkey: Transnational Poetics of Desire” by Ralph J. Poole

Read it here in JSTOR (open access) 

Follow the author as he explores the secret worlds of Turkey’s gay subculture from hammam to the club scene and it’s embrace of international homo- literati such as James Baldwin.


6. “An Iranian gay photographer's journey of survival”, by Mariam, A. (2023) Global Voices Online, Singer Island: Newstex.

Read it here in International Newsstream (ProQuest)

Follow the true story of Ashkan Shabani. Shabani was very brave to share his story in this article, where the author candidly confides with readers the joys and struggles behind his long term gay relationship and bravely reveals the abuse he experienced within his family of origin.


7. Queer Voices in Hip Hop: Cultures, Communities, and Contemporary Performance by Lauron J. Kehrer

Read it here in JSTOR (open access)

Long dubbed the “King of Misogynistic Music”, Hip Hop and Rap’ s secret subsocieties are exposed to bring document stories of the awakening or conscious recognition of a homosexual representation in Hip Hop and Rap culture from Le1F’s performance on David Letterman to Lil Nas X ever changing and fluid choice of sexuality. This book opens up a world of thought and recognition for all genders and sexualities represented within Rap culture in front of or behind the scenes.


8. Queer African Cinemas, by Green-Simms (2022) 1st edn, Duke University Press, Durham. 

Read it here in Project MUSE (open access)

Through charting the films made by and about gay Africans from the turn of the century through till current times, the author presents a strong case of the changing dynamic of independent film with the iconic Hollywood screenplay’s heroic struggles being replaced by more vulnerable and true to life human experiences.


9. Envisioning global LGBT human rights : (neo)colonialism, neoliberalism, resistance and hope by Nancy Nicol (01/01/2018)

Read it here in JSTOR (open access)  

Based on a unique project, combining both research, first hand writings and documentary filmmaking. This book is brimming with private reflections and public experiences of current sexual politics in India, the Caribbean and Africa as it follows the SOGI issues through to the United Nations.


10. Horrigan, Patrick E (01/01/1999). Widescreen dreams : growing up gay at the movies 

Read it here in JSTOR (open access)

Trail along Horrigan’s life journey from childhood to his openly gay male adult life. This unique biography  sets the scene for Horrigan’s coming out and takes readers on an insider tour of his life via a fantastical journey through some of the most famous films 1960s and 1970s: Hello Dolly!, The Sound of Music, The Poseidon Adventure, Dog Day Afternoon and of course, the Wiz.


Women's History Month - March 2024

March is Women’s History Month and since more than half of our students do just happen to be and/or identify as women – It's time to fête these females!  To celebrate just how diverse women are...we thought we’d share some fun and fascinating stories for inspiration from the Online Library collections. 

Book cover for English Arisocratic Women and the Fabric of Piety

This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).


Harris, B. J. (2018). English Aristocratic Women and the Fabric of Piety, 1450-1550.Amsterdam University Press. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv5rf72s


This book reveals the York and early Tudor aristocratic women, who were the driving force behind the birth of the renaissance in Britain. Transforming not only churches but all sorts of and other favourite religious institutions including tombs, stained-glass windows, chantry chapels, altars and even alms-houses. They provided everything from architecture, sculpture, stained glass, engraving, textiles and even plate ornaments.


Book cover for Women Making History

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).


Allen, J.M. & Cohen, J.H. 2023, Women Making History: The Revolutionary Feminist Postcard Art of Helaine Victoria Press, Lever Press

Women Making History: The Revolutionary Feminist Postcard Art of Helaine Victoria Press on JSTOR


“My passion for knowing about women’s history prompted me to begin a publishing company and press devoted to researching and printing images and stories about unsung heroines”  Jocelyn Cohen on what started as a postcard project and wound up becoming a grassroots campaign for all women.


 Many of those unknown women artists you might recognize today include Diane Arbus, Isabella Duncan, Artemesia Gentileschi, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, and George Elliot, composer Margaret Bonds and many more inspiring influential women.



