Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Volume 4, Issue 2
spring 2014
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Craig Canfield
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

WGSS Colloquium and Working Group

by Andrew E. Dowe and Heather Vermeulen

Chandra Prasad

After the most recent WGSS Graduate Colloquium, Professor Jill Campbell remarked upon how regularly presentations by scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds and with different methodologies and topics unexpectedly jell in our sessions. Much like interdisciplinary scholarship, planning and executing sessions meant to bring scholars from across campus into conversation requires a heightened appreciation of variables. Bringing individuals together in WLH 309, however, is very different from creating the interdisciplinary community that so many find in the WGSS Colloquium and Working Group—a community forged through the labors of its most enriching and dependable constant: Jill, our Director of Graduate Studies.

What it means to be an interdisciplinary scholar has been a frequent topic of formal and informal discussion in our sessions over the years. While Jill’s support is most immediately and ostensibly obvious in her physical presence at every graduate student event, it is her thoughtful engagement with our scholarship that is most meaningful. Her profoundly interdisciplinary practice enables her to think across different subjects and methodologies to bring diverse student and faculty projects into dialogue, serving as a model of the spirit of intellectual inquiry that WGSS seeks to inspire. Her enthusiasm for graduate student and faculty work is evident in the spirit of curiosity and delight that she brings to events and in the conversations that she often carries on with those of us who linger together after seven o’clock arrives. It is evident in her considered, generative questions and comments and in her words of encouragement, in the import that she sees in our work and in her insistence that we see it, too.

As an advisor to the Working Group and Colloquium graduate student conveners, Jill always has been there when we wanted to try something new, excited for each direction that we proposed and eager to offer any assistance that she could provide. To strengthen the intellectual community among graduate students in WGSS, Jill developed a Qualification Workshop (WGSS 900) in which she and the students gather to discuss foundational and path-breaking scholarship in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and to consider the possibilities and challenges of conducting interdisciplinary inquiries in the academy.  This course was also developed by Jill as part of her efforts to transition from a WGSS Qualification to a more robust and recognizable WGSS Graduate Certificate.  

Thank you, Jill, for this dynamic and beautiful space that you have fostered with such passion and care. Thank you for each thoughtful question, each encouraging remark, each cheerful greeting.

Andrew E. Dowe (AFAM/AMST/WGSS) and Heather Vermeulen (AFAM/AMST/WGSS) convene the WGSS Graduate Colloquium and the Working Group.

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