SFU Library Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies (GSWS) collections policy

The Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies  (GSWS) focuses on the study of women, gender, sexuality, and feminism.   The students can obtain an undergraduate major or minor, an M.A., or a Ph.D. in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.

At the undergraduate level, the Department currently offers both a major and a minor program, as well as an extended minor in GSWS. Additionally, students may enroll in a joint major that combines Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies with one of the following areas: Anthropology, English, Criminology, History, Humanities, Political Science, Psychology or Sociology.  Students may also participate in Co-operative education or Action Research exchange (ARX ).  

The Department has a small number of full time faculty members and some Associate Members from other departments on campus.  The Department is home to the Ruth Wynn Woodward (RWW) Professor of Women's Studies.  The RWW Chair which was inaugurated in 1985, is an appointed for a one-year or a two-year term.  This position, which has the distinction of being the first Endowed Chair at SFU, has a special mandate to promote teaching, research and community outreach related to women's issues and achievements in all parts of BC and the Yukon. In addition to teaching, an annual conference, symposium or a series of events are held with a view to promoting issues of importance to women that are aimed at reaching the general public.


Gender, History & Cultural Memory

This area looks at how to historicize contemporary ideas and experience of femininity and masculinity, or for those who wish to explore the ways in which the categories of gender and sexuality have intersected with those of race, class, ethnicity, region and religion.

Feminist Theory, Politics & Activism

This area looks at issues of power, government policies, and activism.

Sexuality & Culture

This area looks at sexuality as it relates to cultural theory and analysis, communications and cultural policy, media and marketing discourse.

Identities & Diversity

This area looks at theoretical and political discourses on difference and diversity.

Women, Culture & Society

This area looks at approaches to understanding women's lives, their representation in culture and media, as well as theri experiences of ideological formation, socialization and economic opportunities.

Collection Development

Collection development is the responsibility of the Liaison Librarian for Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. Liaison with the Department is maintained through the Departmental Representative as well as through other faculty members when required. Regular contact with other liaison librarians, subject specialists, and teaching departments is nurtured through the sharing of relevant resources. 

SFU Resources

The WAC Bennett Library at the Burnaby Campus is the primary location for collections related to GSWS, including books, journals, videos (DVDs), electronic databases, including image databases. 

SFU belongs to consortia such as  Electronic Library Network (ELN), Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL), the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN).  CRKN is a national digital library initiative to support research in Canadian universities in the areas of social sciences and humanities. This is done primarily through national licensing of electronic information resources for the research community.

Regional Resources

The University of British Columbia has books, journals to support research in this discipline.  

Consortia and Document Delivery

SFU belongs to three consortia (BC Electronic Library Network; Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries; and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries). Document delivery agreements exist with all three of these consortia which allow delivery of journal articles and books from member libraries in a timely manner. Holdings and direct requesting from over 40 libraries are accessible through the Interlibrary Loan webpage and from many databases, and interlibrary loans are also arranged with other libraries around the world, as needed.  Besides document delivery benefits, membership in these and other consortia, including the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, also offers substantial savings on the collective purchase of licensed electronic resources.

General Collection Guidelines

Methods of acquiring materials

The Library maintains a collections profile with a book vendor for collecting suitable monographs from a wide range of North American and European publishers. The Liaison Librarian also selects key books from publishers’ catalogues, and through requests for materials by faculty members in the Department and students.

Languages: Primarily English language.

Chronological guidelines: Primarily present day but some historical.

Geographic guidelines: Primarily Western Europe and North America but also women and gender issues from around the world.  

Treatment of subject: Primarily scholarly material but also some biographical and  narrative material. 

Types of materials: Collection is split between books and journals but  reference works (dictionaries, encyclopedias and bibliographies) are also collected on a selective basis. There is a growing emphasis on e-books as well as e-journals.

Date of publication: Emphasis is on current publications but some historical and retrospective purchases are also made if needed.

Gifts: The SFU Library Gifts Policprovides guidance on collection of gift materials.

Coordination and Cooperation with Other Library Collecting Areas

Many books of interest to GSWS are received through budget allocations of other disciplines.  Purchased are made through the Approval Plans for disciplines such as  Communication, English, Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, etc. 

Subjects and Levels of Collecting

Definitions of collection levels are derived from the American Library Association's Guide for Developing Collection Policy Statements, 1989. Collection levels will be applied after the subject categories have been determined.

Subject descriptors

Subject categories (descriptors) have been taken from Blackwell's Book Services Approval Plan Subject Thesaurus and the Library of Congress Subject Headings. These subject descriptors are guidelines to determine which books or forms are sent on approval to the Library

Other subject categories may be added as required.

B indicates that books on these subjects are received on Approval. F indicates that a selection is made from forms.


