Traditionally, anthropology is divided into four subfields: social/cultural anthropology, physical/biological anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. This guide lists several of the core reference sources in physical/biological anthropology, social/cultural anthropology, and linguistics, but is not intended to be comprehensive.  Specialized interests may also be served by one of the following research guides: Archaeology, Folklore, Human Relations Area Files (HRAF), Linguistics, and Native American Studies.


deadmen  languagemigration  culturereligion  cineethnography


AAA Style Guide. 2009.


Anthropological Resources: A Guide to Archival, Library and Museum Collections. 1999.

Organized by geographic location of repositories, this work provides access to anthropological scholarship in 246 archives, libraries, and museums throughout the world. “The central focus of the guide is on primary, non-artifactual documentation of anthropological significance — such as original scholars’ fieldnotes, site reports, papers, manuscripts, archives, oral history collections, sound recordings, photographs, films and videos.” Mugar GN14 A77 1999.

Cultural Anthropology: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources. 2007.

Guide to reference literature in cultural anthropology and related fields, as well as libraries, publishers and organizations. Mugar Ref. X GN42 J33 2007.

Fieldwork in the Library: A Guide to Anthropology and Related Area Studies. 1994.

The first part of this work provides access to reference sources in cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, physical anthropology, and related disciplines. The second section is arranged by geographic area and cultural area, providing access to empirical research into specific peoples and sites. Mugar GN42 W47 1994.



Introduction to Library Research in Anthropology. 2nd ed. 1998.

An introduction to the “mechanics and resources of library use” for undergraduates in anthropology, this guide describes library-based resources in anthropology, the Human Relations Area Files, Library of Congress classification schemes, online databases, and Internet sources. Mugar GN42 W44 1998.

The Social Sciences: A Cross-Disciplinary Guide to Selected Sources. 2002.

See pages 235-257 for an annotated list of reference literature, including electronic sources, in anthropology. Mugar Ref. X Z7161 S648 2002.


Films for Anthropology


Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Aggression and Conflict: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia. 1994.

Topical essays offer cross-cultural analysis and synthesis of such social phenomena as familial and other forms of conflict (shunning, foot-binding…), as well as conciliation strategies. Mugar HM136 L46 1994.

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution. 1992.

Arranged thematically, this work presents recent scholarship on human origins, human and primate behavior, the fossil record, and molecular genetics. Mugar GN281 C345 1992.

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers. 1999.

Contains individual case studies of the history, ethnography, and current status of 50+ hunter-gatherer groups, and thematic essays covering such topics as nutrition, gender, religion, social life, and human rights. Mugar GN388 C35 1999.

Chronology of the Evolution – Creationism Controversy. 2010.

“Contains 1,400 chronologically arranged entries on important political, legal, and social events in the ongoing controversy between science- and faith-based views of the Earth and life.” Mugar Ref. X GN281.4 M65 2010.

Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology: Humanity, Culture and Social Life. 1994.

Contemporary survey of biological, social and cultural anthropology, with 38 lengthy articles synthesizing current scholarship in the field. Mugar GN25 C65 1994.

Countries and their Cultures. 4 vols. 2001.

From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, 225 entries describe the ways of life of the peoples of each country. Mugar GN307 C68 2001.

The Dictionary of Anthropology. 1997.

Contains 500+ “short definitions of terms regularly used by anthropologists, topical entries on significant anthropological concepts and theoretical approaches, and survey entries on some of the broader fields within the discipline.” Also includes biographical sketches of prominent anthropologists, deceased and living. Entries include bibliographic references (cited author-date style), and there is a 3000-item integrated bibliography at the end of the volume. Primarily emphasizes concepts in cultural and social anthropology, but also includes archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistics terms. Mugar Ref. X GN307 D485 1997.

Dictionary of Anthropology. 1986.

Covers 1100 terms, theoretical concepts, and biographical profiles in social and cultural anthropology. Mugar GN11 D48 1986.

Dictionary of Concepts in Cultural Anthropology. 1991.

Contains definitions, historical origins and developments, and bibliographic references for 80 key concepts in cultural anthropology. Mugar GN307 W56 1991.

Dictionary of Concepts in Physical Anthropology. 1991.

Consists of brief definitions, historical origins and developments, and sources of additional information for 75+ concepts in physical anthropology. Mugar GN50.3 S74 1991.

