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Gender Studies

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


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, helpful resources and services for scholarsinstructional support information, research & writing 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 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning, and more (LGBTQ+) people. For a description of what you'll find in each section of this guide, just hover over each item in the navigation menu on the left-hand side of this page; if you're using a mobile device, you'll also find a summary on each page.

The subject specialist and collection manager for this area is nicholae cline. If you would like to contact them, please use the profile box located on the left-hand side of this page. If you would like to request a purchase for our collections, you can use this form.

To learn more about who we are and the services we offer, including links to key general library services, take a look at the About Us page of this guide.

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.

To learn more about the IU Department of Gender Studies, visit their website.

Transmaculine Worlds: Works by Trans Men & Other Masc Folk


In recognition of Pride Month in June, we have curated a selection of materials and resources from our collections to honor the contributions of transgender men and transmasculine folks across the arts—from fiction and poetry, to feature films and documentaries, to podcasts and music. In many of the tabs of this feature, we have included links to articles by and interviews with the authors at the top of the lists. We have also put together a sampling of important transgender studies texts, to help ground an understanding of transgender identity and embodiment. For more academic texts, please see our Recommended Resources for Gender Studies and Transgender Resources guides. This is a sibling guide to our Transfeminine Worlds: Works by Trans Women & Other Femme Folk feature.

About the Playlist

As an introduction to this feature, we have also created a playlist of music by trans men and other artists who explore and embody masculinity 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, and indie rock, among others. To learn more about this, feel free to explore the following articles that highlight some of the artists on our playlist:

Note: To enjoy the playlist in full, click on the white Spotify icon in the upper-right corner of the playlist, and press the "like" (♡) button in the application to save.

Beyond the Playlist


For more resources, see our additional curated guides:





Feature Films


TV & Shorts





Featured | Fatness & Fat Liberation

This guide is a collection of resources related to the Fat Liberation movement. Like other marginalized groups, fat activists have reappropriated and reclaimed the word fat, a previously derogatory term used to pathologize people of larger sizes. As opposed to medical terms like obese or overweight (which are rooted in the flawed science of the BMI scale and racism), fat activists utilize the adjective fat as both a positive descriptor and identity category grounded in solidarity and community. The Fat Liberation movement is widespread and far-reaching. This guide offers an introduction in a variety of genres and mediums written by and about fatness and fat liberation. You will find introductory books about fat discrimination (and how it continues to worsen), fiction that celebrates fat bodies and lived experiences, and Substack blogs by fat activists and writers, among many other resources. 

If you would like to begin to learn about Fat Liberation, explore some of the articles below:


Video: Activism: Profiles In Fatness. Desiree Burch and Dr. Sabrina Strings (author of Fearing The Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia). (2022). 

Further Reading:

This tab contains selected articles and academic books in the field of Fat Studies. Articles are listed chronologically while books are listed by sub-discipline (Readers & Introductory texts, Intersectionality, and History).


Sourced from the following syllabi:

Books: Introductions & Readers

Books: Intersectionality

Books: History


Read the "Health at Every Size Principles" here.


Photography & Art

Further reading and lists:


Maintenance Phase: Selected Episodes

  • Anti-Fat Bias  To celebrate the release of her new book, Aubrey takes Mike on a tour through the statistics and debates surrounding weight bias. Anyone interested in body positivity, airline seats, 'skinny shaming' or the sugar content of melons is legally obligated to join us.
  • The Body Mass Index  The BMI is EVERYWHERE. But is it scientific or scientif-ish? While many Americans think of the body mass index as an objective measure of health, its history reveals a more complicated story.
  • The Obesity Epidemic  Over the last 30 years, fatness has been defined as a risk factor for disease, then a disease in itself, then a global epidemic. What caused this rapid shift?
  • Is Being Fat Bad For You?  For nearly four decades, Americans have heard a simple story about health, longevity and obesity. This week, we learn it's a little more complicated. 
  • Fat Camps  How America's oldest fat camp — and the inspiration for Disney’s "Heavyweights" — became the symbol of a health intervention that enjoys worldwide popularity despite no evidence that it improves anyone's health.

