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Gender Studies

The study of gender as a fundamental category of social and cultural analysis.

About

Welcome to the Gender Studies subject guide for Indiana University Bloomington

We're glad you're here. This guide contains information and resources pertaining to the field of gender studies. Here you'll find featured content, new titles, instructional support information, research tips, and curated, subject-specific resources for performing research in gender studies. You will also find a list of campus & community resources for women and LGBTQ+ people.

About Gender Studies

The study of gender as a fundamental category of social and cultural analysis, while also considering the intersection of gender with other substantive categories of identity, including sexuality, race, religion, class, disability, and nationality. Gender studies encourages scholars to think beyond common sense accounts of gender to examine its complex construction in a range of historical epochs, cultural arenas, and global processes. The field of gender studies utilizes a wide variety of innovative approaches and methodologies, broad in reach, yet unified through a critical angle of vision.

Featured | Spotlight on Consensual Non-Monogamy

Image of three young black people embracing at the beachConsensual Non-monogamy
Consensual non-monogamy is an umbrella term used to describe any agreed-upon romantic/sexual relationship that falls outside of the exclusive, dyadic (two-person) structure of monogamy, including polyamory and open relationships. Though non-monogamous relationships have gained greater contemporary visibility, it has existed in many and various forms across history. This guide provides an introduction to both scholarly and popular resources for those wishing to learn more about consensual non-monogamy.

Getting Started

Featured | Spotlight on Black LGBTQ+ Poetry

Black LGBTQ+ Poets

Black LGBTQ+ poets write from the intersections of Black and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer identities and experiences. Black LGBTQ+ poets explore issues of gender expression and discrimination, love, sex, sexuality, desire, culture, race, and more through their creative work. Due to compounding oppressions, the history of Black LGBTQ+ poetry and poetics has not been given adequate attention by scholars or mainstream audiences. What follows is a list of poetry books by Black LGBTQ+ poets, anthologies of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) poets who are LGBTQ+, and scholarly articles on the topic, in celebration of Black History Month. We have also included a very brief introduction to African American poetry and recommendations for further reading on that subject.

 

Poet Danez Smith reading "Genesissy" for Button Poetry, 2015

 

Next Steps
As with many of these national commemorations, one month is never enough time to fully honor and celebrate the history and culture of marginalized communities, let alone heal the legacies (and ongoing reality) of harm they've experienced. We recognize that there is much more to be done, that racism and anti-blackness can't be eliminated simply through the creation of resource guides, and that the work of realizing justice won't soon be over. But nevertheless, we keep trying, contributing how we can and building upon the efforts of those who came before us, and we continue to learn from and with one another.

If you'd like to engage more deeply with Black History Month, the IU Libraries Arts & Humanities department has created a number of interrelated resources and features to provide more holistic coverage of this remembering. You'll find those, below:

And for all things Black culture, you can never go wrong with the resources, services, and collections of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Library.

Additionally, throughout the '21 spring semester, our department is hosting an ongoing Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge. This program encourage participants to engage with items from our collections that will facilitate and deepen their awareness of a variety of social justice issues, and features a number of titles relevant to Black History Month. If you'd like to join us, take a look at the Challenge Guide.

Open Access Resources with African American Poetry Features

Scholarly sources on Black Queer Poetics:

Lists of books, articles, and media related to Black Queer Studies:

A very brief introduction to the African American / Black Poetic Tradition

African American poetry predates the written word and has its roots in a rich oral tradition. shares sonic qualities with Black musical forms like gospel, jazz, blues, hip-hop, and rap, and includes a rich array of poetic sound devices: alliteration, rhyme, anaphora (the repetition of lines or fragments), to name a few. Black Poetry can be about any theme or subject, but the Black experience is often at the center of Black Poetry, which is informed by the distinctiveness of Black culture. Black Poets often unpack and critiques the systemic oppressions and individual discriminations that they, as Black Americans, have endured, like slavery, segregation, and police brutality. Notable writers and movements in Black Poetry are described in the Power of Poetry series of blog posts from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Critics and supporters of the distinction between African American and American literature abound. The positions of each side are outlined in this wikipedia article on the subject. 

Books and essays on African American poetry

IU Resources

Open Access Resources with African American Poetry Features

 

New Titles in Gender Studies

Medieval Women and War

For the first time, Sophie Harwood uses the Old French tradition as a lens through which to examine women and warfare from the 12th to the 14th centuries. The result is a skilled analysis of gender roles in the medieval era, and a heightened awareness of how important literary texts are to our understanding of the historical period in which they circulated. Structured around five pivotal female types - women cited as causes for violence, women as victims of violence, women as ancillaries to warriors, women as warriors themselves, and women as political influences - this important book unpicks gendered boundaries to shed new light on the social, political and military structures of warfare as well as adding nuance to current debates on womanhood in the middle ages.

