Fundamental to that process is a careful engagement with primary and secondary sources. However, if you are new to a topic, it is best to start with reference sources (sometimes called tertiary sources). These sources, such as dictionaries, handbooks, and encyclopedias, provide overviews of topics by condensing and summarizing primary and secondary sources. On this page you will find reference sources which are useful for gaining an understanding of the background and context of your topic. Such an understanding will help you frame your research project.
If you don't find what you are looking for or need help navigating this guide or any of the resources it contains, don't hesitate to contact the author of this guide or Ask a Librarian.
Provides web access to 100 major Oxford University Press dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference works in the humanities, social sciences, foreign languages, science, technology and medicine, the performing arts, and religion. Works can be searched separately or across the entire databases. Includes over 1.5 million entries.
47 Sage Publication eReference titles representing many disciplines within the social sciences. These electronic encyclopedias cover topics such as juvenile justice, terrorism, social theory, crime, African American society, social welfare, education and many more themes.
Topic Specific Reference Sources
The Oxford Dictionary of Islam by John L. Esposito (Editor)Designed for general readers with little or no knowledge of Islam, this superb Oxford Dictionary provides more than 2,000 vividly written, up-to-date, and authoritative entries organized in an easy-to-use, A-to-Z format.The Dictionary focuses primarily on the 19th and 20th centuries, stressing topics of most interest to Westerners. What emerges is a highly informative look at the religious, political, and social spheres of the modern Islamic world. Naturally, readers will find many entries on topics ofintense current interest, such as terrorism and the Taliban, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, the PLO and HAMAS. But the coverage goes well beyond recent headlines. There are biographical profiles, ranging from Naguib Mahfouz (the Nobel Prize winner from Egypt) to Malcolm X, including politicalleaders, influential thinkers, poets, scientists, and writers. Other entries cover major political movements, militant groups, and religious sects as well as terms from Islamic law, culture, and religion, key historical events, and important landmarks (such as Mecca and Medina). A series of entrieslooks at Islam in individual nations, such as Afghanistan, the West Bank and Gaza, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the United States, and there are discussions of Islamic views on such issues as abortion, birth control, the Internet, the Rushdie Affair, and the theory of evolution.Whether we are listening to the evening news, browsing through the op-ed pages, or reading a book on current events, references to Muslims and the Islamic world appear at every turn. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam offers a wealth of information for anyone curious about this burgeoning andincreasingly important world religion.
Call Number: Online
Publication Date: 2003
Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States by Jocelyne CesariSome scholars believe that the influence of Islam in the United States can be traced back to Thomas Jefferson. Today, Islam and American Muslim populations are growing in importance in this country, and demand for information about them is high, especially in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. This A-to-Z encyclopedia will help students and other readers get a fast grip on pertinent holidays, terms, beliefs, practices, notables, and sects of the Islamic faith and Muslim practitioners in the United States. The accompanying primary documents volume provides 93 crucial articles, speeches, essays, poems, songs, and more to flesh out the encyclopedia entries. This encyclopedia and primary documents set, the first on the topic and for the general reader, is a must-have for every library. The primary focus is contemporary but the entries are historically contextualized, so the fuller picture of origins outside the country and practice now in the United States is clear. Further reading suggestions accompany each entry. The primary documents volume enhances the encyclopedic entries with annotated selections such as an article from an entry on a leading Muslim American magazine or an essay by a Muslim American scholar to illuminate an entry on her. This will be a boon for students doing reports on Islam and for non-Muslims looking to learn about Muslims in an objective, broad way. It is clearly and authoritatively written and compiled by a host of scholars, primarily from Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies. An introduction, chronology, selected bibliography, set index, and photos round out the set. Sample entries: African Americans; Bush, George W.; Calendar; Dietary Rules; Dress; Gulf War; Hate Crimes; Iranian Hostage Crisis; Media Coverage; The Message International Magazine; Mosques; Music; Muslim Students Association; Nation of Islam; Native Americans; New York City; Poetry; Prisons; Shi'a Communities; Sufism; World Trade Center; Young Professionals. Sample documents: Salah Al-Sawy, The Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America Fatwa Against the Danish Media and Government over the Cartoon Crisis, from The Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America; Michael Wolfe, Michael Wolfe, United States, 1990, from One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries of Travelers Writing about the Muslim Pilgrimage; Waris and Wajid Syed, Top 10 Muslim Hip-Hop Lyrics, from Warbux Records, beliefnet.com
The Oxford Handbook of European Islam by Jocelyne Cesari (Editor)For centuries, Muslim countries and Europe have engaged one another through theological dialogues, diplomatic missions, political rivalries, and power struggles. In the last thirty years, due in large part to globalization and migration from Islamic countries to the West, what was previouslyan engagement across national and cultural boundaries has increasingly become an internalized encounter within Europe itself. Questions of the Hijab in schools, freedom of expression in the wake of the Danish Cartoon crisis, and the role of Shari'a have come to the forefront of contemporary Europeandiscourse.The Oxford Handbook of European Islam is the first collection to present a comprehensive approach to the multiple and changing ways Islam has been studied across European countries. Parts one to three address the state of knowledge of Islam and Muslims within a selection of European countries, whilepresenting a critical view of the most up-to-date data specific to each country. These chapters analyse the immigration cycles and policies related to the presence of Muslims, tackling issues such as discrimination, post-colonial identity, adaptation, and assimilation. The thematic chapters, inparts four and five, examine secularism, radicalization, Shari'a, Hijab, and Islamophobia with the goal of synthesizing different national discussion into a more comparative theoretical framework.The Handbook attempts to balance cutting edge assessment with the knowledge that the content itself will eventually be superseded by events. Featuring eighteen newly-commissioned essays by noted scholars in the field, this volume will provide an excellent resource for students and scholarsinterested in European Studies, immigration, Islamic studies, and the sociology of religion.
The Oxford Handbook of American Islam by Jane I. Smith (Editor); Yvonne Y. Haddad (Editor)Islam has been part of the increasingly complex American religious scene for well over a century, and was brought into more dramatic focus by the attacks of September 11, 2001. American Islam is practiced by a unique blend of immigrants and American-born Muslims. The immigrants have come fromall corners of the world; they include rich and poor, well-educated and illiterate, those from upper and lower classes as well as economic and political refugees. The community's diversity has been enhanced by the conversion of African Americans, Latina/os, and others, making it the mostheterogeneous Muslim community in the world.With an up-to-the-minute analysis by thirty of the top scholars in the field, this handbook covers the growth of Islam in America from the earliest Muslims to set foot on American soil to the current wave of Islamophobia. Topics covered include the development of African American Islam; pre- andpost-WWII immigrants; Sunni, Shi`ite, sectarian and Sufi movements in America; the role and status of women, marriage, and family; and the Americanization of Islamic culture.Throughout these chapters the contributors explore the meaning of religious identity in the context of race, ethnicity, gender, and politics, both within the American Islamic community and in relation to international Islam.