James H. Thomason Library


ENGL/INTD 338: American Identities

Background Information Sources



Bob Adelman (photographer).. Memphis spectator at memorial for slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. 1968. . Image source: ARTstor Image Database.

  Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  Handbooks & Companions

Biographical Sources

  Writing Guides
Locating Books
  PASCAL Delivers
  WorldCat & I.L.L.
Locating Articles
  Journal Article Databases
  Key Journals
  Journal Finder
Internet Sources
Get Help

denotes recommended resource

Background Information Sources    
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries   back to top

African American Writers. Valerie Smith, editor in chief, Charles Scribner's Sons,  2nd ed., 2001.Main Level, Reference: R 810.9896073 Af83A [2 vols].

Africana : The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., editors.  Basic Civitas Books, 1999. 

Main Level, Reference:   R 909.0496 Af83A

Afro-American Writers from the Harlem Renaissance to 1940.  (Dictionary of Literary Biography; v.51). Trudier Harris & Thadious M. Davis, eds.  Gale Research Co., 1987.

Main Level, Reference: R 809 D561D v. 51

American Decades,  Thomson Gale, 1997.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9 Am35A [10 vols]
Covers events, publications, lifestyles, and individuals important to US history during the 20th century. Each volume covers one decade.


American Decades: Primary Sources, Thomson Gale, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9 Am35A suppl [10 vols]

Supplemental volumes containing primary sources for each decade of the 20th century. Includes photographs, political cartoons, advertisements, and excerpts from diaries, essays, speeches, poetry, and other literary works written back in earlier time periods covered.

See also:

The Fifties in America, John C. Super, editor. Salem Press, 2005.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9203 F466F [3 vols]
Browse index in last volume.

The Sixties in America. Carl Singleton, editor. Salem Press, c1999.

Main Level, Reference: R 973.9203 Si97S [3 vols]


American Immigrant Cultures: Builders of a Nation.  David Levinson and Melvin Ember, editors. Macmillan Reference, 1997.

Main Level, Reference: R 305.800973 Am35A (2 volumes).

American Masculinities: A Historical Encyclopedia [SAGE eReference].  Bret E. Carroll, editor. SAGE Publications, 2003.

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History.  Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith, & Cornel West, editors.  Macmillan Library Reference, 1996. 
Main Level, Reference:
R 973.0496073 En19E2

Encyclopedia of African American Society [SAGE eReference]. Gerald D. Jaynes, ed.  SAGE Publications, 2005.

Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History.  Mary Kupiec Cayton, Peter W. Williams, editors. Scribner, 2001.

Main Level, Reference:  R 973.03 En19E3 3 volumes.

1. Historical periods, Early America, 1771-1838, 1838-1877, 1878-1912, 1913-1940 -- v. 2. Historical periods, 1941-1959, 1960-1980, 1981-2000, peoples, places, God & nature, political order -- v. 3. Economic order, social order, knowledge, the arts, methods, index.

Encyclopedia of American Immigration. James Ciment, editor.  M.E. Sharpe,  2001.

Main Level, Reference: R 304.8 En19E  4 vols.  

Encyclopedia of Black Studies [SAGE eReference]. Molefi Kete Asante and Ama Mazama, editors.  SAGE Publications, 2005. Encyclopedia containing a full analysis of the economic, political, sociological, historical, literary, and philosophical issues related to Americans of African descent (publisher’s description).

The Encyclopedia of New York City. Kenneth T. Jackson, editor. New Haven, Ct. : Yale University Press ; New York : New-York Historical Society, c1995.  

Main Level, Reference:  R 974.7 En19E

Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender [Gale Virtual Reference Library].  Fedwa Malti-Douglas, editor.  
Macmillan Reference USA, 2007.

Encyclopedia of Women and Gender: Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Society on Gender. [CREDO Reference].  Judith Worell, ed.   Academic Press, 2001.
Also available in print:  Main Level, Reference:
R 305.403 En19E  (2 vols.)

Encyclopedia USA: The Encyclopedia of the United States Past & Present. Academic International Press, 1983-1999. Main Level, Reference  R 973.03 En19E2  26 vols., plus supplements.