Encyclopedia of Anthropology. 5 vols. 2006.

From “aborigines” to “Zuni Indians” the 1,000+ entries focus on “physical/ biological anthropology, archaeology, cultural/social anthropology, linguistics, and applied anthropology. Also included are relevant articles on geology, paleontology, biology, evolution, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and theology. The contributions are authored by 300 internationally renowned experts, professors, and scholars from some of the most distinguished universities, institutes and museums in the world. Special attention is given to: hominid evolution, primate behavior, genetics, ancient civilizations, cross-cultural studies, social theories, and the value of human language for symbolic communication.” Mugar Ref. X GN11 E63 2006.

Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology. 4 vols. 1996.

Ranging from Wild Yam Question to Mead-Freeman Controversy, the 340 in-depth articles in this work cover the methods, perspectives and concepts of cultural anthropology. Mugar GN307 E 52 1996.

Encyclopedia of European Peoples. 2 vols. 2006.

From Abazians to Zyrians, this encyclopedia covers the origin, language, history, and culture of the people of Europe from prehistoric times to the present. The work includes a chronology, extensive appendixes, and a bibliography. Mugar Ref. X D1056 W35 2006.

The Encyclopedia of Evolution: Humanity’s Search for its Origins. 1990.

Contains 600+ articles on evolution and its impact on society, from Bonzo to biogenetic law and from “Planet of the Apes” to plate tectonics. Mugar GN281 M53 1990.

Encyclopedia of Folk Medicine: Old World and New World Traditions. 2004.

200+ entries on all aspects of folk medicine practices and beliefs in the United Kingdom and North America. Mugar Ref. X R733 H376 2004.

Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. 3 vols. 2003.

Contains 600 signed articles by food historians, anthropologists, chefs and bakers, food stylists, and specialists in the culinary arts on the role of food in different cultures throughout time and in all parts of the world. Baby food, Betty Crocker, fasting and abstinence, cannibalism, food security, obesity, nutraceuticals, Ramadan, and Rome and the Roman empire are just a few of the topics covered. Mugar Ref. X GT2850 E53 2003.

Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory. 2nd ed. 2000.

Includes approximately 800 entries on human evolution and paleoanthropology, including fossil primates and human groups, sites, tool types, archaeological phases, geological dating methods, and leading figures in the field. Contains photographs, maps, drawings, and charts. Mugar Ref. X GN281 E53 2000.

The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. 14 vols. 2nd ed. 2006.

Entries are arranged alphabetically, and include articles on individual languages, linguistics and linguists. Topics include animal communication, countries and languages, linguistic anthropology, and more. Mugar Ref. X P29 E48 2006.


Encyclopedia of Taboos. 2000.

Guide to taboos, examining their meaning, use, and importance in economics, politics, religion, and society. Mugar Ref. X GN471.4 H65 2000.

The Encyclopedia of the Peoples of the World. 1993.

Encyclopedic guide to contemporary peoples and ethnic groups worldwide, with an emphasis on political and geographical history, rather than cultural differences. Contains maps, illustrations and references. Mugar GN495.4 E53 1993.

Encyclopedia of the World’s Minorities. 3 vols. 2005.

From “aborigines” to “Zoroastrians,” the 562 essays cover topics, nations, ethnic groups, and biographies of individuals significant in the history of minority peoples. Mugar Ref. X GN495.4 E63 2005.

Encyclopedia of World Cultures. 10 vols. 1991 – 1996.

Ten-volume encyclopedia, arranged by geographic region, provides descriptive summaries on world cultures. Mugar Ref. GN307 E53 1991.

Encyclopedia of World Cultures. Supplement. 2002.

Includes entries for cultures not included in the 10-volume set as well as updated and expanded entries. Mugar Ref. X GN307 E53 1991.

Ethnic Groups of South Asia and the Pacific: An Encyclopedia. 2012.

“Organized alphabetically by ethnic group, each entry provides an introduction followed by accessible descriptions of the origins, early history, cultural life, political life, and modern history of the ethnicity.”


Ethnic Relations: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia. 1994.

Provides definitions and cross-cultural information about such topics as ethnic cleansing, assimilation and ethnocentrism, and descriptive profiles of 38 ethnic conflicts around the world. Mugar GN496 L48 1994.

