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Gender Studies

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

About the Collection

Indiana University Library's collections on gender and sexuality are extensive. We hold numerous books, E-books, journal, periodicals and films on topics like gender, women's studies, masculinity, queer theory, and more. We also subscribe to over 50 databases focused specifically on gender, women's, and sexuality studies. Bloomington is home to multiple world-famous primary source repositories, including the Kinsey Institute. An extensive collection means that you have access to massive amounts of information, which can be overwhelming. This page will help you identify sources that are relevant to your interests/research and help you browse our collections in a way that is most efficient and beneficial for you.

Getting Started with Browsing

If you are looking to browse our collections, you can do so virtually through IUCAT (our library catalog) or in-person in the East Tower of Wells; see the Research Collections Stacks (Map View) and the Wells Library Building and Collections Directory for more information. For collections related to Gender Studies, see the list of call numbers below. One starting point might be the call numbers HQ 12-449 (located on the 7th floor of Wells), which includes books on sexual orientation, queer theory, gender identity, and LGBTQ+ culture.

Note that the entire collection of our library is not housed on-site. We also have an offsite storage space (the Auxiliary Library Facility, or ALF) with a capacity of 6,400,000 bound volumes. To request books from ALF, sign into IUCAT with your IU account and click on the red "Request This" button in the top right corner of the catalog record for any title of interest. Your book will be available for pick-up in only a few days (and generally much more quickly)! For more information about the various methods for requesting materials owned by IU Libraries, please see our Request Materials service page.

If you need assistance finding a book, chat with a librarian online, talk to a reference librarian in the Wells Library East Tower, or email your Gender Studies subject librarian, nicholae cline.

Did you know that you do not need to be affiliated with Indiana University to access our collections? Our libraries are open to IU students, faculty, and staff along with Indiana residents, Big Ten Academic Alliance Scholars, and OCLC Scholars. To borrow materials from our collections, you must present either an IU Crimson Card or a Borrower's Card at the circulation desk in the East Tower of Wells Library.

For more information about obtaining a Borrower's Card, see below: 

  • Indiana Residents: You may obtain a Borrower's Card by bringing a photo ID and proof of Indiana residency (an Indiana driver's license or state ID card) to Access Services located at the circulation desk, Scholars' Commons, First Floor of Wells Library during regular operating hours.
  • Visiting Scholars and Research Associates: Visiting scholars working and researching at IU should be prepared to provide their Indiana University Employee ID number or other credentials to register their account.
  • Big Ten Academic Alliance scholars, Academic Libraries of Indiana (ALI) students, and researchers from the OCLC Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program: Scholars from other academic institutions are eligible for a Borrower's Card. See Reciprocal Borrowing for details. If you are an IU affiliate going to another institution for research, please see Reciprocal Borrowing as well.

Learn more on the Library's 'Borrow, Renew, Return' page.

A collection development policy is a document that outlines the goals, objectives, procedures for selecting, acquiring, and maintaining a library's collection, as well as its scope. As such, it provides a roadmap, of sorts, that guides the collection manager's activities within a particular collection or subject area. It is also a living document that is reviewed and updated on a regular basis by your librarian to ensure that our resources reflect emerging trends in the field in addition to canonical works and texts of historical importance, remain inclusive and diverse through representation of marginalized communities and underrepresented perspectives, and continue to meet the needs of our many patrons and users.

To learn more, feel free to review the latest version of the Collection Development Policy for Gender Studies, as well as our Libraries-wide statement on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in collections. For information about contributing to the collection through purchase requests, move to the next tab of this box, Contributing to the Collection.

While one of my primary responsibilities is curating and stewarding the collections in this subject area, I see my role as always one that is complemented by the input and perspectives of the many constituents that our collections support. I welcome suggestions for additions to our collections from anyone working in this discipline and beyond, and I believe taking this collective approach makes the collection better and ensures that we have the resources needed for your research, learning, and scholarship.

To offer a purchase recommendation, please use this form. Due to the volume of these requests, I am not able to respond to them individually but you will be notified when they are available for you to access and use.

