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A Guide to Religious Studies

Reference Works - A Place to Begin


CQ Researcher - 44 comprehensive analyses of issues in the news per year. Explores a single "hot" issue in depth each week, featuring comments from experts, lawmakers and citizens on all sides of every issue. Each report is researched and written by a seasoned journalist, footnoted and professionally fact-checked... provides researchers with an introductory overview, background and chronology on the topic; a pro/con debate, and a bibliography of key sources. [digital]


Gender and Sexuality

Encyclopedia of Gender and Society (2009) - covers the major theories, research, people, and issues in contemporary gender studies. Provides users with a 'gender lens' on society by focusing on significant gender scholarship within commonly recognized areas of social research. Offers 'framing' essays that summarize commonly used concepts and directions of research and provide an overview of each area (e.g., Media and Gender Socialization; Religion, Gender Roles in; Sexuality and Reproduction; Women′s Social Movements, History of). Examines basic aspects of social life from the most individual (self and identity) to the most global (transnational economics and politics). [digital]

The Continuum Complete International Encyclopedia of Sexuality (2019) - This comprehensive scholarly reference work provides authoritative coverage of the full range of topics in the study of human sexual behavior throughout the world. The Encyclopedia brings together an international team of 200 leading sexologists to provide complete view of the field. Entries represent the highest quality of scholarship, but are written in a manner accessible to student and non-specialist readers. They include full bibliographies to aid further research. A range of topics is explored including gender-conflicted persons, unconventional sexual patterns, contraception, AIDS, sexual dysfunctions, and therapies, and the work features 62 in-depth country overviews. [digital]

The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality (2015) - places topics within their socio-cultural and cross-cultural contexts while also exploring evolutionary and primatological concerns. Contains entries ranging from short definitions of scientific, clinical, cultural, and colloquial terms to extended explorations of major concepts. Covers 13 key areas of content, from clinical medicine and body modification to the language of sexuality and the history of sexology. An essential resource for students, scholars, and researchers with contributions from an international team of top scholars and practitioners" [digital]

The Bible and Gender

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies (2014) - systematically exploring the ways in which gender is constructed in the diverse texts, cultures, and readers that constitute “the world of the Bible.” With contributions from leading scholars in gender and biblical studies as well as contemporary gender theorists, classicists, archaeologists, and ancient historians, this comprehensive reference work reflects the diverse and interdisciplinary nature of the field and traces both historical and modern conceptions of gender and sexuality in the Bible. [digital]

Islam and Women

Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures (2006) - an interdisciplinary, trans-historical, and global project embracing women and Islamic cultures in every region where there have been significant Muslim populations. [digital]

Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women (2013) - provides clear, current, comprehensive information on the major topics of scholarly interest within the study of Islam and women. With more than 450 articles written by leading international experts and with a concentration on contemporary issues, it is a single source for accurate overview articles covering all aspects of this flourishing area of research. Organized around the central conceptual themes in research on Islam and women including Self and Body, Immigration and Minorities, Culture and Expression, Politics and Polity, and Community and Society, as well as Science, Medicine and Education among others, this work examines the scholarship on Islam and women that has expanded exponentially over the past twenty years, as well as cross-pollination between other fields and disciplines. [digital]

Men and Masculinity

Men and Masculinities: A social, cultural, and historical encyclopedia (2004) - summarizes the latest historical, biological, cross-cultural, psychological, and sociological research on masculinity. It also looks at literature, art, and music from a gender perspective. The contributors are experts in their specialties and their work is directed, organized, and coedited by one of the premier scholars in the field, Michael Kimmel, an American retired sociologist specializing in gender studies. He was Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Stony Brook University in New York. [print]

LGBTQ Studies

Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States (2009) - covers contemporary lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer American literature and its social contexts [digital]

Sage Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies (2016) - This far-reaching and contemporary encyclopedia examines and explores the lives and experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) individuals, focusing on the contexts and forces that shape their lives. The work focuses on LGBTQ issues and identity primarily through the lenses of psychology, human development and sociology, emphasizing queer, feminist and ecological perspectives on the topic [digital]

Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) history (2019) - covers LGBTQ topics in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East, as well as North America, and takes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, using film, literature, human rights, politics, landmark legislation, activism, the arts, language, sports, and historical events as points of entry into the content. [digital]

U.S. History

Oxford Research Encyclopedia: American History combines the speed and flexibility of digital with the rigorous standards of academic publishing, continuously updated by the world’s leading scholars and researchers. [digital; trial only through February 24th.]

Women & U.S. History

Encyclopedia of Women in American History (2015) - examines the unique influence and contributions of women in every era of American history, from the colonial period to the present. Divided into three chronologically arranged volumes, the set includes historical surveys and thematic essays on central issues and political changes affecting women's lives during each period. These are followed by A-Z entries on significant events and social movements, laws, court cases and more, as well as profiles of notable American women from all walks of life and all fields of endeavor. Primary sources and original documents are included throughout. [digital]

Sexual Behavior & U.S. Law

Encyclopedia of Sexual Behavior and the Law (2006) - a single comprehensive volume, written specifically for the non-lawyer, that addresses sexual policy in the United States, as shaped by federal laws, state laws, and court cases, be it sexual predators, abortion, same-sex marriage, sexual harassment, or internet pornography. This unique new resource provides balanced, reliable treatment to some of the most important, highly publicized topics in society today. [digital]

Jews & Judaism in U.S. History

American Jewish [Historical Society] Desk Reference (1999) - nearly 900 entries covers all aspects of America's lively and influential Jewish culture - history, religion, rituals, family life, law, politics, business, education, music and the arts, sports, entertainment, books, language, science, and more. [print]

Jewish-American History and Culture: An encyclopedia (1992) - [print]

Subject-Specific Journal Article Databases

American Theological Libraries Association (ATLA) - Journal, essay, and book review index. Contains thousands of citations from international titles and multi-author works in the field of religion.

