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A Guide to American Culture Studies

This page brings together various information resources on the subject of American Culture Studies

Reference Works - A Place to Begin

Asian Americans -- Encyclopedias

Danico, Mary Yu & Ocampo, Anthony C., eds, Asian American Society: An encyclopedia (Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2014) - eBook provides a thorough introduction to the wide-ranging and fast-developing field of Asian American studies. Published with the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS), the four-volume encyclopedia feature more than 300 A-to-Z articles authored by AAAS members and experts in the field who examine the social, cultural, psychological, economic, and political dimensions of the Asian American experience. Reader's guides are available for the fields of: Arts, Culture, Pop Culture, and Media; Asian American Literature; Biographies; Class, Economy, Labor, and Work; Education; Ethnic Groups; Family, Generations, and Youth Culture; History of Asian Americans; Identities; Immigration/Migration; Politics, Government, and Public Policy; Religion; Social Movement and Social Change, and Social Problems.  

Chen, Edith Wen-Chu & Yoo, Grace J. eds. Encyclopedia of Asian American issues today (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press, 2010) - eBook offers 110 entries on the current state of affairs, controversies, successes, and outlooks for future for Asian Americans. The sections include: Diversity and Demographics (unique entries on Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Thai Americans);  Economy and Work (accent discrimination, glass ceiling, globalization, H-1B visas, housing, impact of Asian immigrants on the U.S. economy, labor unions, low-income workers, poverty, and small business ownership and employment); Education (affirmative action, Asian American Studies, bilingual education, college campus climate, community college students, cram schools, freedom schools, model minority myth, parental pressure and expectations, retention of college students, standardized testing, student groups, undocumented immigrant students); Health (cancer, cardiovascular health, complementary and alternative medicine, diabetes, end of life, gambling, health care access, infectious diseases, mental health, sexual health, substance abuse, suicide, tobacco use), and Identity (psychological approaches to understanding Asian American identity, Asian American identities in Hawai'i, beauty pageants, LGBTQ identity, multiracial Asian and Pacific Islanders, Pan-South Asian identity, racial features and cosmetic surgery, and religious identity and marginalization). Editors are professors at California State University - Northridge and San Francisco State University.

Carlos E. Cortés, ed. Multicultural America: A multimedia encyclopedia (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Reference, A Division of SAGE Publications, Inc., 2013) eBook explores this pivotal moment and its ramifications with more than 900 signed entries not just providing a compilation of specific ethnic groups and their histories but also covering the full spectrum of issues flowing from the increasingly multicultural canvas that is America today. Pedagogical elements include an introduction, a thematic reader's guide, a chronology of multicultural milestones, a glossary, a resource guide to key books, journals, and Internet sites, and an appendix of 2010 U.S. Census Data. Finally, the electronic version will be the only reference work on this topic to augment written entries with multimedia for today's students, with 100 videos (with transcripts) from Getty Images and Video Vault, the Agence France Press, and Sky News, as reviewed by the media librarian of the Rutgers University Libraries, working in concert with the title's editors. The editor is Professor Emeritus of History from University of California - Riverside.

Ng, Franklin, ed. The Asian American encyclopedia (New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1995) - Print (6 Vols.) explores the experience of Asian immigrants and the communities which they and their descendants have created in the United States, and offers information about the history, language and culture of Asian Americans' diverse countries of origin. Editor is professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies at California State University - Fresno.

Japanese Americans

Niiya, Brian ed. Encyclopedia of Japanese American history: An A-to-Z reference from 1868 to the present (New York : Facts on File, 2001) Written under the auspices of the Japanese American National Museum, this reference work incorporates new materials and scholarly research, creating a current, all-encompassing, and accessible reference on the subject. In addition to an A-to-Z encyclopedia section, also includes a detailed chronology of major events in Japanese American history and an extensive bibliography of the best sources for further research.


Parish, James Robert. The Encyclopedia of Ethnic Groups in Hollywood (New York: Facts on File, 2003) Print biographical and topical entries cover the treatment and progress of African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Jewish Americans, and Native Americans in motion pictures and television.  The editor has authored more than one hundred books about entertainment history and Hollywood celebrities.


Jeffrey D. Schultz, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Minorities in American Politics (Phoenix, AZ : Oryx Press, 2000) Print focuses exclusively on the expanding role of minorities in U.S. politics. Containing more than 2,000 entries, this two-volume set is divided into four distinct sections covering African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. It makes a broad range of information readily accessible, including historical and contemporary biographies, descriptions of major events, and coverage of important legal decisions and organizations. All the editors were political science professors at various U.S. universities and colleges.