And read this article about Maintenance Phase ("Breaking Down the ‘Wellness-Industrial Complex,’ an Episode at a Time") from the New York Times.

Podcast Episodes


  • NotBlueAtAll "On this blog you’ll find me talking about a range of topics both personal and not. I write a lot about fat acceptance, self-acceptance, self-care, my own abuse survival, fatshion, activism, events and so very much more. This blog is a process, a journey. It helps me sort out my thoughts and share my story. Through this blog, I have met good friends, made connections with fellow abuse survivors and so many badasses."
  • Fluffy Kitten Party "I started this blog as a personal project in 2018, as I quit Weight Watchers for the very last time and embarked on a journey to root diet culture out of my life. Since then, I’ve developed a following of people looking to do the exact same thing."
  • Two Whole Cakes Lesley Kinzel has been engaging with body politics and social justice activism both as an academic and as an everyday upstart for over a decade
  • Your Fat Friend In 2016, Aubrey Gordon began writing anonymously about the social realities of life as a very fat person, publishing under the name Your Fat Friend.
  • Extra Inches - Male Plus Size Blog All about plus size fashion for men – enriched with some tips about grooming, beard care and lifestyle topics.
  • Chubstr A style destination for big and tall or plus size men. We’re pushing back against the myth that bigger guys don’t care about style by creating compelling content that runs the spectrum of fashion, lifestyle, politics, travel, food, and relationships.


Video: Film & TV: Profiles In Fatness. Desiree Burch (2022). In this episode, Desiree is joined by an expert, Aubrey Gordon, to reflect on the harmful stereotypes of fatness found in film and TV, while also celebrating the overlooked heroes from the big screen. 

To read more about fat representation in the media, click the links below:



Read the Fat Liberation Manifesto here. By Judy Freespirit and Aldebaran, November, 1973. Published by the Fat Underground.

Writers & Journalists

A list of writers who focus on fat liberation along with a selection of their publications.


New Titles in Gender Studies

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The Black Reproductive: Unfree Labor and Insurgent Motherhood

How Black women's reproduction became integral to white supremacy, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy--and remains key to their dismantling. In the United States, slavery relied on the reproduction and other labors of unfree Black women. Nearly four centuries later, Black reproductivity remains a vital technology for the creation, negotiation, and transformation of sexualized and gendered racial categories. Yet even as Black reproduction has been deployed to resolve the conflicting demands of white supremacy, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy, Sara Clarke Kaplan argues that it also holds the potential to destabilize the oppressive systems it is supposed to maintain. The Black Reproductive convenes Black literary and cultural studies with feminist and queer theory to read twentieth- and twenty-first-century texts and images alongside their pre-emancipation counterparts.

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The Future Is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes, and Mourning Songs

In The Future Is Disabled, Leah Laksmi Piepzna-Samarasinha asks some provocative questions: What if, in the near future, the majority of people will be disabled - and what if that's not a bad thing? And what if disability justice and disabled wisdom are crucial to creating a future in which it's possible to survive fascism, climate change, and pandemics and to bring about liberation? Building on the work of their game-changing book Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Piepzna-Samarasinha writes about disability justice at the end of the world, documenting the many ways disabled people kept and are keeping each other - and the rest of the world - alive during Trump, fascism and the COVID-19 pandemic. Written over the course of two years of disabled isolation during the pandemic, this is a book of love letters to other disabled QTBIPOC (and those concerned about disability justice, the care crisis, and surviving the apocalypse); honour songs for kin who are gone; recipes for survival; questions and real talk about care, organizing, disabled families, and kin networks and communities; and wild brown disabled femme joy in the face of death. With passion and power, The Future Is Disabled remembers our dead and insists on our future.