Ethnicity (The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, vol. 6). Celeste Ray, volume editor.  University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

Main Level, Reference: R 975.00321 N42N v.6 

Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America [Gale Virtual Reference Library] 2nd ed. Jeffrey Lehman, editor. Gale Group, 2000.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Literature: A Genre GuideEllen Bosman and John P. Bradford. Libraries Unlimited, 2008. 

Main Level, Reference: R 016.8108 B652G

Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women’s Issues Worldwide. Volume 5: North America and the Caribbean. Cheryl Toronto Kalny, editor. Greenwood Press, 2003. 
Main Level, Reference:
R 305.4203 G856G v.5

The Latino Encyclopedia. Richard Chabran &  Rafael Chabran, editors. Marshall Cavendish, 1996. Main Level, Reference: R 973.0468 L349L (6 volumes). 

Literature (The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture; v. 9)M. Thomas Inge, volume editor. University of North Carolina Press, 2008. 
Main Level, Reference:
R 975.00321 N42N v.9

The Mexican American Experience: An Encyclopedia.  Matt S. Meier and Margo Gutierrez. Greenwood Press, 2003.

Main Level, Reference: R 973.046872 M475C 

Modern Black Writers.  Manitou Wordworks, ed.  St. James Press, 2000. 
Main Level, Reference:
R 810.9896073 M72M2

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture,  University of North Carolina Press, 2006-2011.

Main Level, Reference: R 975.00321 N42N

Vol.1: Religion

Vol.2: Geography

Vol.3: History

Vol.4: Myths, Manners, & Memory

Vol.5: Language

Vol.6: Ethnicity

Vol.7: Foodways

Vol.8: Environment

Vol.9: Literature

Vol.10: Law & Politics

Vol.11: Agriculture & Industry

Vol.12: Music

Vol.13: Gender

Vol.14: Folklife

Vol.15: Urbanization

Vol.16: Sports & Recreation

Vol.17: Education (on order)



St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Tom Pendergast &Sara Pendergast, editors. St. James Press, c2000.

Also available in PRINT: Main Level, Reference: R 973.9 Sa22S

Handbooks & Companions   back to top

The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story. Blanche H. Gelfant, ed.   Columbia University Press, 2000.  

Main Level, Reference: R 813.0109 C723C  
Pt. 1, "Thematic Essays," includes -- The African American short story -- The Asian American short story -- The Chicano-Latino short story.    Pt. 2. "Individual writers and their work" – includes: James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Jamaica Kincaid, Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, Annie Proulx, Sandra Cisneros, and numerous other authors.

A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American South.
Richard Gray and Owen Robinson, eds. Blackwell Pub., 2004.
Upper Level, Circulation Collection:
810.9975 C738C

Click on call number above to view the contents of this collection of essays.

The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature
.  [Oxford Reference Online] Oxford University Press, c2002.

Critical Survey of Long Fiction.  Frank Magill, editor. Salem Press, 1983.

Main Level, Reference: R 809.3 M272C  8 volumes, plus supplements. Volume 8 contains index to the set.

Critical Survey of Short Fiction.  Salem Press, c2001. Charles E. May, editor.

Main Level, Reference: R 809.3 M272C2 (7 volumes). Volume 7 contains "Category Index" -- listed by genre, ethnicity, etc. and "Subject Index" -- with access by title of work or author's name.

Multicultural Writers Since 1945: An A-Z Guide. Alba Amoia & Bettina L. Knapp, editors. Greenwood Press, 2004.

Main Level, Reference: R 809.045 M919M

The Oxford Companion to African American Literature.  William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, Trudier Harris, editors.  Oxford University Press, 1997.
Main Level, Reference:
R 810.8 Ox2O 

Literary Criticism Collections   back to top

Black Literature Criticism: Excerpts from Criticism of the Most Significant Works of Black Authors Over the Past 200 Years.  James P. Draper, editor.  3 vols.  Gale Research, 1992. 
Main Level, Reference: 
R 809.8896 B561B  

Three volumes of lengthy critical essays on major African, African American, and Caribbean authors; includes brief bibliographies.

Hispanic Literature Criticism.  Jelena Krstovi, editor.  Gale Research, 1994-1999. Main Level, Reference: R H860.9 H625H (2 main volumes, plus 2 supplements).

