Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania

Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania

by Barbara A. West

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This A-to-Z provides a concise yet thorough introduction to the myriad historical and contemporary peoples of Asia and Oceania, excluding the contemporary Middle East. West, who holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology, defines a people based on shared language, ethnicity, nationality, tribe, or religion. Ancient peoples may also be classified by archaeological complex (shared material culture). Given the impossibility of covering the tens of thousands of groups in this vast area, West has chosen to include those contemporary and historical peoples whose size and historical relevance to contemporary contexts make them most likely to appear in textbooks. Entries range in length from 12 pages (e.g., Armenians, Japanese) to a half page (e.g., Tiwi, Hijras). Longer entries are subdivided into sections on origins, history, and culture, accompanied by maps, time lines, and black-and-white photos. All but the very briefest have bibliographies, and most include a short sidebar with basic statistics: location, time period, ancestry, and language. Seven appendixes either gather entries into logical groupings (i.e., by country or era) or provide brief essays on religious, kinship, and subsistence systems.
—Nadine Cohen

School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

Aimed at "students, nonspecialist researchers, and perhaps intelligent tourists," this set profiles more than 400 ethnic groups who live east of the Caspian Sea and west of the North American Pacific coast. Compensating for alternative names with many "see" references, the author has arranged the entries alphabetically. They vary widely in length from single columns for the Afridi (a Pashtun subgroup) and the extinct Tuyuhun of northwestern China to multiple pages devoted to Polynesians and peoples with broadly national identities, such as Japanese or Russian. Each group receives a close examination of its distinctive social and ethnic features, from religious practices and cultural norms to clothing, history, and dwelling types. Longer articles end with short reading lists. The text is accompanied by maps and charts (44 in all), several dozen sidebar biographical sketches, many time lines, and a comparatively skimpy assortment of black-and-white photographs. Seven appendixes include a handy list of entries arranged by country, essays on religious and kinship systems, and a lengthy chronology that ends with the summer of 2008. Despite its specialized topic, unwieldy bibliography, and lack of leads to Web resources, this set merits consideration for its unusual level of detail, particularly about lesser-known peoples. It makes a good alternative to Marshall Cavendish's World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia (2007), as it is broader in scope with its inclusion of Oceania, and better arranged for quick access.-John Peters, New York Public Library

Product Details

Facts on File, Incorporated
Publication date:
Encyclopedia of the Peoples Series
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 11.20(h) x 2.30(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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