Book cover for Women and Work in Predindustrial Europe

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Hanawalt, B. 1986, Women and Work in Preindustrial Europe, Indiana University Press, Bloomington

Women and Work in Preindustrial Europe on JSTOR


From Ale Wives to Gold Spinners, this book seeks to uncover and share the undiscovered mysteries of what medieval women did for work.



A woman looking at her phone


White, D.G. 2009;2008;2014;, Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower, 1;1st; edn, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.Link


Moving, vulnerable and deeply intimate, seventeen different Black Women Historians share their stories of unexpected challenges and the actions they independently took to address and stop racism and sexism on college campuses. 


Women and Public Life in Early Meiji Japan

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).


Patessio, M. & Michigan Publishing (University of Michigan) 2020;2011;, Women and Public Life in Early Meiji Japan : The Development of the Feminist Movement, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Women and Public Life in Early Meiji Japan: The Development of the Feminist Movement on JSTOR


A fascinating read on an underrated era! Just after the notorious Edo period made famous by Shogun and the Samurai and in paralleled timing with their suffragette sisters of the West, Patessio’s book follows the journey of Japanese women in the Meiji period as women begin to enter the public domain, gaining access to further education and eventually becoming active in politics.



Book cover for Maori and Aboriginal Women in the Public Eye

NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).


Fox, K. 2011, Maori and Aboriginal Women in the Public Eye : Representing Difference, 1950–2000, 1st edn, ANU Press, Canberra.

Māori and Aboriginal Women in the Public Eye: Representing Difference, 1950-2000 on JSTOR


This trove is a 20th century encyclopaedia of modern Maori and Aboriginal women of achievement. Karen Fox’s easy and inspiring read spans from the birth of Princess Te Puea all the way to Cathy Freedman’s run for Olympic gold in 2000 with nods to the Opera Diva Kiri Te Kanawa and of course, the ‘Maori mother of the nation’ Whina Cooper.


Book cover for Women and Romance

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).


Langbauer, L. 1990, Women and Romance: The Consolations of Gender in the English Novel, Cornell University Press, Ithaca.

Women and Romance: The Consolations of Gender in the English Novel on JSTOR


Not for the light of heart, this book may have started life as an exercise in radical feminist confirmation bias…but don’t knock it till you try it.  While chapter titles like “Streetwalkers and Home Bodies” and “Recycling Patriarchy’s Garbage” might smack of angry click bait,  the truth is these authors love literature and keep finding patterns of projected romance that continue in the linguistics of the publishing machine today.. A great book for any ascendant young writer or editor wanting to make the most of their work by taking a critical eye to the world where they live.


Book cover for Women Poets and the American Sublime

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Diehl, J. 1990, Women Poets and the American Sublime, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

Women Poets and the American Sublime on JSTOR


Sublime is not a word that springs to mind for anyone, who has walked the wintry wind tunnels of darkness across that cavernously cold campus called Amherst College… but Emily Dickinson has a strangely seductive way of engaging audiences with her almost alien and singularly spinster life. Readers will also find new and verbose insights into the works of Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop and culminating in that other Massachusetts moody maven, Sylvia Plath.



Book cover for Women writers and old age in Great Britain

“licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


Looser, D. 2008, Women Writers and Old Age in Great Britain, 1750-1850, 1st edn, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Project MUSE - Women Writers and Old Age in Great Britain, 1750–1850 (jhu.edu)


This groundbreaking study explores the later lives and late-life writings of more than two dozen British women authors in the eighteenth century. 


Women protesting in Egypt

"International women day in Egypt" by Al Jazeera English is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


Badran, M. & American Council of Learned Societies 2001;1996;1994;1995;, Feminists, Islam, and nation: gender and the making of modern Egypt, 1st edn, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Link


This book follows feminism’s role in the building of the Egypt of today and tomorrow. Marked with historic accuracy and branded in stories of bravery and belief, this is not a book to be missed by any scholar of modern day Middle Eastern history. 



Bok cover of Women in the silent cinema

NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).


Forster, A. 2017;2016;, Women in the Silent Cinema : Histories of Fame and Fate, 1st edn, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam.

