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Latino American Studies Research Guide: Reference Tools

Reference Tools

Reference books include dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, directories, manuals, handbooks, and much more. Reference books can help you

  1. explore a topic (find out what has been said about a topic, trends, issues, etc.
  2. identify unfamiliar terms or people in your reading
  3. find references to other books and articles on the topic, and
  4. find keywords to use in online searches.

This page pulls together a sample of both electronic and print reference tools.

Latino Art

Latino Art: a Guide to Resources courtesy of the Fine Arts Library.

Documents of 20th Century Latin American and Latino Art : The International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), located at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has undertaken a multiyear project to recover and publish primary-source materials tracing the development of twentieth-century art in Latin America and among Latino populations in the United States. Browse or search the site for digitized documents.

Basic Reference Tools (Online)

If you don't know where to start, you may want to try one of the following online compilations of reference tools:

Gale Virtual Reference Library ; Includes encyclopedic articles on historical and contemporary Natie American research topics. Note: you may have to click on this resource more than once since Gale products don't always connect on the first couple of tries.

Oxford Reference Online ; Contains online versions of dictionaries and encyclopedias previously published in paper by the Oxford University Press.

Sage Reference Online : Includes numerous encyclopedias and handbooks, primarily in the Social Sciences.

Recommended Reference Tools

American Mosaic : The Latino American Experience / ABC-CLIO.  A digital resources that explores the rich heritage and current culture of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Guatemalans, Cubans, Dominicans, Colombians, Ecuadorians, and other Hispanic cultures in the United States—an estimated 44 million individuals who have formed unique, self-sufficient, and vibrant communities across the nation....Designed and developed under the guidance of Latino librarians, LAE offers unparalleled depth and content that meets the specific research and curriculum needs of students, teachers, and librarians. The Analyze sections pose historic quandaries that invite learners to examine issues from all angles and develop their critical-thinking skills, while easy-to-use search and browse features facilitate research at every level....Coverage ranges from precontact Aztec and Maya societies to 21st-century political issues like recent immigration law to cultural themes like coming-of-age rituals, music, literature, and cuisine. The Latino American Experience is an indispensable electronic research and learning resource that provides learners with far more than history lessons with facts and figures; it gives voice to the Latino experience through Latino authors and contributors.

Chicano Database (EBSCO).  Produced by the Ethnic Studies Library at the University of California, Berkeley, this bibliographic index covers a wide range of materials focused on the Mexican-American and Chicano experience, as well as the broader Latino experience of Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and Central American immigrants since 1992. Its content is designed to further research, teaching and scholarship for Chicano studies programs and extended ethnic studies curricula, giving researchers targeted access to materials that explore the broad dimensions of class, race and gender within the Chicano and Latino U.S. experience.  Content Includes more than 2,400 journals and other resources, including newspapers, books, book chapters and more,
e xtensive coverage dating back to the 1960s, with selective indexing dating back to the early 1900s, the Spanish Speaking Mental Health Database, covering psychological, sociological and educational literature. and uniform subject access to a continuously growing body of literature.

Encyclopedias, Handbooks, Etc.

Celebrating Latino Foklore : An Encyclopedia of Cultural Traditions.  / María Herrera-Sobek, editor.  Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, c2012.  3 volumes.   Cezar Chavez Collection (1 West)  E184 .S75 C455 2012 : Herrera-Sobek (Chicana/o studies, U. of California, Santa Barbara) offers a three-volume encyclopedia for students, scholars, and general readers on the oral traditions, customs, material culture, architecture, and other aspects of cultural production of the Latino population in the US. The 318 entries are presented in alphabetical order in short and longer essays, and are related to folk foods, speech, theater, saints, religion, celebrations, songs, singers and musicians, instruments, dance, architecture, trades, artists, heroes and anti-heroes, characters, beliefs, ailments and medicine, rites, sacred spaces, art, garments, children's songs and games, 21 Latin American countries, and distinguished scholars or people in folklore production. They serve as a sampling of folklore, rather than a comprehensive treatment, and include topics like alabados, baptism, adobe, chiles, hip hop, Los Lobos, mambo, milagros, romance, and the Virgin of Guadalupe. Appendices contain a table of medicinal plants and lists of films and web resources.