Ethnopolitical Encyclopaedia of Europe. 2004.

“This volume presents a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of ethnopolitics in Europe. It details the dynamics of the political mobilization of ethnic groups across the continent and its consequences for domestic and international politics.” Mugar GN492 E86 2004.

Historical Dictionary of the Peoples of the Southeast Asian Massif. 2006.

Contains entries for approximately 200 groups occupying Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and part of southwest China. Cross-referenced entries also cover such topics as individual leaders, economy, polity, and society. There is an extensive bibliography. Mugar Ref. X DS524 M54 2006.

History of Physical Anthropology: An Encyclopedia. 2 vols. 1997.

Contains historical and contemporary biographical sketches, entries on the development of physical anthropology in specific countries, and entries on the history of key concepts in the various subfields of physical anthropology (e.g., anthropometry, dental anthropology, forensic anthropology, primate field studies). Mugar Ref. X GN50.3 H57 1997.

International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. 26 vols. 2001.

Contains authoritative articles on anthropology, archaeology, ethnography, ethnology, folklore, linguistics, and related fields, and biographical essays on prominent anthropologists no longer living. Mugar Ref. X H41 I58 2001.

International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 2nd ed. 9 vols. 2008.

Includes authoritative articles on many aspects of anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics, as well as biographical essays on anthropologists. Consult the thematic outline in volume 1 for articles classified under the broad categories of “anthropology,” “archaeology,” “linguistics,” and “societies.” Mugar Ref. X H40 A2 I5 2008.

Law and Politics: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia. 1995.

Comparison of legal organization and the use of law, politics and political organization across cultures. Entries include political anthropology, slavery and inheritance. Mugar K487 P65 S77 1995.

Marriage Customs of the World: From Henna to Honeymoons. 2004.

“An encyclopedia of marriage rites, traditions, and beliefs from around the world, ranging from ancient practices to contemporary ceremonies.” Includes 200+ alphabetically arranged entries with brief bibliographies. Mugar Ref. X GT2690 M65 2004.

Marriage, Family and Relationships: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia. 1994.

Topical articles with cross-cultural analysis of marriage and family, including both universal characteristics and less-common practices. Mugar GN480 B76 1994.

Native Peoples of the World: An Encyclopedia of Groups, Cultures and Contemporary Issues. 3 vols. 2013.

“This work examines the world’s indigenous peoples, their cultures, the countries in which they reside, and the issues that impact these groups.” Mugar Ref. X GN380 N383 2013.

Routledge Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology. 2nd ed. 2010.

Contains 275 substantive entries on key anthropological themes and ideas; brief biographies of 300+ leading figures in anthropology; and a glossary of more than 600 key terms. Mugar Ref. X GN307 R68 2010.

The Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods. 2 vols. 2008.

“Entries cover every major facet of qualitative methods, including access to research participants, data coding, research ethics, the role of theory in qualitative research and much more.” Mugar Ref. X H61 S234 2008.

Shamanism: An Encyclopedia of World Beliefs, Practices, and Culture. 2 vols. 2004.

Two-volume work containing general entries on the broader aspects of shamanism and regional entries arranged in ten sections on a geographical basis. Mugar GN475.8 S445 2004.


Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready Reference Handbook. 1998.

Arranged alphabetically by country name within four regions, this volume contains profiles describing the ethnic composition and ethnic relations of each country. Mugar Ref. X GN325 L46 1998.

Handbook of Ethnography. 2001.

Authoritative essays on ethnographic methods and ethnographic research in the social sciences. Mugar GN345 H365 2001.

Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States. 4 vols. 1993.

Important contributions to scholarship on the U.S. Hispanic population. Contains separate volumes for anthropology, sociology, history, and literature and art. Some overlap between volumes. Mugar E184 S75 H365 1993.

Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology. 1998.

“The latest and most complete compilation of the current state of the art in anthropological methods….useful to academic anthropologists and practicing anthropologists.” Covers such topics as epistemology, ethics, data acquisition, data interpretation, and applied anthropology. Mugar GN345 H37 1998.

Handbook of Middle American Indians. 16 vols. 1964-1976.

Contains essays on the ethnography, archaeology, physical anthropology and social anthropology of the Indians of Middle America. Updated by supplements. Stone Science Library F1434 H3. Also Mugar F1434 H3 Storage: Use Request Form.

Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols. [in progress] 1978 – .

Standard source of information on the prehistory, history and cultures of the native peoples of North America north of Mexico. Each volume contains essays on specific aspects of native North American life with an extensive bibliography and detailed index. Mugar E77 H25.

Handbook of South American Indians. 7 vols. 1946-1959.

Survey of tribes of South America, with emphasis on the European contact period. Mugar E51 E87 no. 143.

Bibliographies and Catalogs

Anthropological Bibliographies: A Selected Guide. 1981.

Extensive list of bibliographies arranged geographically with a final section of topical bibliographies. Z5111 A57M. Storage: Use Request Form.

Anthropological Fieldwork: An Annotated Bibliography. 1988.

Contains 700 entries on anthropological fieldwork from the early twentieth century to 1986. Includes geographical and subject indexes. Mugar Z5118 F44 G7 1988. Storage: Use Request Form.

Ecce Homo: An Annotated Bibliographic History of Physical Anthropology. 1986.

Contains 2340 references from ancient times to 1960 on the history of physical anthropology. Arranged chronologically. Mugar Z5118 S7 S64 1986. Storage: Use request form.

Library Catalogue of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University. 54 vols. 1963. Supplements, 1970-1979.

Photoreproduction of the card catalog of the Peabody Museum Library (now Tozzer Library), the largest collection of anthropological literature in the world. Provides author and subject access to anthropological literature in journals and books from the late nineteenth century to 1977. Mugar Z5119 F63. Storage: Use request form. 2nd supplement on microfilm, call no. Z5119 P42 and P43.

World Food Habits Bibliography: Resources for the Anthropological Study of Food Habits.


Yearbooks and Review Literature


Biographical Sources

Biographical Dictionary of Social and Cultural Anthropology. 2004.

International in scope, the nearly 600 signed entries include historical and contemporary sociocultural anthropologists. Entries list fieldwork and key publications. Mugar Ref. X GN20 B56 2004.

Biographical Directory of Anthropologists Born Before 1920. 1988.

Entries include biographical data, major contributions, and published sources of biographical information. Mugar GN20 B565 1988.

International Dictionary of Anthropologists. 1991.

Biographical dictionary of 725 anthropologists born prior to 1920. The scope is worldwide. Mugar GN20 I5 1991.

International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. 26 vols. 2001.

Includes biographical essays on 147 individuals prominent in the social and behavioral sciences. Mugar Ref. X H41 I58 2001.

International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 19 vols. 1968-1991.

Contains lengthy biographical essays on approximately 100 anthropologists and several hundred social scientists. Theo Ref. H40 A2 I5.

Women Anthropologists: A Biographical Dictionary. 1988.

Biographical profiles of 58 women anthropologists born between 1836 and 1934. Profiles include a selected bibliography of works by or about each individual. Mugar GN20 W63 1988.



Atlas for Anthropology. 2nd ed. 1971.

Includes lists of tribal and ethnic groups and maps indicating cultural areas, tribal groups, language families, and prehistoric sites. Mugar G1046 E1 S7 1971. Storage: Use Request Form.

Atlas of Mankind. 1982.

Contains general background information on peoples of the world, including issues such as migration, race, kinship, language, and environment. Mugar Ref. X G1046 E1 A8 1982.

Atlas of World Cultures: A Geographical Guide to Ethnographic Literature. 1989.

Geographical guide to ethnographic books, articles, reports, archaeological materials, maps, and atlases for 3500+ cultures. Mugar G1046 E1 P7 1989.

Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative.


UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger.


Human Relations Area Files (HRAF)

The Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) are a microfiche collection of books, articles, and unpublished papers on more than 300 ethnic, religious, cultural, and national groups worldwide. Materials are arranged according to a classification system based on manuals cited below. There is a separate research guide on HRAF.

Outline of Cultural Materials. 5th ed. 1982.

Subject index to HRAF. Assigns a numerical designation to more than 700 categories of human culture. Used in conjunction with the Outline of World Cultures to locate information in the HRAF archive. Mugar Micro X Z5111 M86 1982M.

Outline of World Cultures. 6th ed. 1983.

Classifies all known world cultures by geographic region. Assigns alphanumeric designations to cultural groups. Mugar Micro X Z5111 M87 1983.