America: History and Life - the definitive index of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. With indexing for 1,700 journals from 1964 to present, this database is without question the most important bibliographic reference tool for students and scholars of U.S. and Canadian history. 

Gender Studies Database combines Women’s Studies International and Men’s Studies databases with the coverage of sexual diversity issues. 

GenderWatch is a full-text collection of international journals, magazines, newsletters, regional publications, special reports, and conference proceedings devoted to women's and gender issues.

LGBT Life is the premier resource to the world's literature regarding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender issues.

Multidisciplinary databases

JSTOR - multidisciplinary, a lot of full text articles, but subject headings are too broad

Academic Search Complete (1975-present) - multidisciplinary; subject headings may or may not be LCSH; also made by EBSCO, so overlaps with America: History & Life

JSTOR v. Academic Search Complete

Google Scholar - articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web. While Google Scholar itself is free on the web, many of the citations it references are not.

Primo - is a "discovery tool" that searches WUSTL's library catalog as well as a number of newspaper and journal databases at one time, but it doesn't retrieve all of their content nor does it search all databases

Google Scholar v. Primo

Project MUSE - a comprehensive collection of peer reviewed, interdisciplinary journals from leading university presses, not-for-profit publishers and prestigious scholarly societies.

Primary Sources

A primary source is an immediate account or object resulting from the topic being studied. Traditionally, primary sources are found public records, archival collections, historic publications, and source books. Specific examples include speeches, diaries, letters, interviews, photographs, original literature, autobiographies. When researching contemporary topics, first hand accounts may also be found on blogs and social media, as well as contemporary literature. 


Selected WGSS archival databases include:

Archives of Sexuality and Gender, Parts I and II: LGBTQ History and Culture Since 1940 - presents important aspects of LGBTQ life in the second half of 20th Century and beyond from more than 35 countries. Features historical records of political and social organizations, publications by and for lesbians and gays, extensive coverage of governmental responses to the AIDS crisis, personal correspondence and interviews with numerous LGBTQ individuals.

Independent Voices A digital collection of alternative press newspapers, magazines and journals, drawn from the special collections of participating libraries. These periodicals were produced by feminists, dissident GIs, campus radicals, Native Americans, anti-war activists, Black Power advocates, Hispanics, LGBT activists, the extreme right-wing press and alternative literary magazines during the latter half of the 20th century.

LGBT Thought and Culture contains books, periodicals, and archival materials documenting LGBT political, social and cultural movements throughout the twentieth century and into the present day. Includes selections from The National Archives in Kew, activist and publisher Tracy Baim, the Magnus Hirschfeld and Harry Benjamin collections from the Kinsey Institute, among others. 

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 79 document projects with more than 2,400 documents, 32,000 pages of additional full-text documents, and 1,700 primary authors. It includes as well book, film and website reviews, notes from the archives, and teaching tools. 

See all WGSS Archival Databases on the A-Z List

U.S. History

Select U.S. history archival databases include:

Politics, Social Activism and Community Support: Selected Gay and Lesbian Periodicals and Newsletters

This collection of periodicals focuses on newsletters issued by gay and lesbian political and social activist organizations throughout the country and on periodicals devoted to gay and lesbian political and social activist agendas—the "public" face of gay and lesbian activism. In addition, this collection includes serial literature on its "private" face, exploring the challenges and complexities of building gay and lesbian communities inside and outside of a "straight" world, the need for psychological reinforcement through support groups in an effort combat an often hostile environment, and the yearning for spiritual confirmation of one’s identity and life choices. Carefully selected for rarity from the thousands of titles in the GLBT Historical Society archives, the collection features more than 200 newsletter and periodical titles totaling nearly 8,000 issues. This product is strong in newsletters from organizations that began their work during the formative years of the gay and lesbian movement.

Homophile Movement: Papers of Donald Stewart Lucas, 1941-1976

This collection documents the activist and professional activities of Donald S. Lucas. The vast majority of the collection dates from 1953 to 1969. The Lucas collection contains an abundance of material relating to the early homosexual civil rights movement (the homophile movement) and the San Francisco manifestation of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. The strength of the collection lies in the administrative and work files of the Mattachine Society, the Mattachine Review, Pan-Graphic Press, and the Central City Target Area of the San Francisco EOC.

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin: Beyond the Daughters of Bilitis

This collection documents many decades of Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin’s work for and leadership of, the LGBT movement and the women’s rights movement in both in San Francisco and nationally. Included are minutes, correspondence, and notes related to their work with the ACLU, the San Francisco Coalition for Human Rights, the Commission on Crime Control and Violence Protection, the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women, and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Lyon and Martin were also central to the struggle that pushed the National Organization for Women to an understanding of the centrality of the freedom to sexual expression.

Everyday Life and Women in America, c.1800-1920

Sources are drawn from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture, Duke University and the New York Public Library. Contains monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and broadsides addressing political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes.

AM Explorer - Sex & Sexuality

explores changing attitudes towards human sexuality, gender identities and sexual behaviors from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Investigating the breadth and complexity of human sexual understanding through the work of leading sexologists, sex researchers, organizations and personal accounts.

See All U.S. History Archival Databases on the A-Z List

U.S. Newspapers - from the U.S. History Lib Guide

Extremely Current Newspapers - PressReader - Full-color, full-page collection of today's newspapers from around the world, providing instant access to 1000+ newspapers from 82 countries in 39 languages. For most papers, only the most current 60 days are available.

Popular Weekly Magazines of the last five decades - MAS Ultra