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

James Robert Brudner '83 Memorial Prize and Lecture:
Susan D. Stryker

by Abigail Moore '16

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My first exposure to Susan Stryker’s amazing work was in Margaret Homan’s Sexuality and Fiction class where we read “My Words to Victor Frankenstein About the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage.”  Our entire class was mesmerized by Stryker’s incredible ability to weave fiction, theory, and personal experience into an essay that is as poignant and filled with fresh insights the third time one reads it as it was the first.  The work is still relevant and resonating, so of course, Stryker’s visit to Yale as this year’s distinguished recipient of the 2015 James Robert Brudner ’83 Memorial Prize was anticipated by many of the students who had so passionately studied her previous writings.  At Yale, she spoke to a completely full house—Sudler Hall was reduced to standing room only and many students crowded onto the stairs to hear her speak.  Her talk, titled “Trans (in my) Life” was every bit as thought-provoking, intricate, and inspiring as her written work had suggested.  Stryker spoke about her journey from philosophy student, to sex-worker, to activist, filmmaker, author and scholar. She is now a Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona, and directs the Institute for LGBT Studies there, which she helped to create. It is, she said, the only institute of its kind. Many undergraduate students attended the lecture, and their engaging questions for her spoke to the atmosphere of passion and activism that embodies much of the current Yale population (at least in our WGSS and LGBTS circles!).  The following evening Professor Stryker delivered the same lecture at the Club Quarters in New York, to an audience that included friends and alumni of Yale WGSS and LGBTS, as well as friends of Stryker’s who invited students form their women’s studies classes at Sarah Lawrence College.  The chatter over food before the lecture was lively and engaging, and Stryker’s talk was well-received.  As I took the train home from the city after the event, I considered, for what seems like the thousandth time this semester alone, just how inspiring it is to be a part of a department filled with incredible people, ideas, and events like the Brudner Prize and Lectures.  Work like Stryker’s is a powerful call to action that enlivens all those who encounter it.

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