Asian Studies Research Guide
Choose a topic that is interesting to you and which will work within your assignment's parameters. Usually your research goal is to locate published scholarship (books and journal articles) to read on your topic.
Remember to evaluate the accuracy of your resources, and think critically about their arguments. When in doubt, check with your Asian Studies instructor.
First, read a good summary of your topic in a specialized Asian studies encyclopedia, like those listed in the Books section. You may also search the Gale Virtual Reference Library for essays from other specialized encyclopedias. Next, once you know the basic information about your topic, search for more published scholarship, such as books in the CUNY Catalog or other catalogs.
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
- Encyclopedia of Asian History (Ref. DS31 .E53 1988 , 4 vols.)
- Excellent starting point to find an overview of a broad topic in Asian history; short entries and longer essays, signed by contributors.
- Encyclopedia of Modern Asia (2003, 6 vols.)
- Short entries and longer essays, signed by contributors, on modern and contemporary Asia, with further reading lists; includes maps, illustrations.
- Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia from Angkor Wat to East Timor (Ref. DS524 .S68 2004, 3 vols.)
- Short entries on specific people, places, events; longer essays on larger topics; each entry lists alternative topics and references.
- Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture (Ref. DS779.23 .E53 2005 )
- Short entries on Chinese civilization today, signed by contributors, with references.
- Encyclopedia of Modern China (Ref. DS755 .E53 2009, 4 vols.)
- Short and long essays on China, signed by contributors, with cross-references, and bibliography; includes timeline, illustrations, maps, Pinyin to Wade-Giles romanization conversion table.
- Historical Dictionary of Modern China, 1800-1949 (Ref. DS755 .G368 2009)
- Short entries on historical topics; includes chronology, extensive bibliography.
India & Pakistan
- Encyclopedia of India (2006, 4 vols.)
- Short entries and longer essays on all manner of Indian life, signed by contributors, with cross-reference, references; includes chronology, maps, illustrations.
- Historical Dictionary of Ancient India (Ref. DS451 .R66 2009)
- Brief entries on historical topics; includes chronology, extensive bibliography.
- Historical Dictionary of India (Ref. DS405 .M27 1996 )
- Short entries on historical topics; includes glossary, chronology, maps, extensive bibliography.
- Historical Dictionary of Pakistan (Ref. DS382 .B87 2006 )
- Short entries on historical topics; detailed chronology, extensive bibliography.
- Cambridge Encyclopedia of Japan (Ref. DS805 .C36 1993)
- Introduction to Japanese life, culture, history in essay format; well-illustrated, with bibliography.
- Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia (Ref. DS805 .J263 1993, 2 vols.)
- Short entries and longer essays on all manner of Japanese life, with most titles also given in Japanese; extensively illustrated, with atlas, city maps, chronology, bibliography.
- Japan Encyclopedia (Ref. DS805 .D355 1995)
- Short entries and longer essays on Japanese life, culture, history.
- Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan (Ref. DS805 .K633 1983, 9 vols.)
- Short entries and longer essays on all manner of Japanese life; entries and essays are signed by contributors; lightly illustrated.
- Korea: A Historical and Cultural Dictionary (Ref. DS902 .P737 1999)
- Short entries on history and culture, with many titles also transliterated and/or given in Korean; includes McCune-Reischauer Romanization system; index of personal names, literary and musical titles.
Art & Clothing
- Oxford Art Online
- Full-text of Grove Art Online (The Dictionary of Art Online), Oxford Companion to Western Art, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms; includes dictionary entries, encyclopedia essays, art images & maps, timelines, and thematic guides; updated regularly.
- Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion (Ref. GT525 .B47 2010, 10 vols.)
- Long essays on dress, costume, and fashion, both historical and contemporary. The following volumes cover Asia: South Asia & Southeast Asia (v.4), Central & Southwest Asia (v.5), East Asia (v.6).
- Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (Ref. GT2850 .E53 2003, 3 vols.)
- Short entries and longer essays on foods, their preparation, production, nutrition, and ritual use.
- Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion (Ref. GT507 .E53 2005, 3 vols.)
- Short entries and longer essays on clothing, fashion, and material culture.
