Archive for December, 2010

Transgender Studies and Theories: Building up the Field in a Nordic Context

December 21, 2010

In case I haven’t made it obvious enough I am positively enamored with open access journals. A couple months ago I decided (at least for the time being) that I am only going to submit articles to open access journals and zines for publication. When I was in library school I first began to really think about serious obstacles people face in obtaining information they need/want for educational, health, recreational, etc. purposes. My professor/mentor, Dr. Kevin Rioux, gave me the book Global Information Inequalities to read and it deeply impacted my philosophy of librarianship.

Anyway, I recently learned that the Graduate Journal of Social Science just published a special issue called “Transgender Studies and Theories: Building up the Field in a Nordic Context.” This issue is a product of the Nordic region’s first international conference on trans studies. As someone who is interested in both Nordic culture and gender studies, I was very excited to learn of this issue’s publication, and am confident that it addresses theories and issues relevant to trans studies in an international context. Below are some sample articles contained in the journal:

  • Transgender children: more than a theoretical challenge by Natacha Kennedy and Mark Hellen
  • On Elves and Beasts: an intervention into normative imaginaries by Anthony Clair Wagner
  • Subtle pressures, coercive sterilizations and denials of access: A trans-crip approach to reproductive subjectivation by Ute Kalender
  • Contextualising Intersex: Ethical discourses on Intersex in Sweden and the US by Erika Alm
  • Screen-births: Exploring the transformative potential in trans video blogs on YouTube by Tobias Raun

The entire issue can be downloaded for free as a PDF here.


Discovering American Women’s History Online

December 20, 2010

One of the programs for which I am the librarian at my institution is Women’s History. Students in this program base much of their work on primary sources. As such, I am constantly on the lookout for resources offering free feminist/gender studies primary documents.

Discovering American Women’s History is one such excellent open access source. Maintained by  librarian Ken Middleton of Middle Tennessee State University, the database “simplifies access to digital collections of primary sources (photos, letters, diaries, artifacts, etc.) that document the history of women in the United States.”

Users can browse the database by subject (a librarian’s dream), state, time period, primary source types, and all digital collections.  Presently, time periods covered by the database range from the 1600s to 2009, and there are nearly 500 items in the database.

One of my favorite collections is a group of covers from lesbian pulp novels written between 1935-1965.


Giving Credit Where It’s Due, Part 1

December 15, 2010

The topic of this post is going to differ somewhat from my usual content. I am lucky to have so many inspirational library mentors and colleagues, and it’s really important to me to recognize these people for what I see as their amazing contributions to both the field and my life. Thus, every once in awhile I’m going to write a little bit about a librarian whose work I really admire.

Today I really want to recognize the accomplishments of a librarian who works about four feet away from me- my coworker, Charlotte Price. Presently a humanities reference librarian, Charlotte has a rich and diverse background in the profession. She also has experience in cataloging, rare books, and systems, and is always happy to share insight she’s gained during years of working in libraries.

Her commitment to our patrons is unwavering and she will always go out of her way to help anyone, whether it’s a student or a colleague. I learn from her every day and together we work in feminist solidarity to develop better services and close gaps in information access.

Charlotte and I have recently started a project together which I’m very excited about- we’re both really interested in fat-positive feminism and together are working to “convey the medicalization and discrimination of the fat body by standard library classification, as well as call for a more widespread acceptance of the inclusion of fat-positive feminist alternative literature into academia.” We’ll be presenting our research at next year’s Women’s History Month Conference.

Thank you!!!

NYC Data

December 14, 2010

Occasionally a student will come see me looking for data on New York city. A tremendous resource I’ve found is Baruch College’s NYCdata site. There are currently 18 categories, which include education, culture, population and geography, international trade, and labor force.

All of the information is available for free- there is some seriously useful statistical data on this site. It appears that the last update to the site was in September 2010, and the data sets I examined appear to be current through 2008-2009.

Trans 411

December 13, 2010

Finding a queer-friendly doctor has always been a big concern of mine. I know from first-hand experience how it feels when your health care provider assumes you have a boyfriend solely because you identify as a woman. That said, everyone should be able to get their health cared for by a person who is cool with and supportive of all gender and sexual identities – and doesn’t make any hasty assumptions.

Trans 411 is really amazing in this regard- it was created “as a community driven resource directory” and and hopes to “make life easier by building upon local knowledge of transgender friendly providers, services and community groups.”

The site provides links to a wide range of trans-friendly doctors, surgeons, and therapists. Visitors to the site can browse by state (although sadly not all 50 are listed) and by country (currently included are: Argentina, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Mexico, Slovakia, Thailand, and United States).

You can also follow Trans 411 on Twitter!

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

December 13, 2010

Friday, December 17th, is the 7th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. In order to commemorate this incredibly important day, there will be a vigil and speak out at 7:30 PM at Metropolitan Community Church.

Below is more information about the event as quoted from the PONY blog:

Join us in solidarity to fight the criminalization, oppression, assault, rape and murder of sex workers – and of folks perceived as sex workers.

December 17, 2003 was our first annual day to honor the sex workers who were murdered by serial killer Gary Ridgway. In Ridgway’s own words, “I also picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported missing. I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.” (BBC,

We come together each year to show the world that the lives of marginalized people, including those of sex workers, are valuable.

Lesbian Herstory Archives Book Sale & Tours!

December 10, 2010

Tomorrow happens to be one of the days I most look forward to during the year – the Lesbian Herstory Archives is having an open house, complete with a “books plus” sale and group tours! It’s going to be a magical magical event- and as someone who shamelessly collects and devours old Naiad Press titles, I’m going as soon as my coop shift ends!

Amelia Bloomer Project

December 10, 2010

Every year since 2002 the Feminist Task Force of the American Library Association has released a bibliography of recommended feminist reading for birth through age 18. Called the Amelia Bloomer Project, the lists are available in both PDF and HTML formats.

This books are divided first by age (beginning readers, middle readers, and young adults) and then by fiction/non-fiction. Each listing includes a citation as well as very brief summary of the book’s content. A couple examples from 2010’s list are Bea Rocks the Flock (coincidentally sharing a name with my favorite Golden Girl), Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee, and Rapunzel’s Revenge.

This site would be especially useful to children’s and young adult librarians, as well as anyone wishing to locate feminist-positive books for young people.

Lavender Legacies Guide

December 9, 2010

I love archivists. I also love gender/queer studies. And I love to travel. So needless to say I’m really quite fond of the Society of American Archivists’ Lavender Legacies Guide.

According to the website, “This is the first formal and comprehensive guide to primary source material relating to the history and culture of lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgendered (LBGT) people held by repositories in North America.”

The list boasts archives in 4 Canadian provinces, as well as 27 U.S. States. Information provided describing organizations’ collections varies, but at the very least each entry includes an address and contact information. This is an excellent resource for anyone looking for primary source documents on queer/gender studies topics!!

My next project will be to find a similar site which documents queer archives around the world (if it exists I’ll find it, and if it doesn’t I’ll try to help create it!)

Women’s and Radical Research Resources Sample Platter

December 8, 2010

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to give a presentation with Jenna Freedman at Bluestockings Bookstore on free radical/feminist research resources. The resources included websites, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals and the Guttmacher Institute, as well as local organizations such as the Barnard Zine Library and the future Fales Riot Grrrl Collection.

Jenna put the Power Point slideshow of our presentation up on the Radical Reference website- it’s freely available for download!