Like a Boy but Not a Boy

A revelatory book about gender, mental illness, parenting, mortality, bike mechanics, work, class, and the task of living in a body. Inquisitive and expansive, Like a Boy but Not a Boy explores author andrea bennett's experiences with gender expectations, being a non-binary parent, and the sometimes funny and sometimes difficult task of living in a body. The book's fourteen essays also delve incisively into the interconnected themes of mental illness, mortality, creative work, class, and bike mechanics (apparently you can learn a lot about yourself through trueing a wheel). With thoughtfulness and acute observation, andrea bennett reveals intimate truths about the human experience, whether one is outside the gender binary or not.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History

Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History- Critical Readings is an authoritative four-volume survey of the seminal essays on the subject from the last half century. It traces both the intellectual arc and larger theoretical implications of the field, including Queer Theory, which emerged from this scholarship in the early 1990s. Edited by Michael Bronski, a world-renowned, leading scholar in the field, the four volumes cover theory, the pre-modern period, the modern era and contemporary times. This is an essential resource for all scholars interested in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and LGBT studies more generally.

Gender Variances and Sexual Diversity in the Caribbean

Gender Variances and Sexual Diversity in the Caribbean: Perspectives, Histories, Experiences is a collection of critical perspectives on fundamental questions of how sexual orientation and gender in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean are conceived, studied, discoursed and experienced. Bringing together and updating existing and in-progress scholarly work on minority genders and sexualities in the region, this collection seeks to provide a fresh set of lenses through which to examine the issues affecting people in the Caribbean who fall outside the traditional binary categories of heterosexual males or heterosexual females.

Gender Politics at Home and Abroad

Hyaeweol Choi examines the formation of modern gender relations in Korea from a transnational perspective. Diverging from a conventional understanding of 'secularization' as a defining feature of modernity, Choi argues that Protestant Christianity, introduced to Korea in the late nineteenth century, was crucial in shaping modern gender ideology, reforming domestic practices and claiming new space for women in the public sphere. By placing gender and religion at the center of the analysis, Choi shows that the development of modern gender relations was rooted in the transnational experience of Koreans and not in a simple nexus of the colonizer and the colonized.

Feminist Connections

Feminist Connections: Rhetoric and Activism across Time, Space, and Place reconsiders feminist rhetorical strategies as linked, intergenerational, and surprisingly consistent despite the emergence of new forms of media and intersectional considerations. Contributors to this volume highlight continuities in feminist rhetorical practices that are often invisible to scholars, obscured by time, new media, and wildly different cultural, political, and social contexts. Thus, this collection takes a nonchronological approach to the study of feminist rhetoric, grouping chapters by rhetorical practice rather than time, content, or choice of media.

Feminism Backwards

Feminism Backwards is part memoir, part documentary. A founding member of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement Rosita Sweetman gleefully recalls the triumphs – and the tribulations – of trying to drag a reluctant Ireland into the 20th Century, crucially, re-appraising Chains or Change the IWLM’s famous pamphlet, detailing what life was like for women in 1970s Ireland - appalling.
Feminism Backwards is also a howl of despair at how women have been treated worldwide down through the centuries, and how misogyny and sexual repression got such a stranglehold on Ireland.

The Double X Economy

In The Double X Economy, Scott argues on the strength of hard data and on-the-ground experience that removing those barriers to women's success is a win for everyone, regardless of gender. As Scott takes us from the streets of Accra, where sex trafficking is widespread, to American business schools, where women are routinely patronized, the pervasiveness of the Double X Economy becomes glaringly obvious. But Scott believes that this rampant problem can be solved. She proposes concrete actions and urges her readers to rise up and join the global movement for women's economic empowerment that is gaining momentum by the day.

Disability and the Victorians

Disability and the Victorians brings together in one collection a range of topics, perspectives and experiences from the Victorian era that present a unique overview of the development and impact of attitudes and interventions towards those with impairments during this time. The collection also considers how the legacies of these actions can be seen to have continued throughout the twentieth century right up to the present day. Subjects addressed include deafness, blindness, language delay, substance dependency, imperialism and the representation of disabled characters in popular fiction. These varied topics illustrate how common themes can be found in how Victorian philanthropists and administrators responded to those under their care.

A Cultural History of Marriage

How have ideas of marriage evolved in Western culture? How has its influence changed, and been shaped by its social and cultural conditions? In a work that spans 2,500 years, these ambitious questions are addressed by 48 experts, each contributing their overview of a theme applied to a period in history. The volumes describe the role of marriage, its contributions to society, and how it engages with matters of religion, law, society and love.

All Gender Studies Guides

Contributors' Notes

Brett Hoffman (they/them) - Arts & Humanities Library Assistant

Wendy Lee Spaček (she/her) - Arts & Humanities Library Assistant