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Research Guides

American Ethnic Studies: Background Resources

Resources for beginning research in American Ethnic Studies.

Background Resources

Background resources provide contextual information.  This category may include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, maps, statistical sources, and more.

Selected Web Sites

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Selected Print and Web Sources - Broad Coverage

Provides detailed definitions of terms and their historical origins.
  • Dictionary of race and ethnic relations
  • African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Jewish Americans, and Native Americans in film.
  • The Encyclopedia of ethnic groups in Hollywood
  • Provides coverage of human rights and civil liberties legally recognized in the United States. The 677 entries discuss civil rights issues from varied perspectives, and includes such broad topics as race, gender, age, medical status or conditions, physical and mental challenges, group membership, and religion.
  • Encyclopedia of civil rights in America [UW restricted]
  • This resource examines American history and society through the experience of diverse groups whose concerns and contributions have often been overlooked.
  • Encyclopedia of multiculturalism
  • Provides general overviews, summaries, and topical descriptions of multicultural education. Also available in electronic format
  • Encyclopedia of multicultural education
  • Gale virtual reference library [UW restricted]
    • Multicutural Studies included in the Gale Virtual Reference Library:

      Provides historical and current information on African American politics, society and culture.

      Provides analysis of the economic, political, sociological, historical, literary, and philosophical issues
    The Gale encyclopedia of multicultural America contains 152 original essays (about 8,000-12,000 words each) on specific minority and ethnic groups in the U.S., with an emphasis on culture in addition to information on historical background and settlement patterns.

    Gale encyclopedia of multicultural America  1995 Edition | 1997 Edition | Online.

    It is a guide to the history, culture, and distinctive characteristics of the more than 100 ethnic groups who live in the United States.
  • Harvard encyclopedia of American ethnic groups
  • A-Z encyclopedia, with some 600 essay entries that provide quick and clearly written introductions to minority groups and the themes and concepts that help readers to understand the issues. Entries, ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 words, fall into four main categories: Minority, Topical, Biographical, and Country.
  • Encyclopedia of the world's minorities
  • An extensive collection of criticism and reference works, including full-text literary journals and resources for over 14,000 authors.  Includes cross-searchable fulltext databases for several periods, including: African-American poetry 1760-1900 and Twentieth-century African-American poetry.
  • Literature Online [UW restricted]
  • Online full-text resouce covering a wide range of topics.
  • Oxford Reference [UW restricted]
  • 2 million digitized entries across Oxford University Press’s Dictionaries, Companions and Encyclopedias