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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Ethnic Studies: Multicultural America

Readings on Ethnography

An ethnography is a detailed empirical description of a culture living in a specific geographic location during a specific period of time.

Consult these readings for more in-depth discussions of ethnography: 

Laurier, E., Miller, R., & Muñoz Zech, D.I. (2017). Ethnography. In Oxford bibliographies online. 

Robben, A.C.G.M., & Sluka, J.A. (2015). Ethnography. In J.D. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (2nd ed., pp. 178-183). Elsevier.

Robinson-Caskie, E. E. (2006). Ethnography. In H. J. Birx (Ed.), Encyclopedia of anthropology (Vol. 2, pp. 853-854). SAGE Reference.

Ybema, S., Yanow, D., Wels, H., & Kamsteeg, F. (2010). Ethnography. In A. J. Mills, G. Durepos, & E. Wiebe (Eds.), Encyclopedia of case study research (Vol. 1, pp. 347-351). SAGE Reference.

Warren, C. A. B. (2001). Ethnography. In Encyclopedia of sociology (2nd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 852-856). Macmillan Reference USA. 

Finding Ethnographies

Ethnographies are often found in book form, however, you will also find ethnographic articles in scholarly journals and magazines--see, for example, the journal Ethnography dedicated to "detailed and grounded empirical study of the myriad changes that are remaking the face of contemporary societies" around the world. 

You may find ethnographies by using OneSearch (CUNY Libraries' online catalog) or one of our may databases such as America: History and LifeAnthroSource, Social Sciences FulltextSociological Abstracts, SocINDEX and Academic Search Complete.  

The word "ethnography" is not an official Library of Congress Subject Heading, therefore, search using keywords and/or phrases including the specific cultural/ethnic/religious/community/racial group, cultural practice or event you are researching. Some examples:

Native Americans or Iroquois

Hispanic Americans or Dominican Americans

Pakistani Americans

Muslim Americans

Hell's Angels

Deaf Culture

Japanese Tea Ceremony


Ethnic Dress

If you find too many titles, try limiting your search to a specific geographic area (country, state, city, neighborhood), time period or add an additional key term such as social, religious, ethnic, culture, dress, immigration, etc.

Caribbean Americans and New York City

Caribbean Americans and Immigration

Caribbean Americans and Brooklyn

Dress and Ethnic Identity

Quinceañera and Hispanic Americans

Japanese Tea Ceremony and Identity