Some important notes about purchase requests:

  • In most cases, it will take approximately 3-4 weeks after ordering before a print item is available for circulation. Acquisition of electronic materials is generally much quicker, averaging about 7 business days
  • Always let me know if you want a physical copy or electronic access. When in doubt, if it's available, I will purchase electronic access
  • Where possible, I intentionally seek out open access options and purchase e-versions that are DRM-free. Keep in mind, however, that such versions are not always available from our vendors
  • While in most cases I will purchase e-book licenses that allow for multiple or unlimited simultaneous users to access the text, this isn't always the case with every title and in some instances it isn't possible at all due to cost or publisher restrictions. Especially if you are assigning a title for a course, please be sure to check to see how many simultaneous users our license allows (which you can find in the e-book platform or by consulting with me). If available, I can sometimes purchase a different or additional license, but only do so by request
  • Not all titles are available digitally for institutional licensing, even if there is a consumer e-copy available
  • We generally do not purchase audiobooks, but I can explore options for this by request. If you need an accessible electronic or audio copy of an item in our collection, please reach out to me and I'll work with our electronic resources team to determine possibilities
  • It takes time to subscribe to new journals and other serial publications, and access options vary widely among publishers and distributers (if an institutional license is even available). When possible, please try to make these requests well in advance of the point of need. Keep in mind, as well, that licenses are much more expensive for libraries compared to personal subscriptions, and it may not always be possible to immediately accommodate new purchases within the current academic year (if at all)
  • Publishers often enact embargoes on the most recent content in their journals, which limits the availability of the newest articles. While the lengths of time vary, on average they span between six months to a year from publication; this means that articles in these journals will not be available until this period has expired following when they were originally published. I am always happy to explore options for gaining access to newly-published articles, but this is not something we can control and it is often the case that there are no workarounds for institutional licensing and subscriptions with embargoed journals

Navigating Our Collection

Note: Some terms used by LC Classification system are outdated and may be offensive.


A call number is like an address—it tells you where in a library a book lives. Call numbers are located on a book's spine and are listed in IU's library catalog. Call numbers let you quickly and efficiently locate a physical copy of a book in the library, but did you know that they can also help you browse by topic? Below are some (not all!) call numbers related to Gender Studies which you can use to browse our collection. If you are interested in a topic that is not listed below, consult the Library of Congress Classification Outline and the Library of Congress Classification PDF Files. Ask a reference librarian or consult the signage at Wells Library if you need assistance finding titles.

Class B: Philosophy, Psychology, Religion

  • BF692-692.5: Psychology of sex. Sexual behavior
  • BJ1395: Feminist ethics
  • BL458: Women in comparative religion
  • BL473.5: Goddesses
  • BS575: Women in the Bible
  • BT 83.55: Feminist Theology 
  • BX4200-4563: Religious orders of women

Class D: World History and History of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

  • D107.3: Queens. Women rulers. Women heads of state. (Including female consorts).
  • D107.5: Princes and princesses

Class E and F: History of the Americas

  • E59.W8: Pre-Columbian America. The Indians - Women
  • E98.S48: Indians of North America - Sexual behavior, including homosexuality
  • E98.W8: Indians of North America - Women

Class G: Geography, Anthropology, Recreation

  • G156.5.W66: Women travelers. Women tourists
  • GE195.9: Women in the environmental movement
  • GN33.8: Feminist anthropology
  • GN479.5: Matriarchy
  • GN479.6: Patriarchy. Social roles. Sex roles.
  • GV708.8: Sports - Gay men. Lesbians. Transgender people. Women
  • GV1469.34.F46: Video Games - Feminism
  • GV1749.5: Dance - Gay and lesbian dance parties. Including drag balls.

