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GQS 201: Intro to Gender, Queer, and Feminist Studies

Evaluating Primary Sources

This activity will give you an opportunity to practice analyzing primary source documents from the Archives of Sexuality & Gender and contextualize them using tertiary source research. 

CW: These are historical documents that reflect attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times and necessarily engage with sexism, homophobia, and adjacent themes. Some sources may include nudity, strong (uncomfortable, offensive, or oppressive) language, outdated terminology, or address difficult issues.

Working in groups or individually, explore the documents linked on this page. Select one publication to focus on and respond to the following questions, keeping in mind the goals and themes of this course. Make a copy of this worksheet to use to keep track of your responses.

  1. Who created these documents? What can you surmise about the author/group's identity, political aims, or societal positioning? What communities, activist groups, or organizations are they associated with?
  2. What issues do the authors of these texts care about and what are their goals? How do they use writing and/or visuals to communicate their ideas? 
  3. What evidence do these documents give you about the social or political climate in the United States at the time they were written? What evidence is absent? Note any questions you have and identify unfamiliar concepts, people, events, or terms for further research.
  4. After you have spent some time independently analyzing your primary documents, use any 2 of the tertiary sources on the the tab for "Building Context" to seek out additional background information. How do the subject encyclopedia articles inform or alter your interpretation of the primary sources?

Primary Sources

Finding Primary Sources

The resources and tools below provide access to additional primary sources at Collins Library and beyond. You can find more primary sources, as well as links to websites and digital collections on the Gender & Queer Studies Subject Guide.

Digital Collections

Primary Sources: Subject Collections