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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice


A guide to Anthropology resources at the Lloyd Sealy Library by Barbara Carrel and Ellen Belcher

Reference Materials: Encyclopedias, Handbooks, etc.

Reference materials are a good way to begin your research:








  • Helps to brainstorm for topic ideas
  • Provides a topic overview
  • Helps with formulating your topic (how to think about your topic)
  • Heading provide different ways to break down your topic (relevant issues)
  • Uses topic specific vocabulary/terms (use when searching for additional sources) 
  • Provides a bibliography leading to additional relevant books and/or articles

Online Reference Databases

Reference Databases:

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology (CEA)

  • Open-access resource
  • Facilitate access to scholarship in Social Anthropology
  • Peer-reviewed entries

Gale eBooks

  • Provides a multitude of encyclopedias related to Anthropology
  • Works on individual ethnic/religious/racial communities

International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavior Sciences

  • Authoritative interdisciplinary articles providing a foundation across the wide range of behavioral and social sciences fields

Oxford Bibliographies

  • Authoritative research guides by scholars and librarians worldwide
  • Annotated bibliographies with subject introductions
  • Search for entries on key academic concepts

Oxford Reference

  • Online reference database bringing together dictionaries, handbooks and encyclopedias spanning 25 different subject areas
  • Browse through or search under their list of specialized subjects

Sage Knowledge--Reference 

  • Search Sage Reference Sociology and/or Anthropology sections in particular to find related topics

Some Online Anthropology Encyclopedias

21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook (2010)

Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia (2010)

  • History of myriad ethnic groups that make up the population of Asians in America
  • Political, social, and cultural history of immigrants from East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Pacific Islands
  • Asian American communities, families, and individuals in contemporary United States

Asian American Society: An Encyclopedia (2014)

  • Asian Americans, from over 30 distinctive Asian-origin subgroups, defy simplistic descriptions or generalizations
  • Discussions of a wide range of issues and problems within Asian American communities

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, 2nd edition (2006)

  • Aspects of the African-American experience from 1619 to the present

Encyclopedia of Anthropology (2006)

  • All things anthropology

Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (2004)

  • Food and its place in human culture and society

Encyclopedia of Race and Racism (2009)

  • Examines the anthropological, sociological, historical, economic and scientific theories of race and racism in the modern era
  • Biographies of theorists, political and social leaders and notorious racists

Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, Society (2008)

  • Articles on numerous racial and ethnic communities living in the United States from the Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Society.  Search under the racial, ethnic or nationality's name
  • Topics related to race and ethnicity in contemporary American society

Ethnic Dress in the United States : A Cultural Encyclopedia (2014) 

  • Exploration of 150 distinct items of ethnic dress along with history and cultural significance within the United States

Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America (2014)

  • 152 ethnic, racial and religious cultures in the United States

Hispanic American Religious Cultures (2009)

  • Hispanic American religiosity
  • Role of Latino and Latina Americans within U.S. religious culture

Immigrants in American History: Arrival, Adaptation and Integration  (2013)

  •  A chronological study of the migration of various ethnic groups to the United States from 1500 to the present day

The Italian American Experience: An Encyclopedia (1999)

  • Encyclopedic account of the Italian experience in the United States.
  • Topics relating to the arts, history, religion, community organizations, archival depositories, literature, pop culture, social science/politics, sports, wartime military and home front activities, and science and technology.

Mexican American Experience: An Encyclopedia (2003)

  • Comprehensive coverage of the Mexican American experience.
  • Historical approach tracing Mexican Americans' experience in the United States

Oxford The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States (2005)

  • Diverse experiences of Latinos and Latinas from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East
  • Topics include identity, art, politics, religion, education, health, and history

Some Print Reference Sources

Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers. Reference - GN388 .C35 1999

Dictionary of Social Sciences. Reference - H41 .D53 2002 (also available through Oxford Reference)

Encyclopedia of Evolution: Humanity’s Search for its Origins Reference - GN281.M53 1990

Social Science Encyclopedia. Reference - H41 .S63 2004

Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology 4 volumes Reference - GN 307 .E52 1106

Encyclopedia of World Cultures 10 volumes Reference - GN307 .E53 1991 

Encyclopedia of Native American Religions Reference -  E98 .R3 H73 1992

Encyclopedia of Taboos. - Reference GN471.4 .H65 2000

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mankind 20 volumes - Reference - GN307 .I44

International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences  Reference: H 41 .I58 2001 (Also available through Science Direct)

Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods. 3 volumes - Reference H62 .S34 2004