Class H: Social Sciences

  • Subclass HQ: HQ1-2044: The Family. Marriage. Women
    • HQ12-449: Sexual life
      • HQ18.5: Sexual orientation. Gender identity
      • HQ19-30.7: Sexual behavior and attitudes. Sexuality
      • HQ71-72: Sexual deviations
      • HQ74-74.2: Bisexuality
      • HQ75-76.8: Homosexuality. Lesbianism. (Including Queer Theory)
        • HQ76.96: Gay and Lesbian culture
      • HQ77.7-77.95: Transexualism
    • HQ503-1064: The family. Marriage. Home
      • HQ760-766.7: Birth Control and Family Planning  
    • HQ1101-2030.7: Women. Feminism
      • HQ1033: Same-sex marriage
      • HQ1121-1172: Women's History
      • HQ1190: Feminist Social Theory
      • HQ1194: Ecofeminism
      • HQ1236-1236.5: Women and the State (Women's Rights)
      • HQ1206-1216: Women's Psychology 

Class J: Political Science

  • JF841: Voting age - Women's suffrage. Women's right to vote
  • JZ1253.2: Gender theory and feminist theory in international relations

Class L: Education

  • LC1401-2572: Education - Women. Girls
  • LC2574-2576: Education - Gays. Lesbians. Bisexuals
  • LD7020-7251: Women's colleges

Class M: Music and Books on Music

  • ML82: Women and music
  • ML128.W7: Women in music
  • ML3797.4: Queer musicology

Class N: Fine Arts

  • N43: Women artists (Collective)
  • N8217.G397: Special subjects of art - Gender identity
  • NA1997: Women architects
  • ND38: Women painters
  • NK1174: Women designers. Women and design
  • NX652.G38: Gay artists. Lesbian artists

Class P: Language and Literature

  • PN98.W64: Feminist Literary Theory
  • PN491.3: Gay authors
  • PN1590.W64: Feminist Theater
  • PR111-116: English Literature - Women authors
  • PS147-152: American Literature - Women authors

Sources: Brie Baumert (Gould Library) Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies Call Numbers (2023). 

A subject heading is a specific word or phrase used to find and organize books and articles by certain topic. Subject headings can be a great way to easily find things related directly to your topic. Subject headings are different from keywords because they are part of controlled vocabularies assigned to a subject by an organization. While keywords utilize our natural, everyday language, subject headings are assigned to topics. At Indiana University, we use the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). Note that some subject headings use outdated language.

There are numerous ways to go about finding subheadings of interest:

Subject headings for "Female Masculinity"

For more information on subject headings and utilizing them in your research, see the following articles:

As opposed to subject headings, which are controlled vocabularies, keywords are part of our natural, everyday language. When you search on Google, you are performing a keyword search. Keywords can help you browse but are less specific that subject headings and will often give you results that fall outside of your search. For more information on keyword searching and tips for finding sources, see our Research: Getting Started Guide.

See below for lists of keywords related to Gender Studies research. Remember that, especially in the field of Gender Studies, language used to describe LGBTQ+ people and women may be outdated and/or offensive.

E-book Accessibility and Access

An e-book is an electronic or digital book that is available for reading on your computer (desktop or laptop), tablet, or mobile device. There are many ways to find and access e-books at IU. Check out this e-book guide for more detailed information.


Some e-books include built-in accessibility options which allow patrons to use screen readers, change text size, backgrounds, and/or text color. The University of Exeter Library has compiled an extensive list of accessibility features provided by the major e-book distributors

Below, we have summarized the accessibility statements of popular e-book distributors:

