Researching American Culture

American society and culture in the twenty-first century is complex and marked by controversy; we are living in a time of profound change. In order to appreciate the relevance of current controversies, we need to understand how history affects our lives. These resources will provide access to sources that reflect various questions or concerns relevant to life in modern America. In addition, you should consult the library Subject Guide


The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. This site provides a history of the island and first hand accounts from individuals whose ancestors passed through Ellis Island. Photos portray the main building, immigrants, and the current museum. Timelines depict the history of the island and the rate of immigration. The site includes genealogical resources for individuals wishing to research their family heritage.

Immigration Index provides links to sites with information on immigration laws, procedures, and attorneys. Those interested in U.S. citizenship can find links to appropriate sites.

This Public Agenda site addresses the nation's attitude toward immigration, focusing on both historical and current opinions. Site includes relevant statistics and graphs of immigration data. The site also lists organizations working with issues related to immigration.

The Center for Immigration Studies website provides links to current articles on immigration. The site includes immigration statistics and information on the history of immigration. The site also defines relevant terms, such as legal and illegal immigrant, refugee, and guest worker.

American Immigration Resources on the Internet. This resource provides links to immigration sites that focus on U.S. immigration law and procedures, resources, lawyers, and organizations.

Migration Information Source. This site provides information on migration and refugees from around the world. Includesdata on migration in the United States and other countries as well as a glossary. Moving Ideas Network includes links to articles, online news services, and otherdocuments on current political issues, including immigration policy.

Education in America

This PBS site provides information on current issues in public education, including history and discussion of controversial issues. In addition, the site includes biographies of important educators, the history of the classroom, and links to other sites devoted to educational issues.

The U.S. Department of Education website offers links to information about current issues in education for students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Special Report- Back to School: The American Student: This site examines the federal and state governments’ efforts to improve student achievement. Provides statistics on student/teacher ratios, school size, and standardized test scores as well as national data on college majors, degrees, etc. The site also provides links to current CNN news reports on education.

The Moving Ideas Network includes links to education reports, press releases, newsletters, commentary, articles, events, and organizations.

Public Agenda focuses on the public’s attitude towards public education, focusing on school performance and the role of government officials. Provides data on graduation rates, standardized test scores, spending, teacher salaries and experience, student-teacher ratios, race representations, student enrollment, crime in schools, and classroom technology.

9/11 and American Dream Newstand provides links to 9/11 commemorative events and information on the state of the nation after the attacks.

The September 11, 2001, Documentary Project presented on the Library of Congress website provides an overview of the American Folklife Center’s efforts to capture America’s reaction to 9/11. The site includes collected audio and video interviews, art, and written narratives that reflect American’s reactions to 9/11.

Find Law provides current news articles, commentary, cases, documents, and descriptions of laws focusing on terrorism. Includes links to websites that provide additional information on terrorism.

The University of Michigan Library: Documents Center provides links to sites that focus on the aftermath of 9/11, U.S. intelligence, the prosecution and acquisition of terrorist suspects, counterterrorism, terrorist attacks in the U.S. and in other countries, and other related topics.

Preserving Life and Liberty, sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department, provides facts, statements, and government testimony regarding the USA Patriot Act, including the complete text of the act. Graphs display the House and Senate votes on the act.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) site explores President Bush's possible abuse of power and what can be done to secure freedom in the U.S. Audio accounts from ACLU officials and news articles that address safeguarding freedom are provided.

This section of the Public Agenda site presents the public’s opinion on the current war on terrorism. The site provides information on terrorist attacks, terrorist organizations, and weapons used in terrorist attacks.

Society and Clothing Design

Middle Tennessee State University Library provides this resource titled "American Women’s History: A Research Guide." The guide provides links to online sources and bibliographic information on a wide range of topics related to women's history, including clothing.

This University of Virginia site on women in the late 19th century explores the role of the housewife as represented in women's advice magazines of the period.

Technology and Work

The National Academies website presents current topics in science, engineering, and medicine.

This section of the Public Agenda site examines the advances in medicine in America over the past century, focusing on the current efforts to use genetic research to find cures for several diseases. Questions surrounding the ethical debate and risks involved in genetic research are raised.

This site is sponsored by Moving Ideas, a network of over 250 nonprofit organizations promoting progressive policy and advocacy work. Moving Ideas provides reports, press releases, newsletters, and articles that address current health policy in the United States.

American Pop Culture

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which publishes this site, argues that music listeners should be able to share music files and have access to online music.

This website of the Recording Industry Association of America explains piracy. It provide links to current news articles that discuss the issue and includes consumer data on the music industry.

The Center for the Study of Technology and Society website provides information on the conflict surrounding Napster and includes links to news articles that address.

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