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. 4 volumes. Reference (1 East) E184.S75 E587 2005 : Though written to be accessible to high school students, this terrific resource contains material of interest to all readers wishing to expand their knowledge about Latino history, life, and culture (and U.S. history, life, and culture as well). Editor Stavans (Amherst College, Mass.) asked the contributors for analysis as well as reports, and the result is a rich and thought-provoking compendium. Latino/a is defined as all things related to the Spanish-speaking peoples who live north of Mexico. Among the entries: 1492, art (for many different ethnic groups), art criticism, Catholicism, class, cuisine (also for many tastes), dance, death, Islam, jazz, medicine, nativism, sexuality, tourism, and the Vietnam War. There are entries for individual states and many biographical entries on significant artists, writers, musicians, politicians, comedians, and thinkers. Each entry is signed and includes cross references and a list of references. The contributors are academics and independent scholars, mainly in the U.S.

Encyclopedia of Hispanic American literature / Luz Elena Ramirez.  New York : Facts On File, 2008.  1st edition, 430pp.  PS153.H56 R36 2008 Online via EBSCOhost.  Also available in print format  in Main Library PS153.H56 R36 2008  : Ramirez (English, California State U., San Bernardino) presents a resource text for students and general readers interested in a general introduction to the literature of Hispanic Americans. The text contains 250-plus A-to-Z entries on the major Latino authors; important Latino texts, including major novels, memoirs, plays, poetry, and short stories; important events that have affected Latino literature; and relevant topics and terms. The entries focus on the Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, and Dominican Americans who comprise the primary populations of Hispanic-Americans in the U.S.; the settings for their literature include the border, the barrio, the campo (the fields or the country), and inner-city tenements, as well as the landscapes of the Northeast, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Antonio.

Encyclopedia of Latino Culture : From Calaveras to Quinceañeras.   Charles M. Tatum, Editor.   Greenwood, November 2013.  on order : This three-volume encyclopedia describes and explains the variety and commonalities in Latina/o culture, providing comprehensive coverage of a variety of Latina/o cultural forms—popular culture, folk culture, rites of passages, and many other forms of shared expression....In the last decade, the Latina/o population has established itself as the fastest growing ethnic group within the United States, and constitutes one of the largest minority groups in the nation. While the different Latina/o groups do have cultural commonalities, there are also many differences among them. This important work examines the historical, regional, and ethnic/racial diversity within specific traditions in rich detail, providing an accurate and comprehensive treatment of what constitutes "the Latino experience" in America....The entries in this three-volume set provide accessible, in-depth information on a wide range of topics, covering cultural traditions including food; art, film, music, and literature; secular and religious celebrations; and religious beliefs and practices. Readers will gain an appreciation for the historical, regional, and ethnic/racial diversity within specific Latina/o traditions. Accompanying sidebars and "spotlight" biographies serve to highlight specific cultural differences and key individuals.

Encyclopedia of Latino popular culture / Cordelia Chávez Candelaria, executive editor.  Westport, Conn : Greenwood Press, 2004.  2 volumes. Main Library  E184.S75 E59 2004 : U.S. culture has been profoundly impacted by contributions from Mexico and the rest of Central America, South America, and the Spanish Caribbean. These contributions and their adaptations in the United States are showcased in nearly 500 essay entries on noted people, festivities, items, terms, movements, sports, food, events, places, visual and performing arts, film, institutions, fashion, literature, organizations, the media, and much more. The wide range of entries with many areas of unique coverage will meet the high demand for multidisciplinary use. Students and other readers will appreciate the inclusiveness of cultural groups, the gender sensitivity, and the heavy contextual grounding of the topics.

The Greenwood encyclopedia of Latino literature / edited by Nicolás Kanellos.  Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2008.  3 volumes.  Main Library PS153.H56 G74 2008 : From East L.A. to the barrios of New York City and the Cuban neighborhoods of Miami, Latino literature, or literature written by Hispanic peoples of the United States, is the written word of North America's vibrant Latino communities. Emerging from the fusion of Spanish, North American, and African cultures, it has always been part of the American mosaic. Written for students and general readers, this encyclopedia surveys the vast landscape of Latino literature from the colonial era to the present. Aiming to be as broad and inclusive as possible, the encyclopedia covers all of native North American Latino literature as well as that created by authors originating in virtually every country of Spanish America and Spain. Included are more than 700 alphabetically arranged entries written by roughly 60 expert contributors. While most of the entries are on writers, such as Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Oscar Hijuelos, and Piri Thomas, others cover genres, ethnic and national literatures, movements, historical topics and events, themes, concepts, associations and organizations, and publishers and magazines. Special attention is given to the cultural, political, social, and historical contexts in which Latino literature has developed. Entries cite works for further reading, and the encyclopedia closes with a selected, general bibliography.

