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Representing Race: AAAS 0834 / ENGL 0834 / HIST 834

This guide provides resources for representations of non-Western people and cultures in film, literature, scientific and legal writings, popular culture and artistic expression. What is behind this impulse to divide the world into "us" and "them"?

Specific Groups


The African American encyclopedia. New York : Marshall Cavendish, c2001.


The Asian American encyclopedia / editor, Franklin Ng. New York : Marshall Cavendish, c1995.

Encyclopedia of Japanese American history : an A-to-Z reference from 1868 to the present / Brian Niiya, editor ; Japanese American National Museum ; foreword by Daniel K. Inouye ; introduction essay by Gary Y. Okihiro.


Encyclopedia Latina : history, culture, and society in the United States / Ilan Stavans, editor in chief, Harold Augenbraum, associate editor. Danbury, Conn. : Grolier Academic Reference, c2005.

Handbook of Hispanic cultures in the United States / general editors, Nicolás Kanellos, Claudio Esteva-Fabregat. Houston, Tex. : Arte Público Press; Madrid, Spain : Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana, c1993-1994.

The Mexican American experience : an encyclopedia / Matt S. Meier and Margo Gutiérrez. Westport, Conn. ; London : Greenwood Press, 2003.

Native Americans:

American Indians / consulting editor, Harvey Markowitz. Pasadena, Calif. : Salem Press, c1995.

Print Reference resources


American immigrant cultures : builders of a nation / edited by David Levinson, Melvin Ember. New York : Macmillan Reference USA, c1997.

" ...covers 161 nonindigenous cultural groups currently living in the United States...discusses the unique cultural characteristics of each group including detailed immigration and settlement histories, language, economic patterns, housing, religion, marriage, family and kinship, relations with other ethnic groups, as well as discrimination experienced by the group." From publisher's description.

Ancestry in America : a comparative city-by-city guide to over 200 ethnic backgrounds -- with rankings / [editor, David Garoogian]. Millerton, N.Y. : Grey House Pub., c2003.

"...a detailed look at the ethnic makeup of the United States....compiled from raw 2000 census data... includes all places in America with populations over 10,000." From the Introduction. View publisher's description with Table of Contents.

Atlas of world cultures: a geographical guide to ethnographic literature / David H. Price. Newbury Park : SAGE Publications, 1989.

A guide to"key ethnographic works regarding a geographical region of interest, and to help locate groups commonly discussed in the ethnographic literature."

Encyclopedia of multiculturalism / editor, Susan Auerbach. New York : Marshall Cavendish, c1994-1998.

"... focuses on diverse aspects of the many cultures contributing to North American life, including people, places, events, organizations, political and cultural movements, religions, foods, and much more." From publisher's description.

Encyclopedia of the Peoples of the World / edited by Amiram Gonen. New York: H. Holt, 1993

From the Foreword: "....includes only contemporary people and ethnic groups... groups are those who share, alone or in combination, a common history; distinct language; shared traditions, religion, or folklore; common identity maintained in the face of strong pressures to assimilate; self-designation; and territorial concentration.

Encyclopedia of world cultures / David Levinson, editor in chief. Boston, Mass. : G.K. Hall, c1991.

Cultural summaries of common types of cultural groups, including national cultures, regional cultures, ethnic groups, indigenous societies, religious groups, and unassimilated immigrant groups. "In general, six criteria were used, sometimes alone and sometimes in combination to classify social groups as cultural groups: (1) geographical localization, (2) identification in the social science literatuire as a distinct group, (3) distinct language, (4) shared traditions, religion, folklore, or values, (5) maintenance of group identity in the face of strong assimilative pressures, and (6) previous listing in an inventory of the world's cultures such as Ethnographic Atlas (Murdock 1967) or the Outline of World Cultures (Murdock 1983)."

Levinson, D. (1991). Preface. In Encyclopedia of world cultures (Vol. 1, p. xviii-xix). Boston: G. K. Hall & Co.

Harvard encyclopedia of American ethnic groups / Stephan Thernstrom, editor ; Ann Orlov, managing editor, Oscar Handlin, consulting editor. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press, 1980.

" From Acadians to Zoroastrians-Asians, American Indians, East Indians, West Indians, Europeans, Latin Americans, Afro-Americans, and Mexican Americans--the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups provides the first comprehensive and systematic review of the many peoples of this country ."See full Publisher's Description.

HRAF Source Bibliography: Cumulative. New Haven Conn.: HRAF, 1996

A bibliography listing all the sources (books, articles, and manuscripts) included in the HRAF Files.

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mankind / editor-in-chief, Richard Carlisle. New York : M. Cavendish, 1990.

From the Preface: "...provides a synoptic description of the subsistence patterns, historical backgrounds and cultural orientations of over 500 different peoples and cultures."

The new encyclopedia of Southern culture, vol. 6: Ethnicity / Celeste Ray, volume editor. Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2007.

"Moving beyond racial designations of "black," "white," and "Indian," this volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture complicates and enriches our understanding of "southernness" by demonstrating the extent to which it exists as a fabric of many cultures. This exploration of southern ethnicities examines the ways people "perform" their cultural identities through, among other things, dress, dance, and family tradition. Contributors identify 88 major ethnic groups that have lived in the South from the Mississippian Period (1000-1600 C.E.) to the present." From Publisher's Description.

Worldmark encyclopedia of cultures and daily life / Timothy L. Gall, editor. Detroit : Gale, c1998.

From the Preface: "... contains articles exploring the ways of life of over 500 culture groups worldwide....arranged in 4 volumes by geographic regions - Africa, Americas, Asia & Oceania, and Europe."

Reference Databases

The two databases below will look for entries in a wide range of reference books for the keyword you enter:

Credo Reference

Gale Virtual Reference Library

Online Reference Books


Gale encyclopedia of multicultural America / contributing editor, Robert von Dassanowsky ; author of introduction, Rudolph J. Vecoli ; edited by Jeffrey Lehman. Detroit : Gale Group, 2000.

" Contains 8,000 to 12,000 word essays on specific culture groups in the United States, emphasizing religions, holidays, customs, and languages in addition to providing information on historical background and settlement patterns." From publisher's description.

International Encyclopedia to the Social and Behavioral Sciences:
the largest and most important reference work published in the social and behavioral sciences. The articles are linked to relevant journal articles in Science Direct

Cassell's Peoples, Nations and Cultures:  "A unique and comprehensive historical guide to some of the world's peoples, from the earliest times to the present."

Encyclopedia of American Studies

Historical census statistics on population totals by race, 1790 to 1990, and by Hispanic origin, 1970 to 1990, for large cities and other urban places in the United States / by Campbell Gibson and Kay Jung. Washington, DC : Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau, [2005]

" This working paper presents decennial census data on population totals by race (1790-1990) and by Hispanic origin (1970-1990) for large cities in the United States.

Statistical Abstract of the United States