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Abolition Feminisms

This groundbreaking anthology engages the theme of abolition feminisms, a political tradition grounded in radical anti-violence organizing, Black feminist and feminist of color rebellion, survivor knowledge production, strategies devised inside and across prison walls, and a full, fierce refusal of race-gender pathology and punitive control. This analysis disrupts the politics of carceral feminism as conversations about the ramifications of the prison-industrial complex continue.

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Black Boy Out of Time

An eloquent, restless, and enlightening memoir by one of the most thought-provoking journalists today about growing up Black and queer in America, reuniting with the past, and coming of age their own way. One of nineteen children in a blended family, Hari Ziyad was raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Through reframing their own coming-of-age story, Ziyad takes readers on a powerful journey of growing up queer and Black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of navigating the equally complex path toward finding their true self in New York City. Exploring childhood, gender, race, and the trust that is built, broken, and repaired through generations, Ziyad investigates what it means to live beyond the limited narratives Black children are given and challenges the irreconcilable binaries that restrict them. Heartwarming and heart-wrenching, radical and reflective, Hari Ziyad's vital memoir is for the outcast, the unheard, the unborn, and the dead.

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Brown and Gay in LA

The stories of second-generation immigrant gay men coming of age in Los Angeles. Growing up in the shadow of Hollywood, the gay sons of immigrants featured in Brown and Gay in LA could not have felt further removed from a world where queerness was accepted and celebrated. Instead, the men profiled here maneuver through family and friendship circles where masculinity dominates, gay sexuality is unspoken, and heterosexuality is strictly enforced. For these men, the path to sexual freedom often involves chasing the dreams while resisting the expectations of their immigrant parents and finding community in each other. Ocampo also details his own story of reconciling his queer Filipino American identity and those of men like him. Brown and Gay in LA is an homage to second-generation gay men and their radical redefinition of what it means to be gay, to be a man, to be a person of color, and, ultimately, what it means to be an American.

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Divergent Women

A 'good woman' is hard to find. To be 'good', after all, women face expectations that are shifting, internally contradictory, emotionally extreme, and prospectively even deadly. To be divergent, on the other hand, is an expansive position, encompassing cackling witches, childfree women, struggling mothers, insecure teenagers, and persecuted innocents. Exploring divergent women from a variety of critical and creative perspectives, this edited collection puts forth a dialogic discussion of how non-conforming women are coded as 'evil', and asks, what happens when women choose to be divergent? Delving into reflective and auto-ethnographic perspectives which explore subjective responses to the influence of the representation and treatment of evil women, Divergent Women is ultimately a celebratory reclamation of the concept of feminine transgression. Encompassing global perspectives and bringing together artistic and academic work, the authors invite readers to explore the possibilities for divergence that exist under the label of womanhood.

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Feminist African Philosophy

The book argues that women's perspectives and gender issues must be mainstreamed across African philosophy in order for the discipline to truly represent the thoughts of Africans across the continent. This book argues that African philosophy cannot claim to have liberated people of African descent from marginalization until the androcentric nature of African philosophy is addressed. Key concepts such as Ujamaa, Negritude, Ubuntu, Consciencism, and African Socialism are explored as they relate to African women's lives or as models of inclusion or exclusion from politics. In addition to offering a feminist critique of African philosophy, the book also discusses topics that have been consistently overlooked in African philosophy. These topics include sex, sexuality, rape, motherhood, prostitution, and the low participation of women in politics. By highlighting the work of women feminist scholars such as Oyeronke Oyewumi, Nkiru Nzegwu, Ifi Amadiume, Amina Mama, and Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, the book engages with African philosophy from an African feminist viewpoint. 