Hispanic American religious cultures / Miguel A. De La Torre, editor.  Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, c2009.  2 volumes.  Main Library  BL2525 .H57 2009 : In his introduction to this two-volume reference editor De La Torre (social ethics, Iliff School of Theology, Denver) emphasizes the multifaceted composition of what Euro-Americans might consider, erroneously, a monolithic group. He also emphasizes that this reference represents the combined efforts of a diverse group of scholars of religion and of Hispanic Americans in the United States. To give an idea of the range of topics addressed in the 100 tautly written, yet accessible, signed entries (each about three or four pages long, with references and further reading lists), here's a sampling of topics: aesthetics, assimilation, curanderismo, environmentalism, Islam, Jews, justice, language, mission system, reconquista, sexuality, spiritual hybridity, transnationalism, US political parties, and Virgin Mary. Eighteen extended essays address topics that include liberation theology, liturgy and worship, sacraments and sacramentals, spirituality, and teologia en conjunto. Thoughtfully prepared, carefully indexed, this reference will serve a wide audience of scholars, professionals, and students within the Hispanic American community and the broader community as well.

Latinas in the United States : A Historical Encyclopedia.  Bloomington : Indiana University Press May 2006.  E184 .S75 L35 2006  Online.  Available online via ebrary.  Also available in print format in Main Library E184 .S75 L35 2006 v. 1-3  : Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia records the contribution of women of Latin American birth or heritage to the economic and cultural development of the United States. The encyclopedia, edited by Vicki L. Ruiz and Virginia Sánchez-Korrol, is the first comprehensive gathering of scholarship on Latinas. This encyclopedia will serve as an essential reference for decades to come....In more than 580 entries, the historical and cultural narratives of Latinas come to life. From mestizo settlement, pioneer life, and diasporic communities, the encyclopedia details the contributions of women as settlers, comadres, and landowners, as organizers and nuns. More than 200 scholars explore the experiences of Latinas during and after EuroAmerican colonization and conquest; the early-19th-century migration of Puerto Ricans and Cubans; 20th-century issues of migration, cultural tradition, labor, gender roles, community organization, and politics; and much more. Individual biographical entries profile women who have left their mark on the historical and cultural landscape....With more than 300 photographs, Latinas in the United States offers a mosaic of historical experiences, detailing how Latinas have shaped their own lives, cultures, and communities through mutual assistance and collective action, while confronting the pressures of colonialism, racism, discrimination, sexism, and poverty.

Latino America : a state-by-state encyclopedia / edited by Mark Overmyer-Velázquez ; foreword by Stephen Pitti.  Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2008. 2 volumes.  Main Library E184.S75 L35555 2008 :  A Hispanic and Latino presence in what is now the United States goes back to Spanish settlement in the sixteenth century in Florida and the progressive U.S. conquest of the Spanish-controlled territory of California and the Southwest by 1853 and the Gadsden Purchase. Mexicans in this newly American territory had to struggle to hold on to their land. The overlooked history and the debates over new immigration from Mexico and Central America are illuminated by this first state-by-state history of people termed Latinos or Hispanics. Much of this information is hard to find and has never been researched before. Students and other readers will be able to trace the Latino presence through time per state through a chronology and historical overview and read about noteworthy Latinos in the state and the cultural contributions Latinos have made to communities in that state. Taken together, a more complete picture of Latinos emerges. The information allows understanding of the current status-where the Latino presence is now, what types of work they are doing, and how they are faring in places with only a small Latino presence.

Latino history and culture : an encyclopedia / David J. Leonard and Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo, editors. Armonk, NY : Sharpe Reference, c2010. 2 volumes. Cezar Chavez Collection (1 West) E184.S75 L3622 2010 : Latinos are the fastest growing population in America today. This two-volume encyclopedia traces the history of Latinos in the United States from colonial times to the present, focusing on their impact on the nation in its historical development and current culture.

Latino History Day by Day / Caryn E. Neumann and Tammy S. Neuman.   Greenwood, 2013.  353pp.  on order : It is not news to most people that Latinos are increasingly influential in 21st-century America. What may come as a surprise is the role this population has played throughout U.S. history. Latinos helped defend the Alamo in 1836, were prominent players in the "Zoot Suit Riots" of 1943, and came to the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1954 decision that ended lawful segregation between Latinos and whites....This title takes a calendrical approach to illuminating the history of Latinos and life in the United States and adds more value than a simple "this day in history" through primary source excerpts and resources for further research....Latino/a history has been relatively slow in gaining recognition despite the population's rich and varied history. Engaging and informative, Latino History Day by Day: A Reference Guide to Events will help address that oversight. Much more than just a "this-day-in-history" list, the guide describes important events in Latino/a history, augmenting many entries with a brief excerpt from a primary document. All entries include two annotated books and websites as key resources for follow up....The day-to-day reference is organized by the 365 days of the year with each day drawing from events that span several hundred years of Latino/a history, from Mexican Americans to Puerto Ricans to Cuban Americans. With this guide in hand, teachers will be able to more easily incorporate Latino/a history into their classes. Students will find the book an easy-to-use guide to the Latino/a past and an ideal starting place for research.

