Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Volume 3, Issue 2
spring 2013
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Craig Canfield
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

PhotoLGBT Studies Chair’s Letter

This past month, the US Supreme Court has been hearing oral arguments in two cases crucial to the future of same-sex marriage in this country. Yale LGBT Studies takes great pride in that George Chauncey, who is the Samuel Knight Professor of History and currently chair of that department, was extended a special invitation to attend the oral arguments in the United States v. Windsor (DOMA) case. George's 2005 book, Why Marriage: The History Shaping Today's Debate Over Gay Equality, and his countless hours as adviser to the attorneys in these cases and as expert witness in hearings all across the country has provided crucial information about the historical context of this debate and has helped to reframe the discussion. Yale is very fortunate indeed to have George, and many other faculty members in LGBT Studies, whose academic expertise influences policymakers and shapes public opinion, even as they keep their primary focus on teaching and research.

Among the screenings, performances, panels, and talks this spring relating to LGBT Studies, two especially stand out. One is the showing of How to Survive A Plague, David France's Academy Award-nominated documentary about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. David France, Peter Staley, Gregg Gonsalves, and Garance Frank-Ruta attended the screening and answered questions from the packed auditorium of community members, students of film and public health, and people interested in protest and social change movements. A number of the notable early activists interviewed in the film are Yale alumni or Yale affiliates.

The visit of writer Richard Kramer '74 had to be postponed from fall to spring terms, but it was worth the wait to hear him read aloud from his witty and poignant new novel, These Things Happen (2012) and to hear him answer questions from students and faculty in the area of creative writing and LGBT Studies. This was Richard's first visit to Yale campus since his graduation, but we are hoping that he will come again, and we also hope that other writers and artist of our stories come too.

Looking forward to the next year, we are very excited to announce that Cherríe L. Moraga – playwright, poet, essayist, critic, teacher, and Artist in Residence in the Department of Drama at Stanford University, with a joint appointment in Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity – has accepted our invitation to serve as the next recipient of the James Robert Brudner '83 Memorial Prize. She will be on campus in September 2013 to meet informally with groups of students and faculty and to deliver a public lecture. Details will be announced over the summer. We are thrilled that Cherríe Moraga will be here to discuss her artistry and her involvement in community organizing, a combination that was also characteristic of the late James R. Brudner, for whom the prize is named. We hope that any of you who can be in New Haven in September will take this rare opportunity to hear her in person on the East Coast.

Next year we will also have the pleasure of hosting Nessette Falu, a graduate student in Anthropology at Rice University, as the next Sarah Pettit '88 Pre-Doctoral Fellow in Lesbian Studies. Nessette Falu's work focuses on comparative work between US and Brazilian lesbian lives, especially studying the formation of networks and enclaves among self-identified black lesbians in both nations and the ways in which these women interact with and shape the practices of medicine, arts, and religion in their societies. Her appointment helps both LGBT Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies to extend our scope and increase our focus on the Global South. This dissertation fellowship is given in memory of Sarah Pettit '88 by her family and many admirers. She had been co-founder and editor-in-chief of OUT magazine and, at the time of her death, senior editor for Arts and Entertainment at Newsweek. She also served on the board of the Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project in NYC.

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