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Gender Studies

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


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 Two-Spirit & LGBTQIA Indigenous Identity

In recognition of National Native American Heritage Month, we've created a resource guide (books, video & film, articles & databases) to honor the Two-Spirit and Indigenous Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) communities.

The term Two-Spirit (2S, 2Spirit, Two Spirit, Twospirited) was coined in 1990 at the Indigenous lesbian and gay international gathering in Winnipeg. The term is a pan-Indian, umbrella term used by a number of Indigenous Native Americans to describe Native Peoples who fulfill traditional third-gender or variant-gender roles in their communities and cultures. The term is generally accepted but faces controversy from critics who consider it as reinforcing western notions of binary gender or attempting to erase terms that already exist in traditional communities for gender-variant members. 

Acceptance, treatment, status, and rights of LGBTQIA Indigenous peoples and Two-Spirit individuals have varied historically. Contemporary understandings of Two-Spirit identity and what it means to be Indigenous and LGBTQIA vary greatly from tribe to tribe. We hope the resources collected in these pages will help readers gain a nuanced understanding of Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA Indigenous Identity. 

In this talk, Nick Metcalf gives insight into their experiences being a two-spirit, and explains why gender fluidity is necessary in today’s world. 

Further Reading & Resources
Annotated Bibliography on LGBTQ/TwoSpirit Native Americans and First Nations People (ALA - GLBTRT)
How Indigenous Communities Can Support Two-Spirit People (Black Girl Dangerous)
8 Things You Should Know About Two Spirit People (Indian Country Today)
Indigenous Identity and the Significance of the Term "Two-Spirit" (them: inqueery)
Map of Gender-Diverse Cultures (PBS)

Next Steps
To explore the resources in this spotlight, navigate to our guide on the left-hand side of the page. If you'd like to learn more about this month-long celebration, we've created a guide and list of resources on the Media Studies Research Guide and an overview of Indigenous Philosophy on the Philosophy Research Guide.

For more information about the Indigenous communities with ongoing and traditional ties to this land, and how to support Indigenous groups and movements, take a look at the Land Acknowledgment section on the left-hand side of this page.

New Titles in Gender Studies

Queering the Global Filipina Body

Contemporary popular culture stereotypes Filipina women as sex workers, domestic laborers, mail order brides, and caregivers. These figures embody the gendered and sexual politics of representing the Philippine nation in the Filipina/o diaspora. Gina K. Velasco explores the tensions within Filipina/o American cultural production between feminist and queer critiques of the nation and popular nationalism as a form of resistance to neoimperialism and globalization. Using a queer diasporic analysis, Velasco examines the politics of nationalism within Filipina/o American cultural production  to consider an essential question: can a queer and feminist imagining of the diaspora reconcile with gendered tropes of the Philippine nation?

Burn It Down!

The most comprehensive collection of feminist manifestos, chronicling our rage and dreams from the nineteenth century to today In this landmark collection spanning three centuries and four waves of feminist activism and writing, Burn It Down! is a testament to what is possible when women are driven to the edge. The manifesto--raging and wanting, quarreling and provoking--has always played a central role in feminism, and it's the angry, brash feminism we need now. Collecting over seventy-five manifestos from around the world, Burn It Down! is a rallying cry and a call to action. Fahs argues that we need manifestos in all their urgent rawness--their insistence that we have to act now, that we must face this, that the bleeding edge of rage and defiance ignites new and revolutionary possibilities is where new ideas are born.

Women Who Fly

From the beautiful apsaras of Hindu myth to the swan maidens of European fairy tales, tales of flying women - some carried by wings, others by rainbows, floating scarves, or flying horses - reveal both fascination with and ambivalence about female power and sexuality. In Women Who Fly,Serinity Young examines the motif of the flying woman as it appears in a wide variety of cultures and historical periods, expressed in legends, myths, rituals, sacred narratives, and artistic productions. She introduces a wide range of such figures, including supernatural women like the Valkyries ofNorse legend, who transport men to immortality; winged deities like the Greek goddesses Iris and Nike; figures of terror like the Furies, witches, and succubi, airborne Christian mystics, and wayward women like Lilith and Morgan le Fay.