Social Sciences division
  Applied interdisciplinary social studies division
    Cultural analysis  F
    Developmental studies division  B
    Population studies division  F
      Population studies - general  F
      Immigration & emigration  F
      Assimilation  F
      Internal migration  F
      Refugees & aliens  F
    Conflict & its resolution  B
    Violence  B
    Race relations division
      Race relations - general  B
      Multiculturalism  B
      Special ethnic studies division
        Special ethnic studies - general  B
        Black studies  F
        Native American studies - N. America  B
        Hispanic-American studies  F
        Native American studies - Ctrl. America  B
        Native American studies - S. America  B
        Jewish studies  F
        Arab ethnic studies  B
        Asian ethnic studies  B
        Native races studies  B
        Other ethnic studies  B
      Slavery  F
    Discrimination division
      Discrimination -general B
      Discrimination in employment F
      Discrimination in education F
      Discrimination in housing F
      Anti-Semitism F
      Racism F
      Sexual harassment F
      Other kinds of discrimination F

    Gay & lesbian studies   F
    Minority groups (other than racial or ethnic)  F

    Women (other than biological or medical) -   B
        frequently used with other terms - e.g.
    Women - Economic conditions
        see also: specific groups - e.g.
    Women in religion; Women authors, etc.
    Feminism    B
    Men       B
    Children  B
      Girls  F
      Boys       B
    Gender studies  B

    Social pathology  B
    Sexual abuse  F
    Crimes against humanity  F
    Pornography  F
    Sociology of youth division
      Sociology of youth - general  B
      Juvenile delinquency  B
      Juvenile social problems division  F
    Sociology of crime  F
    Sociology of middle age  B
    Gerontology  B
    Sociology of the disabled  B

    Crime & criminals division  F
      Crime & offenses division  B
        Crimes & offenses - general  B
        Female offenders   B
        Homicide  B
        Suicide  B
        Child abuse  B
        Assault & battery  B
        Sex crimes  B
    Victims of crimes (including female victims)  B


Social science division
  Social sciences - general  F
  Social science research  B

  Anthropology division
    Anthropology - general  B
    Social & cultural anthropology division  B
      Social & cultural anthropology - general  B
      Primitive society  B
      Kinship  B
      Tribes & tribalism  B
      Ritual (Anthropology)   B
      Material culture  B

  Sociology Division  F
    Sociology - general  B
    Social theory  B
    Social conditions  B
    Social reform  B
    Social organization & structure  B
    Social policy  B
    Study of groups  B
      Communal groups  B
      Small groups  B

    Domestic relations division  F
      Domestic relations - general  F
      Marriage  F
      Unmarried couples  F
      Divorce  F
      Intermarriage  F
      Polygamy  F
      Adoption  F
      Brothers & sisters  F
      Family planning  F
      Childlessness  F
      Parent & child  F
      Illegitimacy  F
      Unmarried mothers  F
      Foster care  F
      Domestic violence  F

    Single persons  F

    Sexuality division  F
      Sexuality - general  F
      Sex differences (Psychology)  F
      Sex education  F
      Sex deviation  F
      Change of sex  F
      Birth control  F
      Abortion  F

    Demography  B
      Vital statistics  B

    Urban sociology  B
    Industrial sociology  B
    Sociology of labor  B
    Rural sociology  B
    Medical sociology  B
    Social behavior  B
    Social attitudes  B
    Social change  B
    Sociometry  B
    Social statistics  B

  Psychology division  F
      Psychology - general  B
      Physiological psychology  B
      Cognition division  F
        Cognition - general  B
        Learning & memory  B
        Consciousness  B
        Reasoning  B
        Intelligence  B
        Work & fatique (Psychology)  F
    Creativity  B
    Emotions division  B
    Experimental psychology  B
    Clinical psychology  B
    Developmental psychology  B
    Genetic psychology  B
    Child psychology division  B
      Child psychology - general  B
      Adolescent psychology  B
      Infant psychology  B
    Psychology of aging
    Personal psychology  B
    Psychology of sex  F
    Sex role (Psychology)  F
    Social psychology division
      Social psychology - general
      Psychology of groups  F
      Leadership  F
      Interpersonal relations  B
      Interpersonal communication  F
      Nonverbal communication  B
    Criminal psychology  B
    Behaviorism  B
    Personality  F
  Education division
    Education - general  B
    Teachers - Women  B
    Pedagogy    B
    Educational philosophy  F
    Educational psychology  B
    Sociology of education  B
    Educational research  B
    Economics of education  B
    Education in developing countries    F

  History division
    History - general  B
    Political history  B
    Social history  F
    Economic history  B
    Cultural history  B
    Intellectual history  B
    Constitutional history  B
    Legal history  F
    Colonial history  F
    Diplomatic history  B
    Voyages & travels  F