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Gender Studies Collection

Leslie Homzie

Collection Overview
The Gender Studies collection supports teaching and research needs for students and faculty across the curriculum. Gender Studies, a field of interdisciplinary study which analyzes the phenomenon and the significance of gender, is sometimes related to studies of class, race, ethnicity and location.  The two areas included within the Gender Studies collection are Women Studies and GLBT Studies.

The major portion of the Gender Studies collection supports teaching and research needs for students and faculty in the Women’s Studies Program. The primary focus of the collection is the study of women in the United States. The collection areas are the history of women in the United States, and current research and discourse carried out in the social sciences and Women’s Studies. Other areas include women in theology, feminist philosophy, nursing, education and women in the sciences.  A secondary focus is women and Women’s Studies outside the United States, such as French feminism.  The history and political science collections are strong in documenting and analyzing the experience of women in the United States by covering early women's rights, suffrage, social causes, reform and the women's movement. The collection includes diaries, biographies and autobiographies of their life and work. With the women's movement and the struggle to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1960's and 1970's, the social sciences collections have grown to reflect social movement, social activism, gender, and role research. 

The strong monograph coverage of Women’s Studies mirrors the publication explosion of feminist discourse and the unprecedented expansion of interdisciplinary scholarship. Moreover, during the last twenty years the scope of the collection has expanded to include such topics as women's issues, feminist theory and methodology, violence against women, academic feminism, the women's health movement.  Holdings include First Wave, Second Wave and Third Wave feminist materials.  The goal is to keep abreast of current trends and scholarship in Women’s Studies by collecting broadly and in various formats to support instructional and research needs.

The Women’s Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary minor to undergraduates and places emphasis on the study of women's past and present position in society, analyzing the differences among women as a result of such factors as race, class, religion, and sexuality; the concept of gender relations is also an important emphasis.  The range of issues that intersect with gender such as nationalism and post colonialism, health, labor, sexuality, race, family work and welfare are additional aspects that are studied.  The collection mirrors and supports these concerns by providing current teaching and research materials in many formats, including electronic access.

The GLBT Studies collection supports the teaching and research needs for faculty, students, and scholars in a variety of disciplines across campus. There is no GLBT Studies program at BC, but it is an area of academic interest in a number of departments. Because this collection focuses on the interdisciplinary aspects of this subject, the collection development effort involves the coordination of collection building with faculty and selectors in various disciplines. | View selected resources  »

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Interdisciplinary Elements of Subject Area
The Gender Studies bibliographer coordinates collection development with other bibliographers in overlapping areas of study. Frequently the subject areas of this collection relate to history (social history, popular culture), literature, theology, philosophy, sociology, psychology, political science, economics, business management, nursing and health sciences, education, international and cross cultural studies. 

Formats and Types of Materials
The bulk of the collection is print material. However, with the emerging digital library, electronic formats will receive increasing emphasis. Requests for audiovisual materials are considered and added as needed. Major reference sources and major serial titles are collected. The serials collection has most of the scholarly journals published in the United States. The Women’s Studies part of the collection continues to develop and strives to maintain a strong collection which expresses interest in intra- and interdisciplinary research on women. Since Boston College is a member of ICPSR (Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research), it has numerous data files available. Scholarly, major trade publications, "movement" monographs, reference works, and periodicals are acquired. Theses and dissertations, symposia and conference proceedings of women's conferences are considered. In general., textbooks are not purchased unless they are selected as reference and research works.
Formats collected include print, electronic, microform, and audiovisual. Types of materials include monographs, serials, and reference works including major indexes, abstracts, catalogs, bibliographies, yearbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, research guides, and directories.

English is the primary language of the collection. Foreign language materials are purchased.

Geographic Area Coverage

The emphasis is primarily on materials dealing with gender in North America; published work on gender in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa are collected but to a lesser extent.

Time Periods
Primary emphasis is placed on scholarly works covering the present. The selection of materials reflects an interest in gender in contemporary American society. Earlier historical periods are considered in conjunction with the bibliographers for history.

Date of Publication
Emphasis is on collecting current materials. Retrospective buying, an integral part of the acquisition program, is limited to titles which appear on definitive bibliographies for college collections and are purchased upon faculty request.