The first inside look at how sex workers use webcams to make a living The erotic webcam industry, also known as "camming," is a thriving global business. Angela Jones takes readers inside this multi-billion dollar industry, revealing how its workers experience intimacy, community, empowerment--and, as she compellingly argues, pleasure. Drawing on in-depth interviews, survey data, web analytics, and more, Jones highlights not only the dangers, but also the rewards, of working in one of the most taboo corners of the Internet. She provides an inside look at the public and private shows between cam models and their customers, from exotic dancing and pornographic videos, to masturbation shows and erotic chatrooms. A fascinating, much-needed glimpse into the lives of cam models, Camming takes us behind the webcam lens to experience the power of erotic labor in the twenty-first century.

Feminist and Queer Theory

As women's studies departments and programs undergo rapid transformation in higher education, there has been a burgeoning demand for instructional material that addresses feminist and queer studies at all levels in the curricula. Feminist and Queer Theory: An Intersectional and Transnational Reader reflects this vibrantly expanding field and meets the urgent need for theory courses. Feminist and Queer Theory: An Intersectional and Transnational Reader is not simply a feminist theory text that includes queer theories; rather, it theorizes at the intersection of feminist and queer theories, and by doing so, transforms and reshapes the boundaries of the fields. The book invites students to think critically about the limitations of understanding feminist theory as separate, but tangentially related, to queer theory and moves them beyond transnationalism as "additive" to U.S.-centered intersectional perspectives.

Cover of the book described in the text. Urban streetscape observed from a semi-aerial view.

The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality

The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality, Seventh Edition, surveys how and why the categories of race, class, gender, and sexuality are constructed, maintained, experienced, and transformed. Each reading ends with critical-thinking questions to help students relate content to their own lives and understand how their attitudes, actions, and perspectives may serve to perpetuate a stratified system.

Cover of the book described in the text. A pair of blue rubber gloves on a yellow background.

Cable Guys

The emergence of "male-centered serials" such as The Shield, Rescue Me, and Sons Of Anarchy and the challenges these characters face in negotiating modern masculinities. Engaging with a wide variety of shows, including The League, Dexter, and Nip/Tuck, among many others, Amanda D. Lotz identifies the gradual incorporation of second-wave feminism into prevailing gender norms as the catalyst for the contested masculinities on display in contemporary cable dramas.

Cover of the book described in the text. Medieval manuscript with drawing of a person riding a serpent.

Obscene Pedagogies

In Obscene Pedagogies, Carissa M. Harris investigates the relationship between obscenity, gender, and pedagogy in Middle English and Middle Scots literary texts from 1300 to 1580 to show how sexually explicit and defiantly vulgar speech taught readers and listeners about sexual behavior and consent. Through innovative close readings of literary texts Harris demonstrates how through its transgressive charge and galvanizing shock value, obscenity taught audiences about gender, sex, pleasure, and power in ways both positive and harmful. 

Cover of the book described in the text. Bright pink image of a microscope slide, the image of a figure is superimposed into the bubbles on th eslide.

Mobile Subjects

In Mobile Subjects Aren Z. Aizura examines transgender narratives within global health and tourism economies from 1952 to the present. Drawing on an archive of trans memoirs and documentaries as well as ethnographic fieldwork with trans people obtaining gender reassignment surgery in Thailand, Aizura maps the uneven use of medical protocols to show how national and regional health care systems and labor economies contribute to and limit transnational mobility. 

Cover of the book described in the text. Crotched cartoon heart with wings dangling in front of a window overlooking a fuzzy, rainy train tracks in an urban environment.

Engendering Cities

Engendering Cities examines the contemporary research, policy, and practice of designing for gender in urban spaces. Gender matters in city design, yet despite legislative mandates across the globe to provide equal access to services for men and women alike, these issues are still often overlooked or inadequately addressed. This book looks at critical aspects of contemporary cities regarding gender, including topics such as transport, housing, public health, education, caring, infrastructure, as well as issues which are rarely addressed in planning, design, and policy, such as the importance of toilets for education and clothes washers for freeing-up time. 

All Gender Studies Guides