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Making Love with the Land

A moving and deeply personal excavation of Indigenous beauty and passion in a suffering world. In Making Love with the Land, his first nonfiction book, Whitehead explores the relationships between body, language, and land through creative essay, memoir, and confession. In prose that is evocative and sensual, unabashedly queer and visceral, raw and autobiographical, Whitehead writes of an Indigenous body in pain, coping with trauma. Deeply rooted within, he reaches across the anguish to create a new form of storytelling he calls "biostory"—beyond genre, and entirely sovereign. Through this narrative perspective, Making Love with the Land recasts mental health struggles and our complex emotional landscapes from a nefarious parasite on his (and our) well-being to kin, even a relation, no matter what difficulties they present to us. Written in the aftermath of heartbreak, before and during the pandemic, Making Love with the Land illuminates this present moment in which both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are rediscovering old ways and creating new ones about connection with and responsibility toward each other and the land. Intellectually audacious and emotionally compelling, Whitehead shares his devotion to the world in which we live and brilliantly—even joyfully—maps his experience on the land that has shaped stories, histories, and bodies from time immemorial.

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The Natural Mother of the Child

Krys Malcolm Belc's visual memoir-in-essays explores how the experience of gestational parenthood--conceiving, birthing, and breastfeeding his son Samson--eventually clarified his gender identity. Krys Malcolm Belc has thought a lot about the interplay between parenthood and gender. As a nonbinary, transmasculine parent, giving birth to his son Samson clarified his gender identity. And yet, when his partner, Anna, adopted Samson, the legal documents listed Belc as "the natural mother of the child." By considering how the experiences contained under the umbrella of "motherhood" don't fully align with Belc's own experience, The Natural Mother of the Child journeys both toward and through common perceptions of what it means to have a body and how that body can influence the perception of a family. With this visual memoir in essays, Belc has created a new kind of life record, one that engages directly with the documentation often thought to constitute a record of one's life--childhood photos, birth certificates--and addresses his deep ambivalence about the "before" and "after" so prevalent in trans stories, which feels apart from his own experience. The Natural Mother of the Child is the story of a person moving past societal expectations to take control of his own narrative, with prose that delights in the intimate dailiness of family life and explores how much we can ever really know when we enter into parenting.

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Our Work Is Everywhere

A visually stunning graphic non-fiction book on queer and trans resistance. Over the past ten years, we have witnessed the rise of queer and trans communities that have defied and challenged those who have historically opposed them. Through bold, symbolic imagery and surrealist, overlapping landscapes, queer illustrator and curator Syan Rose shines a light on the faces and voices of these diverse, amorphous, messy, real, and imagined queer and trans communities. In their own words, queer and trans organizers, artists, healers, comrades, and leaders speak honestly and authentically about their own experiences with power, love, pain, and magic to create a textured and nuanced portrait of queer and trans realities in America. The many themes include Black femme mental health, Pacific Islander authorship, fat queer performance art, disability and health care practice, sex worker activism, and much more. Accompanying the narratives are Rose's startling and sinuous images that brings these leaders' words to visual life. Our Work Is Everywhere is a graphic non-fiction book that underscores the brilliance and passion of queer and trans resistance.

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Phyllis Frye and the Fight for Transgender Rights

The first out transgender judge to be appointed in the United States, the first attorney to obtain corrected birth certificates for transgender people who had not undergone gender confirmation surgery, a survivor of conversion therapy, and author of a law review article that helped thousands of employers adopt supportive policies for their workers, Phyllis Frye is truly a pioneer in the fight for transgender rights. Among her many accomplishments, Frye founded the first national organization devoted to shaping transgender law--the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy, which has since created a body of work that includes the International Bill of Gender Rights--trained a cadre of future trans activists, and built the first national movement for transgender legal and political rights. Based on interviews with Frye, Phyllis Frye and the Fight for Transgender Rights covers her early life, the discrimination she faced while struggling with her identity--including being discharged from the army and fired from a subsequent job at her alma mater, Texas A&M--her transition in 1976, her many years of activism, and her current position as an associate judge for the municipal courts of Houston. This gripping account of Frye's efforts to establish and protect the constitutional rights of transgender individuals not only fills a gap in existing histories of LGBTQ+ activism but will also inform and instruct contemporary trans activists.