Women in the Silent Cinema: Histories of Fame and Fate on JSTOR


Annette Föster proves herself the true expert on the silent sirens of the silver screen. With all her work taken from primary sources, viewers get a rare glimpse into the lives of Adriënne Solser, Musidora, and Nell Shipman. As their lives change with the moving movie industry, so does the world around them.



Women at Paris sidewalk cafe

"Women at Paris sidewalk cafe" by Signe Karin is licensed under CC BY 2.0.



Benstock, S. 1976, Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900-1940, 1st edn, University of Texas Press, Austin.Link


This book is a critically acclaimed best seller because you can’t put it down. Author, Shari Benstock manages to collect and collate the stories of over two dozen women artists, writers, bohemians and even art collectors (Gertrude Stein). It is a who’s who of bohemian and brazen babes of the modernist movement.  If you like the Artsy Life or Paris or Bohemians or just fab Influencers, this book reveals all for readers to delight in dissecting. 


Enjoy and Happy Women’s History Month! 


Disability History Month - November 2023

In honour of Disability History month, the Online Library is sharing a few interesting reads from our collection that focus on various issues related to disabilities, ableism and how we can better include people with all disabilities into our global community. If there is a particular title, you feel might help promote Disability Awareness, please feel free to send us a suggestion.

The Online Library has written a short accessibility guide with tips on how to make the most of Online Library resources, such as activating text-to-speech features to help those who are visually impaired.


More Than Medals: A History of the Paralympics and Disability Sports in Postwar Japan by Dennis Frost (2022)

Follow the creation and success of the Paralympics. Hear the inspiring tale of how one town’s choice to embrace competitive wheelchair racing led to a massive tourism boom.


Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education by Jay T.  Dolmage (2017) 

The book that has started the movement for Academia to openly include and public acknowledge those with disabilities in the community. Dolmage’s well researched piece shows the evolution of Academia’s awkward history with it’s workers with disabilities.


Ableism in Academia by Nicole Brown & Jennifer Lee  (2020)  

Similar in it’s focus to Dolmage’s book  but with a personal approach, this book is filled with personal stories and interviews of academics dealing with their disabilities in the modern day workplace. 


Gellman, Irwin (01/01/2019). Secret Affairs: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull, and Sumner Welle  

Read the secret techniques President Roosevelt had to incorporate to hide his polio from the public and the media in order to avoid the ableism of the early and mid-twentieth century.


"Peter Dinklage"People magazine, 60 (15), p. 115. 

Read this inspiring piece on how actor, Peter Dinklage has broken discrimination barriers and taken audiences from viewing him as ‘Special Needs’ to ‘Special and Spectacular’ in roles ranging from “Star Wars” to “Hunger Games” and “Game of Thrones”.


Teaching Myself To See by Tito Mukhopadhyay (2021)

Follow the author as he gives examples of what it’s like to live with autism in his visually selective world (always processing the overwhelming onslaught of details). Tito openly shares his story with readers to help them better understand first-hand how he manages to navigate our world in a “hyper-visual” way.


Black Disability Politics by Sami Schalk (2022)

Incorporating data from both the Black Panther Party Archives and National Black Women’s Health Project (USA), Schalk draws from her research to identify the key challenges to creating anti-racist/anti-sexist and anti-ableist health care provision in public health initiatives.


Apgar, A. 2023, The Disabled Child: Memoirs of a Normal FutureUniversity of Michigan Press

Amanda Apgar takes on the tough role of breaking down the disparity in parental memoirs of life with a disabled child….and what we can learn to help all families struggling to incorporate their children into a productive and safe world.


Robertson, M., Ley, A. & Light, E. 2019, The First into the Dark: The Nazi Persecution of the DisabledUTS ePress.   

This book details a darker time when anyone with a disability was a potential medical experiment under Nazi doctors’ supposed ‘studies and treatments’.


Grover & Piggott 2015, Disabled People, Work and Welfare1st edn, Policy Press, Bristol. 

The experiences of people with diverse disabilities working in three cultures (Australia, America and Scotland) are interwoven, compared and contrasted for an easy read allowing the reader to come to their own conclusions on what works and what doesn’t and what to do next.


