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Michigan State University

Gender in Modern Europe: Subject Dictionaries and Encylopedias

Originally created to use with a HST 201 course on this subject. Spring semester, 2023. Last updated 05-15-2023

Subject Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Why use these? To get scholarly experts' concise views on topics.   To get ideas for a topic.  To read about breaking a broad topic down into doable parts for a paper.   To read about how to broaden a topic that is too specific to find enough on.  To read a little about a topic, if you only need a little information, not a whole book. To find further reading references on a topic recommended by an expert on that subject.  Be sure to notice the date of publication and update what you read with more recently written material if this is significant for your work.

Organization of this page. Modern Europe in general.  Gender studies. British. French.

Modern Europe in General

Encyclopedia of European Social History Reference HN 373 .E63 2001 v. 1-6

See esp. v. 1 on regions, peoples, nations; v. 4 on gender, sexuality, etc.; v. 6 biographies and index to the whole.

Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment Main B 802 .E53 2003

Europe 1450-1789 Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World  Ref. D 209 .E97 2004 v. 1-6  Index in v. 6.  Articles on gender, family, marriage, patriarchy, sexual difference (theories of), sexuality and sexual behavior, women, etc.

Europe 1780-1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire
This is an online encyclopedia only. A five-volume survey of European history from the onset of the French Revolution to the outbreak of World War. Alphabetically arranged entries cover the period's most significant personalities and meaningful developments in the arts, religion, politics, exploration, and warfare.

Europe Since 1945, an Encyclopedia Ref. D 1051 .E876 2001 v. 1-2  Very politically and geographically oriented.  Many biographies.  Articles do not specifically correspond to the subject guide at beginning of v. 1.  There is an article in v. 2 on Women's Movements which treats the topic regionally.

Cambridge Companions 

Books by experts offering lively, accessible introductions to major writers, artists, philosophers, topics, time periods.  Upon entering this resource, click on View All on the right opposite All Cambridge Companions, then, along the left side in the Refine search section uncheck search within full text, check only show content I have access to, check books, and under subject try looking in the philosophy and then history subject sections.  We should have many of these e books as paper/cloth also; check the online catalog. 

Cambridge Histories Online

Scroll down to the section Cambridge Histories-Philosophy and Political Thought.  There is one on French thought, and two vols on history of modern European thought.  We have many/most of these volumes in paper/cloth also.  Check the online catalog for these titles.

Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life a Tour through History from Ancient Times to the Present  Reference GT 31 .G74 2004 v. 1-6

Historical Dictionary of the Enlightenment Main B 1925 .E5 C45 2005

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

8 vols. cover 1750 to present, providing special attention to social, economic, cultural and political topics. Information about and interpretation of major developments across particular regions on themes such as politics, demography, social class, and gender.


Gender Studies

Cultural History of Childhood and Family  Reference HA 503 .C85 2010 v. 4,5,6

V. 4-6 cover Age of Enlightenment, Age of Empire, and Modern Age.  Each volume has topical essays by individual scholars.  There is an extensive bibliography at the end of each volume, also indexes.

Daily Life of Women: an Encyclopedia from Ancient Times to the Present  Reference HQ 9 .D324 2021 v. 3

Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society Reference HQ 767.84 .E53 2004 v. 1-3

Alphabetical arrangement of topical articles, signed by scholars, with further reading references.  See p. xvii in v. 1 for a list of the articles in the work.  Index and a selection of primary source documents in v. 3.

Encyclopedia of Women and Gender Reference HQ 1115 .E52 2001 v. 1-2

Sex similarities and differences and the impact of society on gender.

Encyclopedia of Women's Autobiography Reference HQ 1185 .E63 2005 v. 1-2

Gay and Lesbian Biography  HQ 85.2 .G39 1996

Gay Histories and Cultures: an Encyclopedia Reference HQ 75.13 .G37 2000

Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship and Sexuality through History Reference HQ 21 .G67125 2008 v. 2

International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities Reference HQ 1090 .I58 2007

Topical articles, including History, Europe, Early Modern to 1917; History, Industrialization; History, Modernity; History, Western

Lesbian Histories and Cultures: an Encyclopedia  Reference HQ 75.5 .L4395 2000

Oxford Encyclopedia of LGBT Politics and Policy  Reference HQ 73.7 .O94 2021 v. 1-3

Has essays on LGBTQ+ issues in Europe.

Oxford Handbook of Transnational Feminist Movements

Useful for background information on Europe in a more global context, including intersections between race, class and imperialism.

Routledge Handbook of Gender and EU Politics

Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women Global Women's Issues and Knowledge Reference HQ 1115 .R69 2000 v. 1-4

Maybe only v. 1 is online?

Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History Reference HA 75.2 .W46 2001

From WWII to present.

Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History Reference HQ 75.2 .W47 2001

From antiquity to WWII.

Women in World History, a Biographical Encyclopedia  Reference HQ 1115 .W66 1999 v. 1-17

Alphabetical arrangement with index in v. 17.  Covers both living and deceased women.  Entries vary in length.  Has further reading references.  Probably the most extensive biographical encyclopedia on world's women.




Reader's Guide to British History Reference DA 34 .R43 2003 v. 1-2

Lengthy articles with further reading lists at beginning of entries.  Various interesting articles on childbirth, childhood, gender and power, women and employment, women's education, women's legal status, women's movements, women's roles and authority, women's suffrage movement, Fawcett, Pankhursts.

Encyclopedia of the Victorian Era Reference DA 550 .E527 2004 v. 1-4

Historical Dictionary of Ireland (and Northern Ireland) Main DA 910 .T39 2014

Oxford Companion to British History Main DA 34 .O93 2015

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Best place for scholarly biographical articles on famous, dead, English people.  This edition has more entries for women subjects than older editions.




Biographical Dictionary of French Political Leaders Since 1870 Reference DC 342 .B56 1990

We have many other French biography reference sources, in French.  You could try scanning entries for people of interest and then copy/paste them into Google Translate to obtain a rough translation.

Cambridge Companion to Modern French Culture Main DC 33.7 .K27 2003

Columbia History of Twentieth Century French Thought Reference DC 33.7 .C575 2006

French Culture 1900-1975 Main DC 33.7 .F726 1995

Modern France Main DC 38 .L478 2022

See chapter 7 Gender, Sexuality, Marriage, and Family, a survey of these topics re France with a bibliography at the end.  Useful for identifying names of important people, names of organizations, events, concepts.

For suggestions of subject dictionaries and encyclopedias on other parts of Europe, use the information in the Contact the Librarians section of this guide to get in touch with the librarians responsible for those areas.