Background resources (dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks) will introduce you to key concepts in anthropology and help you define your research topic. Below is a selection of what is available at the library.

To find more, go to the Summon search box and type in the relevant keywords (ex. handbook and race) and use the "books" filter on the left of the screen.

Biographical Dictionaries




Starting more broadly:

Start with the Summon search box to search across almost all of the databases the library subscribes to. Use the main keywords found within your research topic. As you retrieve results, use the Summon filters on the left of the screen to narrow or broaden your search.

Searching more specifically:

When you need to search by specific fields like methodology or geography, you should go directly to specialized databases such as the ones listed below.

Key databases:

Anthro Plus: Comprehensive international coverage in most branches of anthropology and archaeology, folklore, material culture and interdisciplinary studies.

AnthroSource: Full text access publications of the American Anthropological Association, including American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, and others.

eHRAF World Cultures: cross-cultural and ethnographic database containing descriptive information on cultures (based on the Outline of World Cultures -OWC) and ethnic groups from around the world.

Sage Research Methods: coverage spans the full range of research methods used in the social and behavioral sciences and resources to help with writing a research question, conducting a literature review, choosing a research method, collecting and analyzing data, and writing up the findings.

Multidisciplinary databases:

JSTOR: Digital library of academic journals, books and primary sources.

Scopus: A multidisciplinary abstract and citation database of research literature and web sources. No fulltext.

Web of Science: A multidisciplinary index of citations to articles in the sciences, social sciences and humanities. No fulltext.

Wiley Online Library: comprehensive collection of online journals, books, and research resources, covering life, health, social, and physical sciences.

For a more complete listing, see databases by subject webpage


Watch films produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Includes historical films dating back to 1928 to current contemporary releases, including award-winning documentaries, animation and fiction.

Kanopy is a streaming service that provides a platform for educational video products covering a wide range of subjects, from arts, humanities, health, business, education, and more.

Library DVD Collection
The library's video collection is housed in our Reserves room. Since the shelves are not browsable, it is best to do a catalogue search for the title of the movie you are looking for. You can then bring the title and call number to Reserves on the main floor of the library.

Is the film you're looking for not in our collection? Search Watmedia to locate videos at other Ontario universities.  If you wish to borrow a video listed in Watmedia please fill out our Interfilm Video Request form - do not submit requests directly to Watmedia.


ArtStor Digital Library : provides access to 2.5+ million images of the world’s cultural heritage, all rights-cleared for use in education.

Books on visual anthropology:

Also consult our images "find" guide.

"Classic Anthropology"  Books (list provided by Dr. Brian Given)


Crapanzano, V. (1980). Tuhami, portrait of a Moroccan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1937). Witchcraft, oracles and magic among the Azande. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1950). The Nuer: A description of the modes of livelihood and political institutions of a nilotic people. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Fallers, L. A. (1964). The king's men; leadership and status in Buganda on the eve of independence. London: Oxford University Press.

Fernandez, J. W. (1982). Bwiti : An ethnography of the religious imagination in Africa. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Fortes, M. (1945). The dynamics of clanship among the Tallensi, being the first part of an analysis of the social structure of a trans-Volta tribe. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fortes, M. (1957). The web of kinship among the tallensi; the second part of an analysis of the social structure of a trans-volta tribe. London; New York: Oxford University Press.

Gluckman, M. (1954). Rituals of rebellion in South-East Africa.  Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Griaule, M. (1965). Conversations with Ogotemmeli; an introduction to Dogon religious ideas. London: Oxford University Press.

International African Institute, & Forde, C. D. (1954). African worlds: Studies in the cosmological ideas and social values of African peoples. London, New York: Oxford University Press.

Karp, I. (1978). Fields of change among the Iteso of Kenya. London ; Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Kuper, H., & International African Institute. (1965). An African aristocracy: Rank among the Swazi. London: Oxford University Press.

