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Resources for Ethnic and Area Studies

Multicultural Flag Place Setting with Chopsticks and Fork Cards with Flags of Many Countries

This guide points out some of the reference materials available--both print and electronic--that have an emphasis on diversity or focus on a particular culture group. It is by no means complete, but serves as a sampling of what the reference collection offers; don't hesitate to ask a librarian for assistance if you aren't finding what you need.

Please note that many books on international affairs are shelved in the Hasselquist International Studies Room, directly behind the reference desk.

Table of Contents:

Indexes, Bibliographies and Databases
  • Academic Search Premier
    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database, Academic Search Premier indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage also includes many newspapers and popular magazines and spans virtually every area of academic study since 1975. Updated daily. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). View our Academic Search Premier tutorial.
    1975-present; updated daily
  • Bibliography of Asian Studies
    Ann Arbor: Assocaition for Asian Studies 1956-
    A very thorough annual bibliography of publications on Asian studies in the European languages. Arranged by country with subdivisions by topic.
    • Location(s): DS 5 .B49
  • HLAS Online
    The Handbook of Latin American Studies is an online annotated bibliography on Latin America edited by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress. Coverage alternates annually between the social sciences and the humanities. Over 5,000 new references are added each year.
  • Kaiser Index to Black Resources, 1948-1986
    New York: Carlson 1992
    This index offers a unique perspective on twentieth century African American history, but using it can require taking special steps. It was created originally to index the contents of publications at the Schomburg Center, a branch of the New York Public Library that has a uniquely rich collection on African American culture. Some of the articles and books indexed in this set can be obtained through normal interlibrary loan channels, but many are so rare that we would have to contact the Schomburg center to arrange for photocopying. If you plan to use this amazing resource, plan to start your research early and work with a librarian to find the materials it indexes.
    • Location(s): Ref E185 .K34 1992
  • LexisNexis Academic
    Search current news, business information (including business news and corporate financials), and legal news and information. International news sources are also included. Also includes an Ethnic News database that can be searched separately.
    Coverage varies by title; mostly 1980s-present
  • Web of Science (Web of Knowledge)
    The Science Citation Index Expanded, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Besides indexing a wide range of journals in the sciences, social sciences, and history, this resource allows you to search for articles that cite a specific author or published work. Coverage from 1997 to the present. Click on the "Web of Science" tab to limit your search to one or more specific citation databases.
  • Racism in Contemporary America
    Westport: Greenwood 1996
    A bibliography of books, articles, government documents, and other resources organized into broad topics such as affirmative action, class structure, segregation, stereotypes, etc. There is also a detailed subject index that cross references references by ethnic group. Note that publications more recent than the mid-1990s will not be included.
    • Location(s): Ref E 185.61 .W46 1996
Reference Works
  • Diversity in the United States
    • General
      • American Immigrant Cultures: Builders of a Nation
        New York: Macmillan 1997
        Covers culture groups from Acadians to Zoroastrians, covering each group's defining features, patterns of cultural variation, immigration history, demographics, cultural characteristics, and relevant published literature.
        • Location(s): Ref E184.A1 A63448 1997
      • Civil Rights in the United States
        New York: Macmillan Reference USA 2000
        Entries include biographical sketches, organizations, legislation, major historical events and terms related to civil rights.
        • Location(s): Ref E184.A1 C47 2000
      • Dictionary of Race, Ethnicity and Culture
        London: Sage Publications 2003
        Although called a dictionary, this resource contains longer entries covering a variety of terms and concepts including acculturation, eurocentrism, melting pot, racism and tolerance.
        • Location(s): Ref GN495.6.D53 2003
      • Encyclopedia of American Immigration
        Armonk: Sharpe 2010
        Covers historical and contemporary issues in immigration policy, provides coverage of social and cultural issues and background on specific immigrant groups. The final section reproduces key legal documents from the US Constitution to late twentieth-century immigration legislation and executive orders. (Note: Gustavus is missing volume 2 of this set.)
        • Location(s): Ref JV 6465 .E53 2010
      • Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America
        Detroit: Gale 2000 2nd ed. edition
        Offers over 150 substantial essays on ethnic groups in the U. S., covering origins, circumstances of arrival, family, community, culture, economy, politics, and significant contributions. Each essay ends with a bibliography and contacts for further research.
        • Location(s): Ref E 184 .A1 G14 2000
      • Racial and Ethnic Relations in America
        Pasadena, California: Salem Press 2000
        Arranged like an encyclopedia, this three-volume set includes entries about theories and terms concerning racial relations, ethnic groups, historical events, current events, current and historical legislation, ethnic participation in the arts, and ethnic organizations.
        • Location(s): Ref E49.R33 2000
      • American Ethnic Literatures: Native American, African American, Chicano/Latino, and Asian American Writers and their Backgrounds: An Annotated Bibliography
        Pasdena: Salem 1992
        A useful guide to the literature, offering annotated leads to a wealth of information on writers and their works.
        • Location(s): Ref PS 153 .M56 P43 1992
    • African-Americans
      • African-American Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
        Westport, CT: Greenwood Press 1996
        A collections of essays that profile the life and work of African American speakers in substantial essays written by specialists. Each entry is followed by a list of information sources and a chronology of speeches.
