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Gender Studies

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

Transfeminine Worlds: Works by Trans Women & Other Femme Folk

In recognition of Women's* History Month in March, we have curated a selection of materials and resources from our collections to honor the contributions of transgender women across the arts, from fiction and poetry, to feature films and documentaries, to podcasts. We have also put together a sampling of important transgender studies texts, to help ground an understanding of transgender identity and embodiment.

As an introduction to this feature, we have also created a playlist of music by transwomen and other artists who explore and embody femininity outside of cisnormative conceptions of gender. In this extensive, genre-spanning mix, you'll find a variety of musical styles and sounds, including hip hop, electronic, ambient, heavy metal, and punk, among others. To learn more about this, feel free to explore some of the resources we used to make the playlist:

*Note: Trans women are women. For the purposes of this feature, we have chosen to center feminine expression and embodiment, and so include contributions from artists and scholars who identify as women, whether cisgender or transgender, as well as nonbinary and genderqueer individuals who are femme, femme-of-center, or who identify with or perform femininity in some way. For more on these concepts, check out this article from the ACLU ("Trans Women are Women") or explore some of the resources from this feature on "The Metaphysics of Gender" from the Philosophy Research Guide.

Beyond the Playlist
As with many of these national commemorations, one month is never enough to fully honor and celebrate the history and culture of marginalized communities, let alone heal the legacies (and ongoing reality) of harm and systemic oppression they've experienced. We recognize that resisting and rejecting (trans)misogyny and cisheteropatriarchy cannot be manifested simply through resource lists and guides, however important and well-intentioned, and that justice and liberation for women, expansively defined, and all who challenge and live outside of binary gender is the work of generations. We are, nevertheless, committed to doing what we can to work towards a different, more equitable and caring future.

If you'd like to engage more deeply with Women's History Month, units across the Libraries have created a number of interrelated resources and features to provide more holistic coverage of this commemoration. You'll find those, below:



Scholarly Texts


Other Nonfiction

Feature Films


Documentary Series

Short Films

Other Media Resources

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Coming soon to play on: Steam

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Women's Equality Day 2020

In honor of Women's Equality Day, which commemorates the passage, ratification, and later certification of the 19th Amendment on  August 26, 1920 (and this year is also a celebration of the 100th anniversary thereof), we present a series of playlists honoring the  contributions of women, femmes, and trans+nonbinary folks in music across genres (many of which have traditionally excluded or undervalued their work). 

We recognize, additionally, that, despite the work of many women of color suffragettes (read more here), the 19th Amendment only guaranteed the right to vote for some (read: white) women; BIPOC  women had to wait many years before suffrage was accorded to them, and even then (even today) many people, including BIPOC, remain disenfranchised.

You can read more about the work of IU historians, and the history of suffrage in Indiana, here.

Scroll through to see the playlists we've created.




Image from Getty Images, courtesy of Gabriel Hackett

Retrospective of folk artists from the 60s & 70s. From chart topping artists like Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez to lesser known artists like Linda Perhacs and Elizabeth Cotten, explore the sound of female artists who shaped the course of folk, rock, and pop music into the 21st century. 

Tomorrow is My Turn: A Look at Women of Color in Folk Music, Past and Present (Medium: Festival Peak)

"How Joni Mitchell Made Ladies of the Canyon and Galvanized the Singer Songwriter Movement" (Louder Magazine)

"Buffy Sainte-Marie: 75 Things to know about the Canadian Icon" (CBC Magazine)

Elizabeth Cotten- Folkways Spotlight

Retrospective of artists (pop, rock, folk, etc.) from the 80s & 90s (and even a few from the early 00s). Explore the ways femme artists influenced the transitional decades from the 20th to 21st centuries.

"Liz Phair is not your Feminist Spokesmodel" (The New York Times)

"From the Archives: Tracy Chapman on NPR" (NPR)

"Erykah Badu: Godmother of Soul" (The New Yorker)

The new ladies of the canyon; folk and indie artists from the early 00s to today. Explore the influence of "ladies of the canyon" as it plays out in the next generation's music.

"Mitski is the 21st Century's Poet Laureate of Young Adulthood" (NPR)

"Weyes Blood on Stunning New LP, the Titanic Sinking, and Climate Change" (Rolling Stone Magazine)

"Courtney Barnett Talks About Taking on Misogyny and Self-Doubt with Her New Album" (Pitchfork)

Bisexual Awareness Day (9/23)

September 23rd is a day designated for recognizing and celebrating bisexual people, their history, and their community. Bisexuality is the quality or characteristic of being sexually and/or romantically attracted to people of one’s own gender as well as another gender or genders. This playlist brings together songs by, about, and for bisexual people in honor of the B in LGBTQ+! From artists suspected of being bisexual or bicurious (Britney Spears, Harry Styles), to out & proud bisexuals (Janelle Monae, Frank Ocean) this playlist encompasses a variety of genres (punk, pop, indie, r&b) through time. From Billie Holliday to Demi Lovato, bisexuals have always existed, despite attempts to erase their queerness. Enjoy this playlist on Bisexual Awareness Day (September 23rd) or any time you want to celebrate bi pride!

Click through the tabs to see some of the media we've highlighted to celebrate bisexual identity and experience.