Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Volume 6, Issue 1
fall 2015
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Moe Gardner
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

WGSS Faculty News

Fall 2015 has been a semester of departures and arrivals.

  • Karen Nakamura, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair of LGBTS for two years, a vital, indeed indispensable member of the WGSS community, leaves Yale at the end of this term.  A pioneer in developing queer ethnography and the uses of visual media in ethnography, she has introduced anthropological approaches to sexuality and gender to new generations of Yale students.  Her current initiative, in queer disability studies, takes her to the University of California at Berkeley, where she will become the inaugural Robert and Colleen Haas Distinguished Chair in Disability Studies as well as Professor of Anthropology.  She has served the Yale WGSS/LGBTS community as an extraordinary, inspirational leader. Click here for the article about her in the Yale Daily News.

  • Joseph Fischel, Assistant Professor of WGSS, is away this year on a Morse fellowship to write his second book.  An outstanding teacher and DUS, he was recently awarded a Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching (click here for more about the award).  We miss him very much but look forward to his return; he has been replaced as DUS this year by former WGSS Chair Professor Inderpal Grewal.

  • Jafari Allen, Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies, has brought fierce intellectual acuity to the position of DGS since 2014, fostering the work of graduate students in the Certificate program and teaching the inaugural WGSS Certificate Workshop (WGSS 900).  When he leaves Yale at the end of this semester, for the University of Florida at Miami, we will very much miss his unique contributions to WGSS as well as his powerful leadership on issues of racism on campus.  Professor Jill Campbell will replace him as DGS in the spring.

  • Elizabeth Alexander, Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of African American Studies and Professor of American Studies and of English, also the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry, distinguished poet and author most recently of The Light of the World, leaves Yale for Columbia University at the end of this term; with her departure WGSS loses a longtime friend and ally and former member of the Council.

  • Geetanjali Chanda, Senior Lecturer in WGSS, is on research leave this semester; we look forward to her return in January to teach her indispensable courses on women’s life stories from around the world and on popular culture in South Asia.

  • Graeme Reid, Lecturer in WGSS, has returned this year – while continuing to serve as director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch in New York – to teach two WGSS courses in the fields of transnational and sexuality studies.  From 2007-2011 he taught LGBT courses as Lecturer at Yale, and we are very grateful to have him back again.

  • Anusha Alles, a fourth-year PhD student in WGSS, English, and African American Studies, and a past convener of the Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Colloquium, is teaching the core course WGSS 205, “Bodies and Pleasures, Sex and Genders” this fall; WGSS is fortunate to have this emerging scholar join the teaching staff.

  • T. L. Cowan is visiting this year from The New School as the Bicentennial Visiting Lecturer in Canadian Studies at the MacMillan Center and as a Digital Humanities Fellow; she is collaborating in ongoing WGSS Digital Humanities projects and will teach two courses for WGSS in the spring on transgender cultural production and on performance, performativity, and political activism.

  • Joe Gordon, Deputy Dean of Yale College and Dean of Undergraduate Education, retires in January after decades of generous service to Yale students and faculty; he chaired LGBTS in 2012-13 and has been a longtime friend and astute advisor to WGSS and LGBTS.

I also note with sadness and at the same time with gratitude the recent passing of two individuals who were crucial to WGSS in earlier years: 

  • Elga Wasserman (1924-2014) served as Special Assistant to President Brewster during Yale’s transition to coeducation, 1969-72.  In 1995 her friends and family established in her honor the Elga Wasserman Prize, which was redefined in 2015 as the Elga Wasserman Award, given to a senior for commitment to the advancement of social justice and gender equality at Yale College.  Click here to see Elga’s obituary.

  • Harold (Hal) Scheffler (1932-2015) served on the Women’s Studies Council from its inception in 1981 and remained an active and loyal member of the council throughout his tenure. Please click here to see Professor Bill Kelly’s obituary of Hal.
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