Hispanic Writers: A Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors. Bryan Ryan, editor. Gale Research, 1991. Main Level, Reference: R H860.9 H625H2

Literature Resource Center [Thomson Gale]

Online access to Contemporary Authors, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Contemporary Literary Criticism Select, and full-text articles from more than 250 literary journals.

Modern Women Writers. Compiled and edited by Lillian S. Robinson. Continuum Pub., 1996. Main Level, Reference: R 809.8928709 M72M (4 volumes). Provides excerpts of literary criticism/reviews from book and journal sources. Covers women writers worldwide.

Biographical Sources   back to top

American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies. Leonard Unger, editor in chief. Scribner Pub., 1974-1979. Main Level, Reference: R 810.9 Am35A 4 volumes plus supplements.

Gale Biography in Context [Thomson Gale].
Contains biographical information on over one million individuals from all time periods, geographical locations, and fields of endeavor. The "Biographical Facts Search" allows searching for people based on one or more personal facts, such as occupation.

Contemporary Black Biography. Gale Research. (1992-2009). This series provides biographical information on African-Americans from a variety of fields.
Main Level, Reference
R 920.0092 B481C  (71 volumes).

Literature Resource Center [Thomson Gale]

Online access to Contemporary Authors, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Contemporary Literary Criticism Select, and full-text articles from more than 250 literary journals.

Oxford African American

  Studies Center


Core content from reference works. Includes indexing and content from the following print resources:
• Africana
• African American National Biography (much content available, but still under development)
• Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895
• Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present
• Black Women in America, Second Edition
• Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature
Statistical Sources   back to top

American FactFinder [electronic resource]. U.S. Census Bureau.

American FactFinder is an interactive database search engine provided by the U.S. Census Bureau that provides access to the most authoritative source for local, state, and national demographic information. population, housing, industry, and business statistics from the Census 2000 and Census 2010, or more recent surveys and reports.

Writing Guides   back to top

Humanities: Documenting Sources
[Research and Documentation Online], Bedford/St. Martins, 2003.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th edition. Modern Language Association, 2009.

Main Level, Ready Reference Shelf and Reference Collection: R 808.02 M72M

Writing Center, Presbyterian College
Citation styles, writing guides, and scheduling an appointment with a tutor.

Locating Books back to top

- Use the online catalog to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, keyword, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, first name:              
  Morrison, Toni                                  [as AUTHOR]  

Morrison, Toni                                  [as SUBJECT]

(note list of specific subject headings for this author)

  Obama, Barack                                 [as AUTHOR]  
  Obama, Barack                                 [as SUBJECT]  
  Cobb, James C. (James Charles), 1947- [as AUTHOR]  
  Note: birth/death dates not required when searching  
  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to biology:          



  American prose literature -- African American authors -- History and criticism  

African Americans in literature

  American literature -- African American authors -- History and criticism
  African Americans In Literature  

Group Identity Southern States

  Group Identity United States  
  Minorities -- United States  
  Multiculturalism -- United States  
  Acculturation -- United States  
  Cultural pluralism (Social sciences) -- Southern States  
  Pluralism (Social sciences) -- United States
  United States Ethnic Relations  
  United States -- Race relations  
  Social classes -- Southern States -- History  
  Memory -- Social aspects -- Southern States  
  Cosmopolitanism -- Southern States  
  Regionalism -- Southern States  

Gay communities -- United States

  Sex role -- Southern States  
  Indians of North America -- United States -- Religion  
  Jews -- Southern States -- History -- 20th century  
  American fiction -- Jewish authors -- History and criticism  
  United States -- Emigration and immigration
  United States -- Emigration and immigration -- Government policy -- History  
  Southern States -- In literature  
  Women and literature -- Southern States -- History -- 20th century  
  Television and family -- United States  
  Television broadcasting -- Social aspects -- United States  
  Country music -- Social aspects                             (PASCAL catalog)  
  New York (N.Y.) -- In literature.                       (PASCAL catalog)  
  Feminine beauty (Aesthetics) -- United States    (THOMCAT   ---   1 item )  
  Feminine beauty (Aesthetics) -- United States.   (PASCAL catalog  ---   21 items)  
  Advertising -- Psychological aspects                  (THOMCAT   ---   10 items )  
  Advertising -- Psychological aspects                      (PASCAL catalog  ---  197 items)  
  Women in advertising.                                              (PASCAL catalog)  
  Women in advertising -- United States.                 (PASCAL catalog)  

Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog, however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • Try a KEYWORD search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find if you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.
  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips

Add * to the root of a word to truncate or expand
a term:
ethnic*=ethnic, ethnicity, ethnicities

Use "AND" between terms to require BOTH to appear in results (use of "AND" will NARROW your search)
south* AND cultur*

X south carolina AND fiction   X

Use "OR" between synonyms/related terms

to expand your search

community OR social groups
church OR religio*

acculturation OR americanization

tradition* OR custom*

Group "OR" terms with parentheses ( ) when combined with an "AND" statement:

African-American* AND (authors OR writers)
(Hispanic OR latino OR mexican-american*) AND communit*

Try KEYWORD searching with THOMCAT, other library catalogs & library databases


PASCAL Delivers back to top

PASCAL Catalog - If you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search here for books in other academic libraries in SC. Through PASCAL Delivers, you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries. Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library. Click here for searching and ordering tips.

WorldCat & Interlibrary Loan  

WorldCat – A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in PASCALCAT.

Interlibrary Loan - ILL is available to PC students, faculty and staff in order to share resources between libraries. Check link for instructions.

Locating Articles:    
Journal Article Databases back to top

The following journal databases are available to PC students, faculty, and staff from on- and off-campus locations.  Search using terms dealing with your topic.

Academic One File [Thomson Gale]
Multidisciplinary articles from scholarly sources

Academic Search Premier [EBSCOhost]
Journal and magazine articles from all academic disciplines

Archive of journals including the Arts & Sciences, as well as Ecology and Botany Collection (most recent three years issues not available in this archive)

MLA International Bibliography  [EBSCOhost]   Indexes critical literary and language scholarship and provides access to journals and serials published worldwide, as well as books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations, and bibliographies. Nearly 45,000 records are added annually.

Project MUSE Basic Undergraduate Collection  
Current and recent volumes of 112 core journals in the humanities and social sciences.

Key Journals   back to top

African American Review  

Publishes essays on African American literature, art and culture. Contains interviews, fiction and poems. Previous titles: Black American Literature Forum 1976-1991 (Vols. 10-25), Negro American Literature Forum, 1967-1976 (Vols. 1-10)

American Literature

Black Arts Quarterly

Black Scholar
African-American essays on a broad range of issues of concern to scholars in sociology, history, literature, political science, health, art, women's studies and ethnic studies.


CALLALOO, the premier African Diaspora literary journal, publishes original works by, and critical studies of, black writers worldwide. The journal offers a rich mixture of fiction, poetry, plays, critical essays, cultural studies, interviews, and visual art.
Frequent annotated bibliographies, special thematic issues, and original art and photography are some of the features of this highly acclaimed international showcase of arts and letters.

The Georgia Review

Journal of Modern Literature



Published by the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States. Essays and interviews of interest to those concerned with the multi-ethnic scope of America's literature and thematic issues.

Mississippi Quarterly

Modern Fiction Studies


PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America

Southern Exposure

Southern Literary Journal

Southern Quarterly

Journal Finder   back to top

Journal Finder provides access to PC's electronic and print journals, magazines,and newspapers in one convenient location.

Browse Journal Finder by title or subject. When browsing or searching, you can read articles from any journal that is available in the Full-text resources online group of results. Choose a database in this group based on the dates available and the time frame in which you are interested.

Library article databases are inter-connected by Journal Finder, which will lead you to the full-text of an article when available.

Internet Sources:   back to top

Center for the Study of Southern Culture (University of Mississippi)

Index of Native American Resources on the Internet Site maintained by Karen Strom, provides links to pages dealing with culture, history, health, Native American arts, and other topics

Voices from the Gaps  (University of Minnesota)
“Celebrating and documenting the creativity of Asian, Black, Latina, and Native women, VG is one of the internet's most comprehensive and well-respected academic databases for women artists of color. We provide innovative teaching and research tools for accessing a global community of women writers of color living and dead, obscure and renowned.”

Whiteness Studies: Deconstructing (the) Race

Gregory Jay, University of Wisconsin

Get Help   back to top
Stop by the
Reference Desk

Teresa Inman 833-8313
Dan Lee 833-8437


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