The Oxford encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States / Suzanne Oboler and Deena J. González, editors in chief.  Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2005. 4 volumes. Main Library E184.S75 O97 2005 : This reference offers over 900 articles, including many biographies, relating the complex history of American Latinos and Latinas from a consciously Latino/a point of view. Oboler (Latin American and Latino studies, U. of Illinois, Chicago) and González (Chicana/o studies, Loyola Marymount U., Illinois) have made a concerted effort at inclusivity, resulting in the thorough treatment of a large selection of topics. The articles are devoted to the stories of individual achievements, cultural and social issues and traditions, significant places and groups, and pertinent themes. Many articles are devoted to political, military, and social groups; events; and issues that concern America's vexed and often racist treatment of the Latino/a population. Each article is written by a specialist and contains an in-depth discussion of the topic, its history, significance, and impact, written in language that will be accessible to undergraduate students and the general reader. A list of cross-references and bibliography follow each entry. The entries concern such major topics as ethnic groups, national groups, demography, race, ethnicity, migration, immigration, the border, language, language rights, religion, folklore, festivals, education, media, literature, politics, the law, environment, and economy.

The Routledge companion to Latino/a literature / edited by Suzanne Bost and Frances R. Aparicio. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York : Routledge, 2013. 565pp. Cezar Chavez Collection (1 West) PS153.H56 R68 2013 : Latino/a literature is one of the fastest developing fields in the discipline of literary studies. It represents an identity that is characterized by fluidity and diversity, often explored through divisions formed by language, race, gender, sexuality, and immigration. The Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature presents over forty essays by leading and emerging international scholars of Latino/a literature and analyses: (1)  Regional, cultural and sexual identities in Latino/a literature; (2)  Worldviews and traditions of Latino/a cultural creation; (3)  Latino/a literature in different international context' (4)  The impact of differing literary forms of Latino/a literature; (5) The politics of canon formation in Latino/a literature.  This collection provides a map of the critical issues central to the discipline, as well as uncovering new perspectives and new directions for the development of the field. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the past, present and future of this literary culture.

Multicultural Sources

Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America (print) / contributing editor, Robert von Dassanowsky ; author of introduction, Rudolph J. Vecoli ; edited by Jeffrey Lehman. Detroit : Gale Group, c2000. 3 vols. Main Library E184.A1 G14 2000 : Essays on approximately 150 culture groups of the U.S., from Acadians to Yupiats, covering their history, acculturation and assimilation, family and community dynamics, language and religion.

Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America. Primary Documents (print) / edited by Jeffrey Lehman. Detroit, MI : Gale Group, c1999. 2 volumes. Main Library E184.A1 G15 1999 : Primary documents, including letters, articles, cartoons, photos, and songs, illuminate the experience of culture groups in the U.S. from colonial times to the present.

The Gale encyclopedia of multicultural America / Thomas Riggs, editor.  Detroit : Gale, Cengage Learning, 2014.  3rd edition, 4 volumes.   E184.A1 G14 2014 : This third edition has been thoroughly reorganized and has 23 new entries, each covering an immigrant or indigenous group in the U.S. Although the writing on cultural history and political activity is well done, the information highlighted in separate boxes is what truly fleshes out each culture. Students will find population maps, Sioux proverbs, and a Salvadoran recipe for chili-lime mango.

Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (print) / Stephan Thernstrom, editor ; Ann Orlov, managing editor, Oscar Handlin, consulting editor. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press, 1980. 1076pp. Oversize Collection (Basement, Center) E184.A1 H35 : Provides long, scholarly essays on all the ethnic groups in the United States, not only the immigrants and refugees who had come voluntarily but also those already in the New World when the first Europeans arrived, those whose ancestors came involuntarily as slaves, and those who became part of the American population as a result of conquest or purchase and subsequent annexation. Extensive bibliographies follow all major essays.

