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A Guide to World History

Required Texts

Valerie Hansen, The Open Empire: A history of China to 1600 (2nd ed) – Not available as an eBook; ; Olin Library has two print copies of the 1st ed; prices for used copies go between $45-100, but most are in the $60-70 range; if you choose to borrow a copy through interlibrary loan (ILL), use the nine-digit string at the end of this URL as the OCLC# in your request

Owen Lattimore, Inner Asian Frontiers of China - Olin Library has two different print editions; prices for used copies go between $20-800, but most are in the $30-45 range; copies can also be borrowed via MOBIUS; it can also be borrowed from the Internet Archive

Johan Elverskog, Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road - print and eBook (unlimited user/downloads); additional copies available through MOBIUS 

Marc Abramson, Ethnic Identity in Tang China - print and eBook (unlimited user/downloads)

Roderick Whitfield, Cave Temples of Mogao: Art and history on the Silk Road - the Art Library has one print copy, 4 in MOBIUS, others via ILL (use the nine-digit string at the end of this URL as the OCLC# in your request); prices for used copies go between $20-120, but most are in the $30-40 range

Burton Watson, transl., The Vimalakirti Sutra - print copy on order; only 1 in MOBIUS and currently checked out, others via ILL (use the eight digit number at the end of this URL for the OCLC#); prices for used copies go between $15-125, but most are in the $20-40 range

Chun-fang Yu, Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokiteshvaraprint and eBook (unlimited user/downloads); four more in MOBIUS

Ra Yeshe Senge, author; Bryan Cuevas, transl., The All-Pervading Melodious Drumbeat, The Life of Ra Lotsawa - eBook (single-user at a time; lease close browser tab or sign out after using; one-day borrowing only, please);  if you choose to borrow a copy through interlibrary loan (ILL), use the nine-digit string at the end of this URL as the OCLC# in your request

The Travels of Marco Polo (translated by Ronald Latham, Penguin Classics) – WUSTL owns one print copy; MOBIUS has multiple editions of Latham's translationthis translation is not available in eBook format, but other eBook editions are available here

Anthony C. Yu, transl. & ed., The Monkey & the Monk : A revised abridgment of The journey to the west (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006) – WUSTL eBook ed. only allows for one user at a time; WUSTL has one print ed.   

Reuven Amitai-Preiss & David O. Morgan, eds., The Mongol Empire & its Legacy (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2000) – not available in eBook format; WUSTL has a print ed. (on order) 

Justin Jacobs, The Compensations of Plunder: How China Lost its Treasures – WUSTL eBook and print ed.

Reference Works - A Place to Begin

Oxford Research Encyclopedias - new comprehensive collections of in-depth, peer-reviewed summaries on an ever-growing range of topics (African History, Economics and Finance, Literature, American History, Education, Natural Hazard Science, Asian History, Social Work, Neuroscience, Business and Management, Environmental Science, Oxford Classical Dictionary, Climate Science, International Studies, Politics, Communication, Latin American History, Psychology, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Linguistics, and Religion). Keep in mind WUSTL only owns full access to the italicized subject areas above; you will have to InterLibrary Loan any entry you find in other collections. 

Berkshire Encyclopedia of China: Modern and Historic Views...(2009) - provides insight into Chinese history and culture today in nearly a thousand articles that include everything from "Adoption" and "Banking" to "Wound Literature" and the "Zhou Dynasty."

Davidson, Alan, 1924-2003. The Oxford Companion to Food 3rd edition. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2014)

Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003)

Archaeology of Food: An encyclopedia (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015)

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Culture (Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge, 2020)

Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson/Gale, 2004) – has entries for “Central Asia,” “Central Asia, Buddhist Art in,” “China,” “China, Buddhist Art in,” and “Folk Religion, China”

The Encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden: Brill, 2002-)

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World John L. Esposito, ed. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009)

Jeong, Su-il. The Silk Road Encyclopedia (Irvine, CA: Seoul Selection, 2016)

Atwood, Christopher Pratt, 1964- . Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol empire (New York: Facts On File, 2004)

Academic Journal Article Databases

World History

Historical Abstracts (1955- ) contents include world history journals from 1450 to the present

English Language Journals on Chinese Studies

Chinese Studies Librarian's Guide

CAJ -- China Academic Journals Full-text Database (English interface)

Chinese Language Journal Article Databases

Chinese Studies Librarian's Guide


JSTOR - multidisciplinary, a lot of full text articles, but subject headings are too broad

Academic Search Complete (1975-present) - multidisciplinary; subject headings may or may not be LCSH; made by EBSCO, so allows the broadening to all EBSCO databases or narrowing to subject-specific databases like America: HIstory & Life

JSTOR v. Academic Search Complete


Project MUSE - consists of peer reviewed, interdisciplinary journals from leading university presses, not-for-profit publishers and prestigious scholarly societies.

Scopus - The world’s largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. Contains over 46 million records, 70% with abstracts, and also includes over 4.6 million conference papers.

Google Scholar - articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web. While Google Scholar itself is free on the web, many of the citations it references are not. Accessing Google Scholar via the proxied link will enable you to get full text for all articles for which to WashU community has access  

Primo - is the Washington University Libraries' new search tool. It provides one-stop access to the Libraries’ collections by searching across hundreds of catalogs, indexes, and databases. Primo is a great place to begin your research because it searches multiple library resources through one interface.

Google Scholar v. Primo

Primary Sources - Electronic Archives

China Studies Electronic Archives Subject Librarian's Guide

Trial databases - access expires Nov. 16th!

China Studies this cross-searchable platform provides access to a vast range of primary sources relating to China's history, literature and culture. Spanning three centuries, the resources include rare printed books, pamphlets, manuscripts, diaries, newspapers and periodicals. These are supported by a range of incredible art works, illustrations and photographs. 

China, America and the Pacific Explore the cultural and trading relationships that emerged between America, China and the Pacific region between the early 18th and 20th centuries. Manuscript sources, rare printed texts, visual images, objects and maps document this fascinating history.

China: Culture and Society spanning three centuries (c1750-1929), this resource makes available for the first time extremely rare pamphlets from Cornell University Library’s Charles W. Wason Collection on East Asia. The resource is full-text searchable, allowing for the collection to be comprehensively explored and studied.

China: Trade, Politics and Culture with documents encompassing events from the earliest English embassy to the birth and early years of the People’s Republic, this resource collects sources from nine archives to give an incredible insight into the changes in China during this period. Discover over 200 years of Chinese history, charting the monumental social and political upheaval that recreated China as a modern power.

ResearchSource - access expires Nov. 1st!

Username: GWLA
Password: ResearchSource

China and Southeast Asia - British government records covering economic development in China and its neighbours, 1950-80; correspondence from the Macartney Embassy, the first British diplomatic mission to China, 1792-94; the diaries, notebooks and published writings of Rewi Alley (1897-1987), New Zealand educator and industrial organiser in communist China