ICSM Homesick: Searching for Home in Multi-Ethnic American Literature

IC Library Print & Media Resources

Selected Subject Searches

Home in literature  
Home in motion pictures 
Home in popular culture 
Home--Psychological aspects 
Home--Social aspects 

Ethnicity in literature 
Ethnic groups in literature 
Minorities in literature 
American fiction--Minority authors--History and criticism 
Multiculturalism in literature 
Imperialism in literature 
Decolonization in literature 

American literature--African American authors--History and criticism 
American literature--African American authors--History and criticism--Theory 
American literature--Arab American authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Asian American authors--History and criticism 
Caribbean literature--History and criticism 
American literature--Chinese American authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Cuban American authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Filipino American authors--History and criticism ​ 
American literature--Hispanic American authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Indian authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Italian American authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Jewish authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Mexican American authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Minority authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Pacific Islander American authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Portuguese American authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Polish American authors--History and criticism 
American literature--Vietnamese American authors--History and criticism 

African Americans--Race identity
African Americans--Social conditions
African Americans--Social life and customs
Arab Americans
Arab Americans--Ethnic identity
Asian Americans
Asian Americans--Ethnic identity
Hispanic Americans
Hispanic Americans--Ethnic identity
Hispanic Americans--Cultural assimilation
Puerto Ricans--United States
Puerto Ricans--United States--Ethnic identity
Puerto Ricans--United States--Intellectual life
Puerto Ricans--United States--Social conditions
Puerto Ricans--United States--Social life and customs
Cuban Americans 
Cuban Americans--Intellectual life
Cuban Americans--Politics and government
Cuban Americans--Social conditions
Cuban Americans--Social life and customs
Caribbean Americans--Ethnic identity
Caribbean Americans--Intellectual life
Caribbean Americans--Race identity
Caribbean Americans--Social conditions
Haitians--United States
Haitian Americans--Ethnic identity
Jamaican Americans--Intellectual life
Scandinavian Americans
Irish Americans
Italian Americans
Italian Americans--Social life and customs
Chinese Americans
Chinese Americans--Ethnic identity
Japanese Americans
Japanese Americans--Ethnic identity
German Americans
Russian Americans
Russian Americans--Social conditions
East Indian Americans [India]
East Indian Americans--Ethnic identity
Mexican Americans
Mexican Americans--Ethnic identity
Jews--United States
Jews--United States--Identity
Jews--United States--Cultural assimilation
Muslims--United States
Muslims--United States--Ethnic identity
Hindus--United States
Indians of North America
Indians of North America--Ethnic Identity
Indians of North America--Cultural assimilation
Racially mixed people--Race identity--United States
Multiculturalism--United States 
Cultural pluralism--United States 
Race awareness--United States 
Ethnicity--United States 
Ethnic attitudes--United States 
Ethnic groups--United States 
United States--Ethnic relations 

IC Library Databases (Articles)

Recommended Databases

Among the journals accessible through IC Library databases:

     MLA International Bibliography  provides the most complete and fully indexed coverage of articles and books on modern literatures, linguistics, folklore, rhetoric, and composition from 1925 to the present. There is ample full text provided by ProQuest, as well as links to full-text articles in JSTOR and Project Muse. Full text from other IC databases is also readily available via the "GetIt" links below article citations.
     Because books, book chapters/essays, and dissertations will usually not be available full text, you may wish to limit your search to "Journal article" under "Source type."
     "Author's Work" and "Author as Subject" will be especially helpful search fields at finding literary criticism. And for additional search field options either click on "Show more fields," or, for the complete list, open the drop-down menus to the right of the "Anywhere" default for the top three rows of search slots. This list includes both "Literary Influence"--who influenced a particular author you have entered--and "Literary Source"--who was influenced by that particular author.
     If you set up a free "My Research" account with Proquest (top right), you can save all the articles you check, any searches you want to remember, and set up e-mail or RSS notification for new articles that match your search terms.
     JSTOR has excellent 100% full-text coverage of literary scholarship. There is no Subject searching, so remember to put titles and authors' names in quotation marks to search them as Keyword phrases--and leave authors' names in the normal first-name last-name order. Set "Limit" to "Article"--or else you may unleash an avalanche of reviews of books on your topic.
     JSTOR access to journal articles begins 2-4 years prior to the present--so don't look for any criticism from the last couple of years--but coverage always extends back to the first issue of each journal--in some cases into the 19th century and beyond.
    Project Muse , although a smaller database, it complements JSTOR.  LIke JSTOR it provides 100% full text of mostly scholarly journals, but its coverage is entirely current--mainly spanning the last 10-15 years.  Muse offers a basic keyword search (be sure to put the titles of literary works in quotation marks).  Once you've retrieved a set of articles you can sort them into broad categories using the Research Area options on the left.  
    Note: Checking the "Articles" box under Content Type before you run a search will eliminate reviews of books about your topic and leave you with just the articles on your topic.