Multicultural America : a multimedia encyclopedia / Carlos E. Cortés, editor, University of California, Riverside.  Thousand Oaks, California : SAGE Reference, A Division of SAGE Publications, Inc., 2013.  E184.A1 M8145 2013 Online via Sage Knowledge.  : This comprehensive title is among the first to extensively use newly released 2010 U.S. Census data to examine multiculturalism today and tomorrow in America. This distinction is important considering the following NPR report by Eyder Peralta: “Based on the first national numbers released by the Census Bureau, the AP reports that minorities account for 90 percent of the total U.S. growth since 2000, due to immigration and higher birth rates for Latinos.” According to John Logan, a Brown University sociologist who has analyzed most of the census figures, “The futures of most metropolitan areas in the country are contingent on how attractive they are to Hispanic and Asian populations.” Both non-Hispanic whites and blacks are getting older as a group. “These groups are tending to fade out,” he added. Another demographer, William H. Frey with the Brookings Institution, told The Washington Post that this has been a pivotal decade. “We’re pivoting from a white-black-dominated American population to one that is multiracial and multicultural.”  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.

Multicultural America : An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans.  Ronald H. Bayor. Santa Barbara, Calif. : Greenwood, c2011.  4 volumes (Online resource) : One of the main reasons the United States has evolved so quickly and radically in the last 100 years is the large number of ethnically diverse immigrants that have become part of its population. People from every area of the world have come to America in an effort to realize their dreams of more opportunity and better lives, either for themselves or for their children. This book provides a fascinating picture of the lives of immigrants from 50 countries who have contributed substantially to the diversity of the United States, exploring all aspects of the immigrants' lives in the old world as well as the new. Each essay explains why these people have come to the United States, how they have adjusted to and integrated into American society, and what portends for their future. Accounts of the experiences of the second generation and the effects of relations between the United States and the sending country round out these unusually rich and demographically detailed portraits.  Immigrant groups include: Afghan, Argentinian, Bahamian, Bangladesh, Brazilian, Cambodian, Chilean, Chinese, Columbian, Costa Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Ecuadorian, Egyption, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Filipino, Ghanian, Guatemalan, Guyanese, Haitian, Honduran, Indian (Asian Indian), Indonesian, Iranian, Iraqi, Israeli Jewish, Jamaican, Japanese, Kenyan, Korean, Laotion, Lebanese, Liberian, Mexican, Nicaraguan, Nigerian, Pakistani, Palestinian and Jordanian, Panamanian, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Salvadorian, Somalian, Sudanese, Taiwanese, Thai, Trinidadian and Tobagonian, Venezuelan, and Vietnamese.

Multiculturalism in the United States : a Comparative Guide to Acculturation and Ethnicity (print) / edited by John D. Buenker and Lorman A. Ratner. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2005. Rev. and expanded ed., 435pp. Main Library E184.A1 M85 2005 : Contents -- Introduction / John D. Buenker and Lorman A. Ratner -- African Americans / Cynthia Greggs Fleming -- American Indians / Vine Deloria, Jr. -- Arab-Americans / Gregory Orfalea -- Asian Indian Americans / Karen I. Leonard -- Chinese Americans / George Anthony Peffer -- Dominican Americans / Silvio Torres-Saillant -- Filipino Americans / Augusto Espiritu -- German Americans / James M. Bergquist -- Haitian Americans / Marc Prou -- Irish Americans / Lawrence J. McCaffrey -- Italian Americans / Dominic Candeloro -- Jewish Americans / Edward S. Shapiro -- Korean Americans / Kyeyoung Park -- Mexican Americans / Matt S. Meier -- Polish Americans / Edward R. Kantowicz -- Scandinavian Americans / John Robert Christianson -- Vietnamese Americans / Hien Duc Do -- Bibliographical essay / John D. Buenker, Joseph D. Buenker, and Lorman A. Ratner. Interest in ethnic studies and multiculturalism has grown considerably in the years since the 1992 publication of the first edition of this work. Co-editors Ratner and Buenker have revised and updated the first edition of Multiculturalism in the United States to reflect the changes, patterns, and shifts in immigration showing how American culture affects immigrants and is affected by them. Common topics that helped determine the degree and pace of acculturation for each ethnic group are addressed in each of the 17 essays, providing the reader with a comparative reference tool. Seven new ethnic groups are included: Arabs, Haitians, Vietnamese, Koreans, Filipinos, Asian Indians, and Dominicans. New essays on the Irish, Chinese, and Mexicans are provided as are revised and updated essays on the remaining groups from the first edition.

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