Anthropology 113 – Witchcraft, Magic, Science and Religion

Spinning Thread on Bare Knee, old witch doctor, Skenna River Indians (Library of Congress).

About this Guide

This guide provides students with recommended resources for conducting research in Antropology 113. Use the tabs to navigate through the pages of the guide.

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Print Reference Sources

These resources are available in the reference section of the Luria Library and are an excellent starting point for your research. Many reference books also contain criticism and will lead you to other sources. The call number for each of these titles is listed:

  • Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices — R 291.03 M528r
  • Encyclopedia of Religion — R 291.03 E42e
  • A Dictionary of Irish Mythology — R 299.16 E47d
  • Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions — R 299.6 G553e
  • The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya — R 299.792 M649g
  • Encyclopedia of Native American Religions — R 970.1 H669e
  • Shamanism: An Encyclopedia of World Beliefs, Practices, and Culture — R 291.62 W233s

Online Reference Sources

These resources are available online. If you access these resource from off campus, you will be prompted to enter your Pipeline username and password:

  • Credo Reference: Contains the full text of nearly 600 encyclopedias, dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, and other reference books.
  • Encyclopedia of European Social History: “This six-volume reference includes more than 230 articles, ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 words, on everything from serfdom and the economy, to witchcraft and public health.”
  • Melton’s Encyclopedia of American Religions: “Comprehensive coverage of more than 2,300 North American religious groups in the U.S. and Canada — from Adventists to Zen Buddhists.”
  • Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World: “This encyclopedia looks at Islam’s role in the modern world, doing so in the context of the religion’s history and development over the last 13 centuries.”
  • Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life: “Covers cultural groups in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Africa. Each volume is organized by continent, covering history, politics, customs, religion, education, human rights issues, teen life, and more.”
  • New Encyclopedia of Africa: This resource “addresses the entire history of African cultures from the pharaohs and the ancient civilizations of the south through the colonial era to the emergence of 53 independent countries, some of them newly emergent in world commerce and others deep in conflict.”


Search the library catalog (books+) for books on your topic. Consider using keywords like these:

  • cultural beliefs
  • myth* [searches “myth” or “myths” or “mythology” etc.]
  • superstition*
  • belief and culture
  • radicalism


Search for articles and other resources on your topic in the library databases listed below. To access these resources from off campus, you will need to log in with your Pipeline username and password.

  • Academic Search Complete: Provides full text for more than 8,500 periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals), including full text for nearly 7,300 peer-reviewed titles, in all subject areas. The database includes PDF content going back as far as 1887. Searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,400 journals.
  • Project MUSE: This resource contains articles from 400 scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences.
  • JSTOR: Contains full text of hundreds of scholarly journals. The journals are available in full text from the first volume and issues (sometimes going back over 100 years) up until five years ago. Useful for literary criticism and history. Explore this rich resource.
  • Religion & Philosophy: Covers world religions, major denominations, biblical studies, religious history, epistemology, political philosophy, and philosophy of language, moral philosophy and the history of philosophy; offers approx 300 full text journals, some with coverage to 1975, including approx 250 peer-reviewed titles.
  • History Reference Center: Covers material from all time periods of U.S. and World History from wide variety of sources. Also search here for articles on religion, philosophy and history of philosophy.

Videos and Images

These library database will prompt you to login in with your Pipeline username and password from off campus:

  • Alexander Street Press Videos: Provides online access to nearly 43,000 academic videos (over 20,000 hours) in a wide range of subjects and disciplines, including: anthropology; the arts; business; education; engineering; environmental studies; ethnic studies; health; history; LGBT studies; psychology; and news. The database also includes over three thousand books and documents, and a dozen albums.
  • ARTstor: A digital library of more than one million images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences with a suite of software tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes.

Evaluating Websites

Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Questions to help you determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: How and why the source was created. Is it intended to educate, inform, persuade, sell, or entertain? Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state this purpose, or try to disguise it? Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)? Is the source designed for the general public, students, or experts?
  • Relevance: The value of the source for your needs. Does the type of source meet your assignment’s requirements? Does the information answer your question, support your argument, or add something to your knowledge of the topic? Is it too general or too specific? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information. Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language? Do they leave out, or make fun of, important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information. Do the authors support the information they present with strong factual evidence? Do they cite or provide links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources? Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources?
  • Expertise: The authority of the creators of the source. What makes the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the source authorities on the topic? Do they have related education, experience, or other expertise? Do they provide an important alternative perspective? Has the source been reviewed in some way, such as by an editor or through peer review?
  • Newness: The age of the information. Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful? When was the information presented in the source first published or posted? Are newer sources available that would add important information to your understanding of the topic?

For more help locating reliable information online, see the Finding Credible Web Sources research guide.

Recommended Websites

How to Cite

The Purdue Online Writing Lab provides great guidance for proper MLA citation. Use the specific links below to read more about how to cite different types of resources in MLA format: