Skip to Main Content

ENG 120 Joshi fall 2023

Researching subcultures for an autoethnography essay

Primary Sources are not Scholarly but can be Invaluable

Primary Sources 

  • Diaries, journals,  letters
  • Autobiographies
  • Songs, plays, novels, stories
  • Philosophy and theory
  • Paintings, drawings, sculptures, fashion pieces, design objects
  • Advertising
  • Social media posts (for the most part)
  • Newspaper and magazine articles (published at the time)
  • Zines, pamphlets
  • Government records (census, marriage, military)
  • Photographs, maps, postcards, posters
  • Speeches
  • Research results (data and statistics)
  • Interviews with participants or witnesses (e.g., people who saw David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust tour)
  • Interviews with people who lived during a particular time (e.g. The East Village neighborhood during the 1970s) 

Primary sources can be found in the Library, on the Internet, and in unique spaces like the Pace University Zine Library! Primary source material is more likely to be in a book than an article. Most articles are about primary sources.

You can search the Pace Library for primary source books by using keywords like "diary," "letters," and "autobiography." You can view the spreadsheet of the Zine Library and search for keywords or browse the list.


Primary Source

Secondary Source


“I’m so Bored with the USA” (1977 song by The Clash)

Magazine article about the historical significance of the band The Clash.


Recorded interview with members of a 1970s Wiccan coven in the American Midwest

Book about late-20th Century Wiccan or Pagan religion in the USA


Letters exchanged by two Beat poets in the 1950s

Journal article about the friendships of the Beat Poets


Photographs by Nan Goldin

Book analyzing Nan Goldin’s photography in the context of 1980s Downtown New York


A magazine ad for Levi’s 505® jeans from the 1960s

Book about fashion of counterculture in the 1960s