        • Location(s): Ref E185.96 .A447 1996
      • African American Writers
        New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 2001
        Biographies of authors and critical examinations of their works are included in this resource.
        • Location(s): Ref PS153.N5 A344 2001
      • Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience
        New York: Oxford 2005 2nd ed. edition
        A rich compendium of information about the African diaspora edited by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates.
        • Location(s): Ref DT14 .A37435 2005
      • Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: the Black Experience in the Americas
        New York: Simon and Schuster Macmillan 2006 2nd edition
        A wide-ranging encyclopedia covering people, places, events, concepts, and topics of all sorts. Articles are written by specialists and have useful bibliographies.
        • Location(s): Ref E 185 .E54 2006
      • Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass
        This 3-volume set documents the range of the African American experience in the 17th through 19th centuries. It covers the influence of the African American experience on culture, history, and national identity.
        • Location(s): Ref E185 .E545 2006
      • Encyclopedia of African American Religions
        New York: Garland 1993
        Offers substantial articles on people, organizations, churches, and topics such as "preaching and the preacher in African American Religion" and "theology, black." Includes chronology and introductory essays as well as a thorough bibliography.
        • Location(s): Ref BR 563 .E53 1993
    • Asian-Americans
      • Asian American Almanac
        Detroit: Gale 1995
        This resource is a compendium of social, historical, cultural and statistical information on Asian Americans that includes chronologies and biographies.
        • Location(s): Ref E 184.O6 A824 1995
      • Atlas of Asian-American History
        New York: Facts on Files 2002
        Provides a history of Asians in America focusing on the issues of immigration, migration and racial discrimination. Many photographs, pictures, maps and charts accompany the text. Focuses on major immigrant groups including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Asian-Indian, Filipino and Southeast Asian peoples.
        • Location(s): Ref E184.O6 A89 2002
    • Latino-Americans
      • Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture, and Society in the United States
        Danbury: Grolier 2005
        Covers Latinos in the United states in over 650 essays that tackle topics from baseball to Zorro, significant places, groups of people, event, and more. The fourth volume includes significant primary source documents.
        • Location(s): Ref E 184 .S75 E587 2005
      • Hispanic-American Almanac
        Detroit: Gale 2003 3rd ed. edition
        Includes an historical overview, information on Spanish explorers, selections from historical documents, and information n social and cultural issues.
        • Location(s): Ref E 184 .S75 H557 2003
      • Handbook of Hispanic Culture in the United States
        Houston: Arte Publico 1993
        A survey of art, history, sociology, and anthropology of Hispanic Americans. Articles are lengthy and well-illustrated.
        • Location(s): Ref E184.S75 H365 1993
      • Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States
        New York: Oxford 2005
        Provides lengthy, scholarly articles on all aspects of the topic, including intellectual, social, cultural, and political issues.
        • Location(s): Ref E 184 .S75 O97 2005
    • Native Americans
      • Dictionary of Native American Literature
        New York: Garland 1994
        For biographical and critical information about Native American authors and their works. Bibliographies included for further research.
        • Location(s): Ref PM 155 .D53 1994
      • Documents of American Indian Diplomacy: Treaties, Agreements, and Conventions, 1775-1979
        Norman: University of Okahoma 1999
        A collection of legal and diplomatic documents, including analysis and context. A remarkable collection that builds on Kappler's Indian Affairs, Laws and Treaties (Ref KF8203 1972b). This work is edited by Vine Deloria, Jr. and Raymond J. DeMallie.
        • Location(s): Ref KF 8202 1999
      • Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes
        Detroit: Gale 1998
        Offers surveys of tribes, including history, migration, subsistence, modern history, and current issues. Use the index to locate nations that may have more than one name in use (e.g. Anishinabe / Ojibwe / Chippewa).
        • Location(s): Ref E77 .G15 1998
      • Dictionary of Native American Mythology
        Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio 1992
        A quick place to locate basic information about figures, events, and topics in Native North American mythology, from all tribes and periods. Includes a useful bibliography.
        • Location(s): Ref E 98 .R3 G46 1992
      • Biographical Dictionary of American Indian History to 1900
        New York: Facts on File 2001
        Includes entries on American Indians and non-Indians including allies, scholars and policy-makers. Includes indexes, which list entries by tribe, area of activity, topic and historical period.
        • Location(s): Ref E 89.W35 2001
      • Native American Literatures: An Encyclopedia of Works, Characters, Authors, and Themes
        Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO 1999
        Provides entries on major authors, their works and characters.
        • Location(s): PS 153. 152 W47 1999
    • International Resources
      • Colonialism: An International Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia
        Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio 2003
        3 vols. An interdisciplinary approach to "cultural concepts and intellectual ideas crucial to an understanding of colonialism in the modern world." Covers key geographical and cultural concepts, as well as significant individuals, movements, and events. A number of primary source documents are included in the third volume.
        • Location(s): Ref JV 22 .C65 2003
      • Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English
        London: Routledge 1994
        Offers articles on writers, genres by nationality or region, and topics such as "censorship." Entries were compiled by an international group of specialists and are intended to cover literatures in English from parts of the world influenced by imperialism from the moment of colonization to the present. Many of the writers covered are not profiled in other reference works.
