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GNDS 350: Feminism, the Body, and Visual Culture

Primary Sources

Primary sources are original sources, in which witnesses or first recorders describe a time, person or event. They are the subjective interpretation of a witness to an event and serve as the materials historians use to analyze the past. Primary sources can either be the original document or published at a later date in electronic, microfilm and printed collections.
Some types of primary sources include:
  • published materials (books, magazine and newspaper articles) written at the particular time
  • handwritten documents, such as diaries and journals
  • speeches, interviews, letters
  • memoirs and autobiographies
  • manuscripts
  • fiction from a particular time and place
  • photographs, audio recordings, movies and videos
  • art, including paintings, prints and other media
  • artifacts, such as furniture, clothing, tools, clothing, jewelry, pottery, etc.

Secondary Sources

secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. Secondary sources are one step removed from the event. Examples include:
  • biographies
  • books
  • commentaries, criticism
  • dictionaries, encyclopedias
  • histories
  • journal articles
  • magazines and newspaper articles
  • textbooks
Finding Secondary Sources
Search Omni by subject or keyword to find books, etc. Add or look for one of the following subheadings attached to the subject headings:
  • history
  • history and criticism
  • criticism and interpretation
  • biography
Check to see if there is a bibliography compiled already on your topic. Also consider searching journal indexes and databases to find articles on your topic.

Online Collections


A large digital library of art image collections.


Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels
The first ever scholarly, primary-source database focused on adult comic books and graphic novels. Here are the works of artists both celebrated and overlooked, alongside interviews, criticism, and journal articles that document the continual growth and evolution of this artform.


Vogue Archive
The Vogue Archive contains the entire run of Vogue magazine (US edition), from the first issue in 1892 to the current month, reproduced in high-resolution color page images.


Criterion on Demand
Online collection of hundreds of feature films and documentaries.

Films on Demand
Contains documentaries, news reels, lectures, etc.

Gender Studies

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000
Organized around the history of women in social movements in the U.S. between 1600 and 2000, this collection currently includes 122 document projects and archives with 4,900 documents and more than 168,000 pages of additional full-text documents, written by more than 2,600 primary authors.