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Women's and Gender Studies

About Books

Women's and Gender Studies is deeply interdisciplinary. Thus, there are many other guides you may also want to consult (I list a few below).  

However, while you may certainly find that gender is addressed, either implicitly or explicitly, in books all over the Library, there is also a category of books that considers it primarily. This guide will, I hope, help you to locate those.  

Searching for Books

When you are searching for books, you will usually use:

Subject Headings

There are many ways to search the library's book collection, but it's often easiest to find books (especially in the catalog) when you know the subject headings that describe them. 

Subject headings are words that are used to describe what the books are about.  There are two important things to remember about subject headings:

  • They are consistent throughout the catalog ("Womanism," searched as a subject heading, should bring up all the books on womanism)
  • They are relatively predictable

These are some examples of subject headings in the catalog.  This list is far from comprehensive, but it should provide you with some terms and clues for coming up with more.  

For instance, where a specific country, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. is mentioned, you can usually substitute another one. Where you see a dash or the word “in” or “and,” there are most likely other possibilities (for instance, “feminism and education” is only one in a list of “feminism and …” subject headings).

  • African American women
  • Feminism
  • Feminism and education
  • Feminist theory
  • Gay and lesbian studies
  • Gender identity
  • Homosexuality
  • Identity (Philosophy)
  • Masculinity
  • People with disabilities -- Social conditions
  • Prostitution
  • Sex customs -- History
  • Sex differences (Psychology)
  • Sex discrimination
  • Sex role
  • Sexism
  • Sexism in language
  • Social institutions
  • Social justice -- United States
  • Transgender people
  • Transsexualism
  • Women -- Political activity
  • Women -- Social conditions
  • Women -- Social conditions -- United States
  • Women -- Violence against
  • Women prisoners
  • Women's studies

Searching in the ways I've recommended above will bring up an alphabetical list of subject headings. As you can see, each heading is broken down into smaller subjects, so the alphabetical list can be quite useful.

These are Library of Congress subject headings, and they tend not to be as intersectional as I'd like. However, you can do more intersectional searches by using the Advanced Search to combine searches, like this:

A subject search in OneSearch combining "Asian American" with "Masculinity"

Of course, since some of the subjects I've suggested are very broad, you may also want to consider using the Advanced Search to narrow your results.

There are some other kinds of words that are usually good for subject searching:

  • Names of authors or historical figures (for instance: Wells-Barnett, Ida B. or Wollstonecraft, Mary)
  • Philosophies or theories, such as existentialism or disability studies
  • Countries or areas of the world, like North America  or Japan

I'd also like to note that the headings don't always keep up with preferred terminology. Getting a subject heading officially changed is very difficult. So, stay critical of these headings, but you might need to use a heading that doesn't match up with the language you'd usually use to find the books classified under it.

Call Numbers

Instead of, or in addition to, searching the catalog, you could also go up to the stacks on Levels 4 and 5 and take a look at the books for yourself. Since the books are arranged by subject, any good book you find is likely to have more near it. 

Call Numbers

Most books specifically on feminism, gender or women's studies are in the HQ range, which you can find on Level 4.  However, many other parts of the library's collection cover the relation of women or gender to certain topics.  For example, here are some call numbers you may find useful:

  • BF 692 - 692.5                               Psychology, sex and gender
  • HB 72                                              Economics and social justice
  • HD 6053 - 6223                            Women and work
  • HQ 12 - 449                                   Sexual life
  • HQ 75 - 76.9                                  Bisexual, gay and lesbian studies
  • HQ 77 - 77.95                               Transgender studies
  • HQ 503 - 1064                              Marriage and the family
  • HQ 1075 - 1075.5                        Sex role
  • HQ 1101 - 2030.7                        Women and feminism
  • HQ 1121 - 1150                           Women's history
  • HV 6626                                        Domestic abuse
  • KF 4758                                         Legislation and women's rights
  • P 94.5 W65                                    Women in the media
  • PN 471 - 494                                 Women writers and women in literature
  • RA 564.83 - 564.9                        Health and gender, health and sexuality
  • RC 451.4 - 451.5                          Mental health and gender, mental health and ethnicity

Of course, there are likely to be many relevant books outside these call ranges! Many books cover a topic as it relates to the role of gender, but are shelved with the other books on those subjects. For instances, you can find books about Japanese women writers among the books on Japanese literature. 

Additional Guides

Reference Books of Interest