In the Southern United States

Thomas C. Holt & Laurie B. Green, eds. The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Vol. 24: Race (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013) eBook this concluding volume of the series challenges previous understandings, revealing the region's rich, ever-expanding diversity and providing new explorations of race relations. In 36 thematic and 29 topical essays. Together the essays paint a nuanced portrait of how concepts of race in the South have influenced its history, art, politics, and culture beyond the familiar binary of black and white. Potentially useful entries include: "Asian American Narratives between Black and White;" "Asians, Mexicans, Interracialism, and Racial Ambiguities;" "Chinese;" "Japanese American Incarceration during World War II;" "Pacific Worlds and the South," and "Vietnamese." The editors of this volume are professors of American and African American History.

Political Issues

CQ Researcher (1991 - ) - 44 reports per year. Explores a single "hot" issue in the news in depth each week, featuring comments from experts, lawmakers and citizens on all sides of every issue.

Academic Journal Article Databases


America: History & Life - a complete bibliographic reference to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. Published since 1964, the database comprises almost 400,000 bibliographic entries.

Business Source Complete (1965-) full text articles from scholarly business journals and other sources, including financial data, books, monographs, major reference works, conference proceedings, case studies, investment research reports, industry reports, market research reports, country reports, company profiles, SWOT analyses and more. Updated daily.

Historical Abstracts - coverage of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada), from over 2,000 journals published worldwide.

SocINDEX with Full Text - scholarly journals, plus extensive indexing for books/monographs, conference papers, and other non-periodical content sources. Provides comprehensive coverage of sociology, encompassing all sub-disciplines and closely related areas of study. 

APA PsycArticles offers complete access to the full text of more than 80 landmark journals in behavioral science and related fields ranging from education, to nursing, to business, to neuroscience from the American Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association and Hogrefe Publishing Group (English-language titles).

APA PsycInfo journal articles, chapters, books, dissertations and reports on psychology and related fields. Indexed materials are international in scope selected from psychology and related journals published globally in over 25 languages. Updated weekly.

Film & Television Literature Index with Full Text - index and abstracts for more than 270 publications (and selected coverage of more than 300), as well as full text for more than 70 journals and nearly 50 books. Subject coverage includes film & television theory, preservation & restoration, writing, production, cinematography, technical aspects, and reviews.

Gender Studies Database - combines Women’s Studies International and Men’s Studies databases with the coverage of sexual diversity issues. Covers the full spectrum of gender-engaged scholarship inside and outside academia. Includes more than 921,000 records.


Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts (ASSIA) - abstracts and indexes over 600 journals and periodicals, from more than 16 countries, spanning literature of health, social services, psychology, sociology, economics, politics from 1987 to present.

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences - international database of bibliographic references to journal articles and to books, reviews and selected chapters for the social sciences since 1951.

PAIS Index - indexes and abstracts books, periodical articles, and government publications in the fields of public affairs and public policy. Provides social and economic analyses of international, national, and local policies.

GenderWatch - a full-text collection of international journals, magazines, newsletters, regional publications, special reports, and conference proceedings devoted to women's and gender issues. Over 31,000 full text articles from 115 publications and archival material. Updated quarterly

Performing Arts Periodicals Database - indexing and abstracts for more than 260 international periodicals, plus full text for more than 100 of the indexed journals. Contains half a million records covering a broad spectrum of the arts and entertainment industry - including dance, drama, theater, stagecraft, musical theater, circus performance, opera, pantomime, puppetry, magic, performance art, film, television and more.

Political Science Database - full-text of 430 political science and international relations journals, many of which are indexed in Worldwide Political Science Abstracts. Covers the literature of political science and international relations, including such topics as comparative politics, political economy, international development, environmental policy, and hundreds of related topics. Also included are hundreds of recent, full-text, political science dissertations from U.S. and Canadian universities, thousands of current working papers from the Political Science Research Network, and more than 700 Oxford Analytica country profiles, from 2008 to current.

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global Full Text - access to 5 million citations to dissertations and theses from around the world from 1637 to the present day together with over 2.7 million full text dissertations that are available for download in PDF format. The database offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and strong retrospective full text coverage for older graduate works. Over 200,000 new dissertations and theses are added to the database each year.