  • EBSCO eBook Accessibility User Guide and FAQs 
    • Colors, Contrasts, and Fonts: EBSCO implements minimum color contrast (including for color vision impairments) and their eBook viewer has been tested with color inversion tools. Downloaded books in EPUB format allow for changing fonts using third party tools. EBSCO is currently working on implementing reading customizations for spacing, font, and color.
    • Magnification: The online book viewer for EBSCO eBooks allows users to Zoom in on content beyond 400%. The viewer has been tested with screen magnifiers such as ZoomText and MAGic.
    • Keyboard navigation: EBSCO eBooks contains a Skip to Main Content link at the top of the ebook viewer page, which allows keyboard users to skip redundant navigation links.
    • Screenreaders: The recommended screen reader and browser combinations are as follows:
      • Desktop: Chrome + JAWS
      • Desktop: Firefox (latest) and Edge + NVDA
      • Desktop and Mobile Apple devices: Safari (latest) + VoiceOver
      • Mobile Android devices: Chrome + TalkBack
    • Text to speech: EBSCO eBooks works in a limited capacity with Text to Speech tools. Known limitations exist for books with copy/paste restricted by the publisher and with DRM-protected content. DRM readers such as Adobe Digital Editions may not work well with Text to Speech tools when content is downloaded. EBSCO recommends using downloaded chapters or page ranges, which are DRM-free. Longer-term there are plans to integrate Text to Speech functionality natively within the eBook viewer.
    • Formats: EBSCO's online reader provides books in two formats, PDF and EPUB. Many books are available in both formats, while others are available only in one format.
  • JSTOR Accessibility Guidelines
    • Colors, Contrasts, and Fonts: Measures have been taken to ensure sufficient color contrast on all areas of the site. Users can resize text, adjust text spacing, and change fonts by adjusting browser settings (for example, this can be done in the appearance settings in Chrome or in Firefox’s preferences).
    • Magnification: Zoom in at least 200%. Text will reflow so it can be presented without loss of information or functionality.
    • Keyboard navigation: Navigate the website using just a keyboard and access all interactive elements.
    • Screenreaders: We have made every effort to ensure that our image-based PDF files can be read with screen readers such as JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver. These files are tagged using an automated process. While this method is not exact, it significantly increases the accessibility of files as compared to an untagged version. In the event that the PDF tagging described is not sufficient for your use, we can perform manual tagging for you. We are also happy to reformat PDFs that are unreadable via screen reader.
    • Text to speech: Utilize text-to-speech tools on the platform and with PDF content. There are many browser plug-in tools (such as Natural Reader for Chrome) that work on JSTOR. Some technology has text-to-speech software built into the device’s accessibility settings.
    • Format: Content is available as scanned images and as PDFs. A subset of the content is available in HTML format. JSTOR does not have any form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) on the content on the platform. All ebook chapters are available exclusively in a DRM-free, unlimited-user model. They work just like the journal articles on JSTOR, with unlimited simultaneous use, PDF downloads, and printing, and no need to log in or use special software.
  • Project Muse Accessibility: Project MUSE allows users to personalize their reading experience on the platform via user settings including high contrast mode and dark mode. These features are available to all users, and those with MyMUSE accounts may save these settings for automatic application whenever using the platform while logged in to their account.
  • ProQuest Ebook Central Accessibility Statement 
    • Colors, Contrasts, and Fonts: Colors that meet minimum contrast specifications and can be adjusted in the browser settings. Users can change the Ebook Central website typeface to OpenDyslexic in the profile settings. 
    • Magnification: Users can zoom in up to 300% without text spilling off screen using inbuilt browser features.
    • Keyboard navigation: Ebook Central can be navigated by keyboard only.
    • Screenreaders: Ebook Central uses the latest version of screen reader and browser combinations as follows:
      • Chrome or Microsoft Edge + JAWS 
      • Firefox + NVDA
      • Safari + Voiceover
      • Apple Mobile: Safari + Voiceover
      • Android Mobile: Chrome + Talkback
    • Text to speech: Ebook Central does not offer an embedded text-to-speech tool, but text-to-speech is built into the Microsoft Edge browser, available as browser plug-ins for Chrome, FireFox and Opera, and built into most digital devices such as PCs, Macs, Tablets and Phones.
    • Formats: Ebook Central offers books in two formats: EPUB and PDF

  • Sage Publications Online and Print Accessibility Policy  "Sage produces all books in Epub2 and Epub3, with only a few exceptions. Our Epub3 content incorporates MathML as well as navigational and structural tagging, indicates reading order, and is compatible with many text-to-speech and magnification tools. It is optimized for performance in the Firefox browser with the free NVDA screen reader. Epub3 files of Sage US College titles published since January 1, 2019, include IDPF-compliant accessibility metadata in addition to alternative text and long descriptions where needed."

Source: Susan A. Vega García (Iowa State University Library, Ebook Publisher Accessibility Statements (2022).