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Rites of Passage: Home

English 1000


Books designated as MU ELLIS REFERENCE or MU ELLIS READY REFERENCE are located on the first floor of Ellis Library (Ready Reference is closer to the Reference Desk; REFERENCE is closer to the main elevator). Such books may NOT be checked out. Books designated MU ELLIS are located on the upper floors and may usually be checked out. For their exact locations, see the signs by the elevators, the yellow slips placed throughout the first floor, or this online Location Guide.


A valuable source for research in comparative religions is the multivolume Encyclopedia of Religion located in the Ready Reference area (near the Reference Desk) in Ellis Library at BL31.E86 1986 . Here you can look up concepts such as "burial" as well as individual religions.

Another good encycloedic work on religious and quasi-religious rituals is the 21 slim, black volumes making up the Man, Myth and Magic set in Ref. BF1407.M34 1995 . Older editions of this set, located at the same call number but in the 3rd Floor East stacks, may be checked out from the library.

For Hindu and Buddhist traditions, try the Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion in the Ellis Library Reference Books, BL1005 .L4813 1989 , and Man, Myth and Magic (see above for location).

Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology.  Ref. GN 307.E52 1996 .  The 4+ page entry on Ethnobotany in vol. 2 has a short bibliography.  There are also entries on Ethnomedicine, Ethnopharmacology, Food & Diet, S. America, and Tropical Forest, which could be helpful.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life (4 vols) .   Ref. GN 333.W67 1998 .  Entries are for individual peoples ("Hindus of Guyana") or countries ("Guatamalans").

Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology: Humanity, Culture and Social Life  (1 vol.)  Ref GN 25.C65 1994 . See especially Chapter 30 on "socialization, enculturation and the development of personal identity."

Finding Books

Use the MERLIN Catalog to find books on your chosen religions' beliefs.
Keyword searching is a good way to start.

Ethnographers' accounts of rites of passage

For western observers' accounts of rite-of-passage practices of other peoples throughout the world, use the Human Relations Area File database.

The search is peculiar: keyword searching is not as effective as browsing for appropriate subject codes for combination. The subject code for Rites of Passage is 561 (this will make sense when you enter the search screen). What you are searching in this database is both article-length and book-length accounts and field notes from anthropologists throughout the 20th century.

Finding Journal Articles

The article databases with the most information about rites of passage are

Only some articles will be available in full text. All databases are accessible from the MU Libraries Database Page.

If you have found an interesting article that is not available in full text in the database you are looking in:

1) Check the Find a Specific Article/Journal link from the library home page to see if that journal is covered in another full-text package.

2) If the journal isn't available electronically for the year(s) you need, do a search by Journal Title in the MERLIN catalog. Generally, the latest year's issues will be in the Current Periodicals Reading Room and the older ones will be upstairs at the call number location given in the MERLIN record.

Citing Sources

Please see the sources listed on the MU Libraries' Citation Guides website for information and examples of citation in the MLA, Turabian and other styles.

On Writing an Annotated Bibliography See How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography (Cornell University) and Annotated Bibliographies (UW-Madison) for some good descriptions of what you should include. Your instructor should give you guidance on this as well.