Lienhardt, R. G. (1961). Divinity and experience: The religion of the Dinka. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Little, K. L. (1951). The mende of Sierra Leone: A West African people in transition. London: Routledge.

Nadel, S. F. (1954). Nupe religion. London: Routledge & Paul.

Nadel, S. F., & International institute of African languages and cultures. (1951).  A black byzantium; the kingdom of Nupe in Nigeria. London: Oxford University Press.

Roscoe, J. (1965). The Baganda; an account of their native customs and beliefs (2nd ed.). London: Cass.

Shostak, M., & Nisa. (1981). Nisa, the life and words of a !Kung woman. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Southall, A. W. (1956). Alur society: A study in processes and types of domination. Cambridge: Heffer.

Stenning, D. J. (1959). Savannah nomads: A study of the Woådaaåbe pastoral Fulani of Western Bornu Province, Northern Region, Nigeria. London: Published for the International African Institute by Oxford University Press.

Turner, V. W. (1967). The forest of symbols: Aspects of Ndembu ritual. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

Vansina, J. (1966). Kingdoms of the savanna. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Wilson, M. H. (1959). Divine kings and the "breath of men". Cambridge: University Press.

Wilson, M. H. (1967). Good company: A study of Nyakyusa agevillages. Boston: Beacon Press.


Berreman, G. D. (1962). Behind many masks. Ithaca, N.Y.: Society for Applied Anthropology.

Du Bois, C. A. (1944). The people of Alor: A social-psychological study of an East Indian island. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Geertz, C. (1963). Agricultural involution : The process of ecological change in Indonesia. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Geertz, C. (1963). Peddlers and princes : Social change and economic modernization in two Indonesian towns. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Geertz, H., & Geertz, C. (1975). Kinship in Bali. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Leach, E. R. (1961). Pul Eliya, a village in Ceylon: A study of land tenure and kinship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Leach, E. R. (1965). Political systems of highland Burma : A study of Kachin social structure. Boston: Beacon.

Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. (1964). The Andaman islanders (1st Free Press paperback ed.). New York: Free Press.

Spiro, M. E. (1977). Kinship and marriage in Burma : A cultural and psychodynamic analysis. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Bell, D. (1993). Daughters of the dreaming (2nd ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Goodale, J. C. (1971). Tiwi wives; a study of the women of Melville Island, North Australia. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Râoheim, G., & Muensterberger, W. (1974). Children of the desert; western tribes of central Australia. New York: Basic Books.

Warner, W. L. (1958). A Black civilization; a social study of an Australian tribe. (Rev. ed.). New York: Harper.

North America

Benedict, R. (1946). Patterns of culture. New York: Penguin.

Boas, F. (1964). The Central Eskimo. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Branouw, V. (1977). Wisconsin Chippewa myths and tales and their relation to Chippewa life. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Briggs, J. L. (1970). Never in anger: Portrait of an Eskimo family. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Drucker, P. (1951). The Northern and Central Nootkan tribes. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.

Fenton, W. N., & Kurath, G. P. (1991). The Iroquois eagle dance : An offshoot of the Calumet dance. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press.

Goldman, I. (1975). The mouth of heaven : An introduction to Kwakiutl religious thought. New York ; Toronto: J. Wiley.

Hoebel, E. A. (1960). The Cheyennes: Indians of the great plains. New York: Holt.

Honigmann, J. J., & Honigmann, I. (1965). Eskimo townsmen. Ottawa: Canadian Research Centre for Anthropology, University of Ottawa.

Hughes, C. C. (1960). An Eskimo village in the modern world. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

Kluckhohn, C., Kluckhohn, R., Leighton, D. C., & Wales, L. H. (1974). The Navaho (Rev. ed.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Landes, R. (1968). Ojibwa religion and the Midéwiwin. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Lewis, O. (1959). Five families: Mexican case studies in the culture of poverty. New York: Basic Books.

Lewis, O. (1966). Vida: A Puerto Rican family in the culture of poverty--San Juan and New York. New York: Random House.

Liebow, E. (1967). Tally's corner: A study of Negro street corner men. Boston: Little, Brown.

Miner, H. (1939). St. Denis, a French-Canadian parish. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mooney, J. (1965). The ghost-dance religion and the Sioux outbreak of 1890 (Abridged ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Redfield, R. (1941). The folk culture of Yucatan. Chicago: The University of Chicago press.

Redfield, R., & Villa Rojas, A. (1962). Chan Kom, a Maya village. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Stearns, M. L. (1981). Haida culture in custody : The Masset band. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Thompson, L., & Joseph, A. (1947). The Hopi way. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Trigger, B. G. (1969). The Huron farmers of the North. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Trigger, B. G. (1976). The children of Aataentsic : A history of the Huron people to 1660. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.

Wallace, A. F. C., & Steen, S. C. (1969). The death and rebirth of the Seneca. New York: Knopf.

Witherspoon, G. (1975). Navajo kinship and marriage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Bateson, G. (1958). Naven, a survey of the problems suggested by a composite picture of the culture of a New Guinea tribe drawn from three points of view (2nd ed.). Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Burridge, K. (1960). Mambu : A Melanesian millennium. London: Methuen.

Firth, R. W. (1936). We, the Tikopia; a sociological study of kinship in primitive Polynesia. London: Allen.

Fortune, R. (1963). Sorcerers of Dobu: The social anthropology of the Dobu islanders of the Western Pacific (Rev. ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Fortune, R. (1965). Manus religion: An ethnological study of the Manus natives of the Admiralty Islands. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Glasse, R. M., & Meggitt, M. J. (1969). Pigs, pearishells, and women: Marriage in the New Guinea highlands: A symposium. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

Keesing, R. M. (1982). Kwaio religion : The living and the dead in a Solomon Island society. New York: Columbia University Press.

Malinowski, B. (1950). Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An account of native enterprise and adventure in the archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea. New York: Dutton.

Oliver, D. L. (1955). A Solomon Island society: Kinship and leadership among the Siuai of Bougainville. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Rappaport, R. A. (1968). Pigs for the ancestors : Ritual in the ecology of a New Guinea people. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Weiner, A. B. (1976). Women of value, men of renown : New perspectives in Trobriand exchange. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Whiting, J. W. M. (1941). Becoming a kwoma: Teaching and learning in a New Guinea tribe. London: Milford.

Worsley, P. (1957). The trumpet shall sound; a study of "cargo" cults in Melanesia. London: MacGibbon & Kee.

South America

Barton, R. F. (1946). The religion of the Ifugaos. Menasha, Wis: American Anthropological Assn.

Holmberg, A. R. (1969). Nomads of the long bow : The Siriono of eastern Bolivia. Garden City, N.Y.: Published for the American Museum of Natural History by Natural History Press.

Maybury-Lewis, D. (1967). Akwe-shavante society. London: Oxford University Press.

Redfield, R. (1930). Tepoztlan, a Mexican village; a study of folk life. Chicago: The University of Chicago press.

Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. (1971). Amazonian cosmos: The sexual and religious symbolism of the Tukano indians. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Arensberg, C. M. (1937). The Irish countryman: An anthropological study. London: Macmillan.

Banfield, E. C. (1958). The moral basis of a backward society. Glencoe, Ill.: University of Chicago.

Barth, F. (1961). Nomads of South Persia : The Basseri tribe of the Khamseh Confederacy. Oslo: University Press.

Dumont, J. (1978). The headman and I : Ambiguity and ambivalence in the fieldworking experience. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Homans, G. C. (1941). English villagers of the thirteenth century. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Rabin, A. I. (1965). Growing up in the kibbutz : Comparison of the personality of children brought up in the kibbutz and of family-reared children. New York: Springer Pub. Co.

Wylie, L. W. (1964). Village in the Vaucluse (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Content last updated: September 26, 2018