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Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource By and For Transgender Communities

There is no one way to be transgender.Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a revolutionary resource - a comprehensive, reader-friendly guide for transgender people, with each chapter written by transgender and gender expansive authors. Inspired by Our Bodies, Ourselves, the classic and powerful compendium written by and for cisgender women,Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is widely accessible to the transgender population, providing authoritative information in an inclusive and respectful way and representing the collective knowledge base of dozens of influential experts. Each chapter takes the reader through an important issue, such asrace, religion, employment, medical and surgical transition, mental health, relationships, sexuality, parenthood, arts and culture, and many more. Anonymous quotes, testimonials, art and poetry from transgender people are woven throughout, adding compelling, personal voices to every page. In thisunique way, hundreds of viewpoints from throughout the community have united to create this strong and pioneering book. It is a welcoming place for transgender and gender-questioning people, their partners and families, students, professors, guidance counselors, and others to look for up-to-date information on transgender life.

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Convening Black Intimacy

An unprecedented study of how Christianity reshaped Black South Africans' ideas about gender, sexuality, marriage, and family during the first half of the twentieth century. This book demonstrates that the primary affective force in the construction of modern Black intimate life in early twentieth-century South Africa was not the commonly cited influx of migrant workers but rather the spread of Christianity. While the ways of understanding intimacy that Christianity informed enjoyed broad appeal because they partially aligned with traditional ways, other individuals were drawn to how the new ideas broke with tradition. In either case, Natasha Erlank argues that what Black South Africans regard today as tradition has been unequivocally altered by Christianity. In asserting the paramount influence of Christianity on unfolding ideas about family, gender, and marriage in Black South Africa, Erlank challenges social historians who have attributed the key factor to be the migrant labor system.

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The Theory of Love

The Theory of Love: Ideals, Limits, Futures explores stories about love that recuperate a vision of intimate life as a resource for creating bonds beyond heterosexual coupledom. This book offers a variety of ethical frames through which to understand changing definitions of love, intimacy, and interdependency in the context of struggles for marriage equality and the increasing recognition of post-nuclear forms of kinship and care. It commits to these post-nuclear arrangements, while pushing beyond the false choice between a politics of collective action and the celebration of deeply personal and incommunicable pleasures. In exploring the vicissitudes of love across contemporary philosophy, politics, film, new media, and literature, The Theory of Love: Ideals, Limits, Futures develops an original post-sentimental concept of love as a way to explain emergent intimacies and affiliations beyond the binary couple. It will appeal to a wide range of academics and students in literary and film studies, philosophy, gender and sexuality studies, and critical and cultural studies.

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The Oxford Encyclopedia of LGBT Politics and Policy

This encyclopedia reviews and interprets a broad array of social science and humanities research on LGBT people, politics, and public policy around the world. The articles are organized around six major themes of the study of identity politics, with a focus on movement politics, public attitudes, political institutions, elections, and the broader context of political theory. Under the editorial directorship of Donald P. Haider-Markel and associate editors Carlos Ball, Gary Mucciaroni, Bruno Perreau, Craig A. Rimmerman, and Jami K. Taylor, this publication brings together peer-reviewed contributions by leading researchers and offers the most comprehensive view of research on LGBT politics and policy to date. As a result, the Oxford Encyclopedia of LGBT Politics and Policy is a necessary resource for students and as well as both new and established scholars.

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Why Gender?

Why is a focus on gender so important for interpreting the world in which we live? Sixteen world-famous scholars have been brought together to address this question from their respective fields: Political Theory, Philosophy, Medical Anthropology, Law, Geography, Islamic Studies, Cultural Studies, Philosophy of Science, Literature, Psychoanalysis, History of Art, Education and Economics. The resulting volume covers an extraordinary array of contexts, ranging from rethinking trans* bodies, to traumatized tribal communities, to sexualized violence, to assisted reproductive technologies, to the implications of epigenetics for understanding gender, and yet they are all connected by their focus on the importance of gender as a category of analysis. The publication of this volume celebrates the anniversary of the launch of the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge, and features contributions from past and future Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professors to the University.

All Gender Studies Guides