Krull, H. & Oguz, M. 2014, Health and Economic Outcomes in the Alumni of the Wounded Warrior Project: 2010–20121st edn, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica

This qualitative study provides an analysis of the Wounded Warrier Project.  An exciting read about the new sciences incorporated into healing trauma and finding ways for former members of the active military to re-enter society.


Fries, K. 2021, In the Province of the GodsThe University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.

Kenny Fries opens up about his own experience as a disabled foreigner in Japan. His real life journey including many meetings along his path, where it is slowly illuminated that the Japanese have already very subtly created a form of inclusion with disabled gods,  one-eyed samurai, blind chanting priests and a few more modern surprises than he expects.


Series, L. 2022;2021;, Deprivation of Liberty in the Shadows of the Institution1st edn, Bristol University Press, Bristol.

What may start out as a dark read on the history of Victorian social care turns into a thoughtful and compassionate suggestion for the present. Author, Lucy Series takes readers on an insightful journey through the history of mental illness and mental health care challenges. 


Razza, N.J. & Tomasulo, D.J. 2005, Healing trauma: The power of group treatment for people with intellectual disabilitiesAmerican Psychological Association, Washington;US;DC;

Nancy Razza is an expert author of many inspiring books covering everything in psychotherapy related to the challenges of individual dealings with intellectual disabilities.  Many of Nancy Razza’s other works are also available for Psychology students via the Online Library’s APA Psych Books database.


Black History Month – October 2023

Reading List

Peter Fryer. Staying Power: This History of Black People in Britain. 2010

This book provides a historically accurate and fascinatingly detailed history of Black peoples in Britain. Brimming with vibrant details from the times of the Romans leading up to stories of present day. Peter Fryer’s comprehensive research illuminates readers with how Africans, Asians, and their descendants, previously hidden from history, have influenced and been an active (if unrecognised) part of all of Britain’s history.


Desmond Tutu. God has a dream: a vision of hope for our time. 2005

The beauty of this book is that it is not political and it was written for audiences of all religions. Tutu uses his words to inspire everyone to have hope and dreams, reminding us that the way to a peaceful and harmonious future comes from hope, dreams, and faith.


David Leeming. James Baldwin: A Biography. 2015

Arguably one of the most eloquent speakers of 20th century America, this book chronicles the fascinating life and heritage of author, television icon and media persona James Baldwin, who used his artistic medium to challenge racism, not only against Black people but often on more than one occasion challenge antisemitism and promote gay rights.


Barak Obama. A Promised Land. 2020

President Obama shares his rare upbringing in Indonesia and then Hawaii. Raised by a single American mother and with a distant but loving African father in Kenya, President Obama shares his transition to university and law school, meeting and courting his wife, the road to the White House and life on the world stage. The former president is very open about his relationship with wife, Michelle, and their worries as parents of two girls, growing up in the public eye. This book brings readers an insightful view of the racial, class and economic divides that exists in today’s America but also the opportunities for growth, success and change as this new country grows to value and embrace its richly diverse culture. 


Michelle Obama. Becoming. 2018

If you want a fun and inspiring read, this is the book for you. Chock-full of anecdotes from the President of the United States leaving his socks all over the house to refusing to help her husband run for president unless her reluctant mother agreed to move into the White House. Michelle Obama openly shares funny but also very tough stories about her upbringing, her studies and the challenges she faced as one of a handful of black women in a top law firm, balancing being a working mom and her transition to becoming a first lady.


Simone Biles. Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, a Life in Balance. 2016

It takes courage to win the Olympics four times, but it takes more courage to talk openly about the challenges that Simone Biles suffered and overcame to become a world class gymnast. In this book, she opens about her experiences being raised in foster care, her adoption by her grandparents and the subsequent loss of her grandmother. When asked about her secret to success, Biles repeatedly credits faith and her family. This book is an easy and inspiring read and a great study break.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Americanah. 2014

Shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s prize for fiction, this book is a thought-provoking novel about race and immigration. This book may be more inspired by author Adichie’s personal experiences than any other. Having attended both university in Nigeria and then managing to transfer to the United States (where she lived near family) with master’s degrees from both Yale and Johns Hopkins, Adichie openly takes from her experiences of being black in Africa vs. being African in Black America. Much like her previous works, Americanah addresses how globalization has affected many West Africans’ opportunities and the challenges to their religious, cultural, and ethnic identity.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Purple hibiscus: a novel. 2012

Author Adichie’s debut novel takes readers into the closed walls of life under revolution through the eyes of a young girl navigating family, religion and cultural identity while wrestling with adolescence in a traditional male dominated home before war in her native Nigeria. Fate brings profound change to Kambili, when she is sent away to live with her aunt, discovering more about herself, her culture and her own family than she expected.


Margot Lee Shetterly. Hidden figures: the untold story of the African American women who helped win the space race. 2016

This book led to the Oscar nominated film Hidden Figures. It tells the true untold real-life stories of amazing African American women, as they struggled as the first generation of Black and female workers (and working mothers) in office jobs and how their perseverance and intelligence led them to became important contributors to the onset of NASA and the space race.


Toni Morrison. Beloved. 2014

This book won not only the Pulitzer Prize but was the catalyst for Toni Morrison receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature. Following the life and inner memories of Sethe, a female slave, and her harrowing story as once free and again a slave, Beloved depicts not only an accurate portrayal of African American history and its identity struggles; it also shares glimpses into the story of a woman living in slavery and the desecration of human relationships, and the beautiful and inherent ability of the slave community to create human bonds and form families regardless of blood.


Jason Miller. Langston Hughes. 2020                                                                                   

Jason Miller’s biography of poet Langston Hughes provides readers with not only an insight into one of the main artists driving the Harlem Renaissance but the life of all the artists living and working in Harlem.  Readers can view the little detailed burgeoning of middle-class Black America in the prosperous Sugar Hill neighbourhood and its many artistic contributions to American culture.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Half of a yellow sun. 2009

Set in Nigeria in the mid-1960s, Adichie’s second long awaited page turner follows the lives of three completely unrelated people as they struggle to survive the brutality and trauma of civil war and wind up intertwining into each other’s worlds. The author manages to provide a voyeuristic understanding of the three quite different characters confronted with struggle, loss, the onset of post-colonial ethic and racial structure and the class system that threads through the entire society.


Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye. 2014

Taking on the topics of race, abuse, the beauty myth, identity and trauma, Morrison uses her poetic and compassionate voice to share this story of a young black girl in the 1940s. All little about the author: through hard work and perseverance, Toni Morrison became the first black female editor in fiction for Random House, a top publisher in 1960s New York City. At that time, she was a single divorced mom. 


Langston Hughes. The Weary Blues. 2022

First published in 1925, Langston Hughes’s melancholic poetry incorporates the lyrical vernacular language of Harlem to depict the African American experience. Mr. Hughes was a poet, a playwright, an activist, a novelist, and a journalist. He also collaborated with fellow Harlem Renaissance composers such as Margaret Bonds, Florence Price and many famous performers including Duke Ellington and Paul Robeson. 


A.H. Lawrence. Duke Ellington and his World. 2001

Although many politicians and activists may take credit for bridging the gap between White and Black America, Duke Ellington may be one of the first African Americans to bring African American musical culture to the world. Biographer Lawrence shares with the world the exciting life. Raised by two pianists, Ellington’s mother in particular appreciated the importance of manners and dignity, insisting that Ellington always be well groomed and learn manners from her elegant lady friends while she played opera arias on the piano as accompaniment to their artistic and intellectual conversation. This book will provide any reader with a charming and inspiring, love filled journey through Ellington’s life, the exciting birth of the Harlem Renaissance and the birth of the only truly American musical form: jazz.


Clarence Bernard Henry. Quincy Jones: His Life in Music. 2013

Hear the story behind the man who produced Michael Jackson’s Thriller, award winning film The Color Purple and the television series Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  Quincy Jones is the man for whom the term EGOT was created – winning the Emmy, the Grammy (actually nominated for 74 Grammys), the Oscar and the Tony Award. This is his story of genius, charm, and determination. 


Other great reads

Black History Video Resources


Black Cultural Archives