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CRWR 12152 Intro to Genres: The Immigrant Experience Through Literature

This guide provides resources and strategies to conduct and use research to enrich and deepen insights in writing about the immigrant experience.

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Day-to-Day Life

Look in news & magazines for advertisements and images that will tell you something about what people looked like, wore, wanted (or people wanted them to want) and the types of entertainment they were offered. What sorts of hair-styles did people have? Were ties wide or narrow? Skirts long or short? How did they communicate?

Cooking, Clothing, Things

While you can get a lot of information from news & magazines, there are some specific sources for such things as cooking, clothing, entertainment and, sometimes, even the "things" of a period.

The subject heading in the catalog for cookbooks is cooking. Use the advanced search to search for cooking as a subject and limit by date to find cookbooks from a specific time.

You can also search for cooking and the adjective for a country, e.g., Italian, to look for cookbooks of a particular national cuisine.

For clothing, the subject is clothing and dress and you may choose to add in the century or country in which you're interested, e.g., 20th or Italy -- or both.

There are a few ways to get at the type of things that might be used in your world. Often, if you're looking at a particular historical or literary period, there will be an encyclopedia or dictionary about that period that can be useful, such as the Encyclopedia of the Renaissance or All Things [Jane] Austen: an Encyclopedia of Austen's World. You may also look at encyclopedias or dictionaries from the time period in which you're interested. The subject is either encyclopedias or dictionaries (yes, plural in each case).

Travel Guides

Travel guides can be a rich source of information about a locale. To find them in the library catalog, look for the subject word guidebooks and the name of the place, e.g., Texas guidebooks.

Texas guidebooks search


Buildings (Interior & Exterior) & Structures

Architecture and interior decoration are two import elements. Each of these terms can be combined with the name of a place, e.g., Russia and a century, e.g., 19th, to find books specific to your needs. If you're only looking at the pictures, you may not even care what language it's in.

interior decoration russia 19th search



"How do I find films" will help you find specific films, while the Cinema and Media Studies guide will help you find background material on films, including reviews. The Music guide will help you find specific music recordings, as well as sheet music and background material on music.

Chicago Neighborhoods

Chicago's Community Areas and Neighborhoods 

Chicago Studies (UChicago) Guide on Neighborhoods

Chicago News/Ethnic Community


Subject Specialist

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Andrea Twiss-Brooks
Director, Humanities and Area Studies
Chemistry and
Geophysical Sciences

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