     ProQuest Research Library & Academic Search Premier are comprehensive databases  and include considerable literary criticism--much of it full text. In running searches on authors, don't settle for a Keyword search on the author's name, as this will retrieve too many articles in which the author is only mentioned in passing. Instead use the specialized Subject search each provides.
In ProQest enter the author's name, last name first, in the "Person" slot.
In Academic Search Premier open the "Select a Field" drop down menu and search the author's name, last name first, in the "People" field.
     In both databases the titles of literary works must be searched as Keyword phrases, so be sure to put them in quotation marks.
     In both databases you can set a "Document Type" limit to "Interview"--if it's a contemporary writer.    And for a contemporary writer you might also try an "Author" search, since many writers publish criticism and social commentary that might shed light on their creative work.

     General OneFile is another comprehensive database with considerable literary criticism, but the default Subject search forcess you to retrieve EVERYTHING on a particular author. The standard "subdivisions" by which General OneFile organizes these results--"Ethical Aspects," Political Aspects," "Social Aspects"--are broad in respect to authors.  So-- 
   If you wish to focus on a specific literary work, open "Advanced Search" and in the "Select Index" box choose "Named Work": this allows you to run a Subject search on a title.
     If you wish to focus on a particular a theme, the best strategy is to open all the results from the initial Subject search on the author and then use the the "Search within these Results" slot at the upper left to enter thematic Keywords.
     PsycINFO & SocINDEX with Full Text : As the names suggest, these are good resources for articles on authors and literary works from a psychological or sociological perspective.

     America: History and Life : This is the only database that allows you to set a "Historical Period" limit (below the search slots on the left).  This means that for any topic you search you can focus the articles retrieved on a particular period--for example Race and American Literature between 1920 and 1940 .  
But: be aware that setting a Period limit of 1920-1940 will also retrieve any Period that contains those two decades, so, for instance, an article with a time frame of 1900-1980 will also be retrieved.
     Also be sure to set the "Document Type" limit to "Article" to weed out all the many, many book reviews that will otherwise clot your search for articles.
     Having set the Period and Article limits, a good way to begin with this database is to open "Indexes" above the search slots and select the "Subject Terms" index, where you can check to see if there is a good Subject Heading for your topic.

     New York Times (1851-2009) offers the full text of the New York Times from 1851 up to 2006, so you can access contemporary reviews of  Twain, Tennyson, Hemingway, and Joyce.  Enter a Keyword search, putting phrases in quotation marks. You might begin by searching in the “Citation and Abstract” field, then, if this doesn’t yield enough results, expand to the default “Citation and document text” field.  

     Literary Reference Center : The emphasis here is on articles from a wide range of reference resources, including Magill's Survey of American LiteratureCyclopedia of World LiteratureContinuum Encyclopedia of British LiteratureMasterplots, etc.  There is also access to the Critical Insights book series published by Salem Press, each volume dedicated to a single author or a single work. Both the reference works and the Critical Insights series provide very basic biography and interpretation, but these are supplemented by selected scholarly articles.
     The simplest approach may be to enter a single author or a particular work in the "Most Studied Authors" or "Most Studied Works" sections of the "Browse" box. An Author or Work record will offer you "Related Information" categories such as "Literary Criticism," "Reference Books," "Biography," and "Plot Summaries." 
     In addition to literary criticism and reference, there is a wide range of full-text literary works supplied (mostly) by Project Gutenberg.

Where's the Full Text for this Article??

     Few databases offer 100% full text.  Most retrieve a mix of full text articles and article "citations"--article title, author(s), publication info, and usually an "abstract" or one-prargraph summary of the content.  When a citation makes you want the full text, look below it for this icon: 
     Clicking "GETIT" checks (almost all) the IC Library's other databases to see if any offers the full text of the article--or if the Library has a print subscription to the journal in which the article appeared. 
  • "GETIT" will usually find the full text in another database and open it in a new window.  
  • If none of our databases can access the full text but we have a print subsciption to the journal, "GETIT" will retrieve the Library catalog record for the journal so that you can see if the date of the article falls within the date range we have on hand.
  • If full text is not available from any database or from a print subsciption, "GETIT" will provide a link to the IC Library's Interlibrary Loan.  Log in (same as your IC e-mail)--and set up your account if you've never used it before.  "GETIT" will have populated the article request form with all the necessary information and you simply submit the request elecrtonically.  Most articles are supplied as digital files and will be sent to you via e-mail when they arrive.

Contact Us

picture of Dr. Brian Saunders

Dr. Brian Saunders

Humanities Librarian
(607) 274-1198

Search Argos

Selected Ebook Central Titles

Web Resources

Selected Web Sites

  • American Authors on the Web:  Also from WSU, this is a good gateway to sites concerned with individual writers.  Authors are listed by time period, so use the date ranges at the top to navigate.
  • Literary Resources: American: from Jack Lynch at Rutgers, this is a handy gateway site, though you must scroll for the subject categories.

Citation Help

MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.

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