Social Science Database - covers over 1,000 titles on a variety of topics, 700 of which are available in full text. Provides information on hundreds of topics, including addiction studies, urban studies, family studies, and international relations.

Sociology - covers the international literature of sociology and social work, including culture and social structure, history and theory of sociology, social psychology, substance abuse and addiction and more. Provides full-text coverage of more than 310 journals in sociology and social work, including many core titles indexed in Sociological Abstracts and Social Services Abstracts. As well as hundreds of full text scholarly journals, the database also includes over 500 recent full-text doctoral dissertations on sociology.

Multidisciplinary databases

JSTOR - popular humanities and social science databases with extensive holdings of full text journal articles and book chapters

Google Scholar - the world's largest indexer of academic journal articles

Quick Search - one search bar for (almost) all of WUSTL Libraries' holdings

Primary Sources

Periodicals: Journals, Newspapers & Magazines - a link to the tab of the same name under "Articles" on the general U.S. History LibGuide

Other Periodicals

Ethnic Newswatch includes current full-text newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic and minority press, providing researchers access to essential, often overlooked perspectives (1959-1989). This database includes 44 publications from Asian/Pacific Islander publications from Asian American Policy Review to Hmong Times to Masala

MAS Ultra - full text for more than 700 popular magazines including news weeklies like U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, Time, The Nation, and the Economist, and entertainment weeklies like Hollywood Reporter, Sports Illustrated, Ebony, Ladies Home Journal, etc. 

Government Documents

U. S. Declassified Documents Online - selected previously classified government documents ranging from the years immediately following World War II, when declassified documents were first made widely available, through the 1970s. Search by name, date, word, or phrase, or focus on document type, issue date, source institution, classification level, date declassified, sanitization, completeness, number of pages, and document number. Nearly every major foreign and domestic event of these years is covered: the Cold War, Vietnam, foreign policy shifts, the civil rights movement, and others.

govinfo - a service of the United States Government Publishing Office (GPO). By law, GPO aims to provide a comprehensive index of every document issued or published by a department, bureau, or office not confidential in character. GPO administers this program and provides public access to this index through the online bibliographic records contained in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP). The CGP is available at as a finding tool for Government publications, containing records with information about publications in many different file formats. When you search the CGP for a publication, you will find a record that tells you where you can find the publication, whether at a physical library or through a link to the full-text electronic version when available, including records for content available on govinfo and links to govinfo for access to these publications. 


Historical Statistics of the United States - a standard source for quantitative facts of American history. Contains over 37,000 data series from over 1,000 sources

Statistical Abstracts, Historical - links to .pdf versions of earlier editions of Statistical Abstract of the United States, and to the Bicentennial Edition: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970.

U.S. Congress

Legislative Insight (1929 - ) contains over 18,000 federal legislative histories with digital full text publications covering laws from 1929 to present. For federal laws between 1969 and current, coverage will be similar to ProQuest Congressional. This database provides legislative histories for 10,000 laws passed between 1929 and 1968 that are not in ProQuest Congressional.

ProQuest Congressional - comprehensive access to U.S. legislative information. Includes: CIS Legislative Histories (public laws back to 1969), Congressional publications (1817 - ), testimony from Congressional hearings (1824-), Congressional Record and Federal Register, U.S. Serial Set, 1789-1969, Serial Set Maps, 1789-1969, and more.

Culture Industry

Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive - an archival research resource containing the essential primary sources for studying the history of the film and entertainment industries, from the era of vaudeville and silent movies through to 2000. The core US and UK trade magazines covering film, music, broadcasting and theater are all included, together with film fan magazines and music press titles. Magazines have been scanned cover-to-cover in high-resolution color, with granular indexing of all articles, covers, ads and reviews. 

Film Index International - produced in collaboration with the British Film Institute and indexes of over 118,000 films - from the first silent movies to the latest blockbusters. Also contains biographical information for almost 685,000 personalities, coverage of international film awards and prizes as well as searchable plot summaries and full cast and crew lists.

Rolling Stone Archive (1967 - present) - one of the most influential consumer magazines of the 20th-21st centuries, spanning music, politics / society, and entertainment. Coverage is from Rolling Stone's launch in 1967, with ongoing addition of new issues. Rolling Stone initially sought to reflect the cultural, social, and political outlook of a generation of students and young adults. It has been a leading vehicle for rock and popular music journalism, as well as covering wider entertainment topics such as film and popular culture.