        • Location(s): Ref PR 9080 .A52 E53 1994
      • Encyclopedia of World Cultures
        Boston: G.K. Hall 1991
        Covers over 1500 culture groups, alphabetically arranged within regions. The information summarizes information on the distribution, belief systems, kinship structures, and history of the groups and provides selective bibliographies for further research. Consult the index to determine the appropriate name for a particular culture group.
        • Location(s): Ref GN 550 .E53 1991
    • Area Studies - Africa
      • Africa Contemporary Record: Annual Survey and Documents
        New York: Africana 1967
        A series that profiles African nations in detail and provides reprints of important documents relating to the continent on an annual basis. It is slow and intermittent in its publication, so don't rely on this source for the most current data.
        • Location(s): Ref DT1 .L43
      • New Encyclopedia of Africa
        New York: Scribner's 2008
        Covers the peoples, civilizations, and history of Africa. Articles cover countries, individuals, ethnic groups, and many topics such as African art, transportation, gender, ecosystems, symbolism, and religion.
        • Location(s): Ref DT2 .N48 2008
      • Encyclopedia of African History and Culture
        New York: Facts on File 2005
        Each volume covers a different period in African history, from ancient times to independence. Within each volume brief articles cover countries, ethnic groups, important historical figures, events, and concepts. For each volume, there are maps and chronologies for the period covered. Both North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa are included in coverage.
        • Location(s): Ref DT 3 .P27 2005
    • Area Studies - Middle East and Asia
      • Encyclopedia of Asian History
        New York: Scribner 1988
        Discusses people, places, events, and topics in detailed and well-documented essays, covering Central Asia, South Asia, and the Far East.
        • Location(s): Ref DS 31 .E53 1987
      • Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture
        New York: Routledge 2005
        Provides background on a wide variety of topics, from architecture and city planning to ethnicity and ethnic identity; from food to film, from political culture to religion.
        • Location(s): Ref DS 779.23 .E53 2005
      • Encyclopedia of Modern Asia
        New York: Scribner's 2002
        Intended to be the most comprehensive standard reference work on the region, this set covers East, Southeast, South, Central, and West-Southwest Central Asia, from Japan to Turkey, Khazakstan to Indonesia. The focus in on the twentieth century, with articles covering places, peoples, geography, the arts, economics, religion, and more.
        • Location(s): Ref DS 4 .L48 2002
      • Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa
        Detroit: Thomson Gale 2004 2nd ed. edition
        Covers a wide variety of topics in politics, history, economics, religion, sociology, culture, and geography of 23 predominantly Muslim countries. Articles are intended for a non-specialist readership, and controversial issues are covered in a non-partisan manner.
        • Location(s): Ref DS 43 .E53 2004
    • Area Studies - Europe
      • Encyclopedia of European Social History from 1350 to 2000
        New York: Scribner 2001
        6 vols. Offers substantial, well-documented survey essays on topics such as social change, urban and rural life, gender, popular culture, religion, and everyday life.
        • Location(s): Ref HN373 .E63 2001
      • Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture
        London: Routledge 1998
        Covers various facets of French culture including film, intellectual life, media, music, performing arts and politics. Provides brief biographies of major figures in French culture.
        • Location(s): Ref DC 33.7 .E53 1998
      • Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe from the Congress of Vienna to the Fall of Communism
        New York: Garland 2000
        Offers long essays on the countries and regions of Eastern Europe as well as shorter entries on history, geography, culture, concepts, and prominent figures.
        • Location(s): Ref DJK 6 .E53 2000
      • Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia
        New York: Garland 2001
        Though its focus is primarily on political developments, this set also covers cultural, economic, and social trends since World War II. Short, well-documented articles on prominent people, places, events, and institutions.
        • Location(s): Ref D 1051 .E97 2001
    • Area Studies - Latin America
      • Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture
        New York: Scribner's 1996 2nd edition
        The 5,000+ articles in this resource give a remarkably complete overview of current knowledge about the region. Entries are arranged alphabetically by country, by topic (such as slavery, art, Asians in Latin America), and biographically. Articles are written by experts and are followed by selective bibliographies.
        • Location(s): Ref F 1406 .E53 2008
      • Milenios de México
        Mexico: Hoja Casa Editorial 1999
        A lavishly illustrated resource in dictionary form on Mexican culture and history. Written in Spanish, this resource covers important Mexican current and historical figures, organizations, places, and a variety of topics related to Mexico.
        • Location(s): Ref F1204 .M955 1999 (3 vols.)
Browsing for Books
Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. You may want to supplement your use of the catalog with browsing shelf areas for your topic. Below is a brief listing of some of the subject locations in the field of ethnic and area studies.
  • DA-DR European States individually
  • DS Asia
    • 35-392 Middle East and Central Asia
    • 401-486 India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal
    • 501-689 Southeast Asia
    • 701-799 China
    • 801-897 Japan
  • DT Africa
    • 43-179 Northern Africa
    • 181-363 Central Africa
    • 365-469 East Africa
    • 470-720 West Africa
    • 727-971 Southern Africa
  • DU Oceania (south seas) and Australia
  • E North American History (primarily United States)
    • 51-99 Native Americans
    • 184.5-185.98 African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, etc.
    • 441-453 Slavery in the United States; antislavery movements
  • F 1-975 United States' local history
    • 1201-2191 Latin America
    • 2201-3799 South America
  • G Geography

