Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Volume 5, Issue 1
fall 2014
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Moe Gardner
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

James Robert Brudner '83 Memorial Prize and Lecture: Richard Dyer

by Abigail Moore '16


For the past 14 years, one of the hallmarks of fall in the LGBTS program has been the James Robert Brudner ’83 Memorial Prize and Lecture.  Given annually in memory of James Robert Brudner, prominent AIDS activist, urban planner, journalist, and photographer, the prize is awarded to academics who have made incredible contributions of scholarship and activism in the field of gay and lesbian history and contemporary experience.  Previous recipients include – among others –  Judith Butler, Cherríe Moraga, and our own George Chauncey.   

This year, we were honored to welcome Richard Dyer as the recipient of the prize.  Professor Dyer is a film theorist particularly interested in the aesthetics of entertainment with a concern with social representation.  He currently teaches Film at King’s College, London, but his previous position at Warwick University made him the first full professor of Film Studies in the United Kingdom.  Most of his work centers around the presentation and implications of gay and lesbian characters and themes in film, and his two lectures for Yale audiences this year centered around music and its “gayness.”

The first of his lectures, held in Sudler Hall on September 10, was titled The Sissiness of Music in "Rope" and "Tea & Sympathy."  The event was attended by students and faculty alike, as well as scholars from outside the Yale community who were excited to hear this brilliant speaker.  One of the true joys of being a student in the WGSS/LGBTS program at Yale is the opportunity to interact with such a variety of incredible minds, and following his speech, Professor Dyer spent a great amount of time entertaining questions from the audience and engaging with the community on the topic of his speech with wit and personality that rendered him both approachable and intensely clever.  Audience members continued to engage with him on a personal level following the speech over drinks and treats at the reception, which was attended primarily by faculty and graduate students.

The next night, Professor Dyer, his partner, and a collection of Yale professors gathered again for his second speech, this time in New York.  Attended by out-of-town supporters and friends of LGBTS at Yale, the speech was titled “The Angel’s Song: Nino Rota, Music and Film.”  The atmosphere was intimate, jovial, and intensely smart, and he once again had his audience laughing uproariously at the film clips he showed and captivated by the thoughtfulness of his insights. 

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