Once you know the basics on your topic, search for more published scholarship, such as books, in the CUNY Catalog or other library catalogs. In addition to searching by keyword try searching by Subject Headings like those listed below for EAST 230:
- CUNY Catalog
- Search for books at the Queens College libraries, as well as other CUNY libraries.
- Library Catalogs
- Search the library catalogs of regional libraries such as the Queens Library, Brooklyn Public Library, New York University, Columbia University, etc.
- New York Public Library
- Search CATNYP, the catalog of the research libraries at NYPL. Books at the research libraries are non-circulating and must be consulted on site. NYPL has one of the premier research collections in the country and is open to all New York State residents.
- Search for books in the national catalog for the United States and Canada. Includes holdings from libraries in other parts of the world, primarily European or English-speaking.
- Food, Clothing, Shelter
- Manners and customs; Food; Food habits; Cooking; Nutrition; Diet; Clothing and dress; Fashion; Housing; Dwellings; Human settlements
- Writing, Books, Printing
- Writing -- history; Chinese language -- writing; Books -- history; Printing -- history
- Religion, Relics, Amulets, Ritual Objects & Customs
- Religion; Rites and ceremonies; Religious articles; Ritual
- Warfare, Armor, Weapons, Strategy
- War; Military art and science; Naval art and science; Armor; Weapons; Strategy
Articles (Search Databases)
A journal article is written by a scholar or an expert, and provides a detailed analysis of a topic. It is written in the specialized language of a scholarly discipline (such as History). It documents the resources the writer used by providing bibliographic citations such as footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography so a reader can check or repeat the research the scholar has completed.
A scholarly journal is edited by scholars, and any article published in the journal has usually been approved by the author's peers or by referees (other scholars expert in the subject who serve as editors or readers and critique the article before it is accepted for publication). This is why most scholarly journals are referred to as a Peer-Reviewed or Refereed journals. Here is a comparison between popular and scholarly periodicals. Use the following databases to search for journal articles on a topic. You can use other Databases depending what topic you are researching.
- Abstracts in Anthropology
- Abstracts of scholarly journal articles; includes international publications.
- Anthropological Index Online
- Citations to scholarly journal articles held at the British Museum; includes international publications.
- Art Full Text
- Abstracts of scholarly journal articles (full-text since 1997); lists reproductions of art works appearing in the indexed periodicals; access is limited to eight (8) simultaneous users.
- Historical Abstracts
- Abstracts of scholarly journal articles on world history (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America).
- Humanities Full Text
- Abstracts of scholarly journal articles and magazine articles; citations to reviews and bibliographies.
- MLA International Bibliography
- Citations to scholarly journal articles, book essays, conference papers, dissertations; covers research on modern language and literature; by the Modern Language Association (MLA).
- Social Sciences Full Text
- Abstracts of scholarly journal articles and social commentary magazine articles; citations to book reviews.
- Abstracts of scholarly journal articles, magazine articles, conference papers, book chapters, and book reviews.
- Sociological Abstracts
- Abstracts of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers; citations to book reviews; includes international publications.
Journals (Browse E-Journals)
- Full-text (cover-to-cover) of 50+ core journals in Asian studies; coverage from a journal's first issue until about five years ago.
- Project Muse
- Full-text of 15+ peer-reviewed journals on Asian studies, from Johns Hopkins University Press, other university presses, and scholarly organizations.
Art & Images
Art and images on Asian civilization can be located in digital collections & databases. See Columbia University's Online Museum Resources on Asian Art (OMuRAA) for a larger list of resources.
- Asian Art Museum: Online Collection
- Freer and Sackler Galleries: The Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art
- Metropolitan Museum of Art: Asian Art
- NYPL Digital Gallery
- Rubin Museum of Art
- Victoria and Albert Museum: Asia Collection
Research Institutes & Associations
Studies, exhibitions, and conferences are sometimes available from scholarly organizations for Asian studies.
- Asia Society
- Association for Asian Studies
- Scholarly Associations on South Asia (Columbia University Libraries)
- School of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Continue your search for information and resources by browsing these Asian studies web gateways.
- Asia for Educators (East Asian Institute, Columbia University)
- Digital South Asia Library
- SARAI: South Asia Resource Access on the Internet