A note about subject headings
There are a number of ways of describing a particular ethnic or minority group, which can make searching for books in the catalog tricky. The Library of Congress subject headings attempt to keep books under a topic under the same headings, so they are slow to change and don't always reflect current usage. For example, catalogers don't use "Latino" or "Latina" but "Hispanic;" not "Native Americans" but "Indians of North America." The subject headings listed at the end of a book record in the catalog can tell you which headings are in use, or you can consult the Library of Congress Subject Headings list, available in print near the reference desk or online.

  • Hmong Center
    A Web site for the Hmong Cultural and Resource Center in St. Paul. Includes cultural information, a virtual museum, publications and events, and information for refugees and resettlement.
  • The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
    The Website of "one of the nation's premier research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses exclusively on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color." A good source of news, analysis, and statistics on race in America.
  • Pew Hispanic Center 2007
    Based at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication. Includes the text of several reports, as well as information on demographics, economics, labor, immigration, education, health, and Latinos in the military.
  • Asian American Studies Resources 2007
    Maintained by Daniel C. Tsang at the University of California, Irvine. A no-frills list of links to bibliographies, publications, research institutes, movements, gay Asian resources, and more.
World Regional Resources
  • Africa South of the Sahara 1994-2007
    Maintained by Karen Fung for the African Studies Association. Selected, annotated sites arranged by country and topic, with sources for current news from Africa.
  • Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library 1994-2007
    Edited by T. Matthew Ciolek at the Australian National University. Covers information on all regions of Asia and the Middle East. This site is comprehensive, frequently updated, and highly organized by an alphabetical index and a hierarchical topical index.
  • Center for World Indigenous Studies 1994-2007
    Offers information on various indigenous peoples and the issues of political and cultural identity and nationhood. Of particular note is the Fourth World Docu-Program, which provides full-text documents related to communities around the world as well as relevant international and multilateral documents.
  • IRIN News: Horn of Africa 2007
    News reports on events in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Horn of Africa region in general. Covers conflicts (such as the Ethiopia-Somalia conflict), food security, weather events, disease outbreaks, humanitarian aid, and related topics. From the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) of the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (description from
  • LANIC: Latin American Network Information Center 1992-2007
    From the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin. Provides over 12,000 links to quality Web resources for Latin America, arranged by country or by topic, such as economy, education, and government.
  • PAIR: Portal to Asian Internet Resources 2005
    A joint project undertaken by the libraries of the universities of Minnesota, Wisconsin-Madison, and Ohio State, this searchable database catalogs quality Web resources originating in Asia, including Central, South, South-East, and East Asia. Resources are also browseable by country.
  • Political Database of the Americas
    A digital project from Georgetown University’s Center for Latin American Studies and the Secretariat for Political Affairs of the Organization of American States. This database includes a wide range of documents from countries located in the Americas, such as national constitutions, judicial documents, and information on civil society. Materials are available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
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