News’ View shows lack of understanding of WGSS Program

To the Editor:

Today’s editorial (“Broadening LKI focus a worthwhile initiative” 11/10), which suggests that the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies should not be housed in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program because LKI’s attention should extend well beyond theories of sexuality, shows a lack of understanding of the history and the present composition of WGSS at Yale.

Historically, lesbian and gay studies has grown out of women’s studies programs, nationally and internationally. Indeed, women’s studies programs were originally founded by many lesbian academics, among others. A quick look at the list of courses offered by Yale’s WGSS programs shows that in addition to theories of sexuality, women’s studies here has always been interdisciplinary, offering courses based in sociology, history, psychology, American studies, African American studies, anthropology, history of art, classical civilizations, history of medicine, religious studies, architecture, Near Eastern studies, and on and on. One of the reasons the name of the WGSS program was changed to include sexuality is that a large number of our interdisciplinary, cross-listed and double-listed courses include lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender content, and that reality is now more evident through the name change, as well as the addition of courses offered by visiting faculty brought here by the Larry Kramer Initiative.

I agree that Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale should be more independent. To that end, I suggest that the University fully fund such a program, so that queer studies here is not dependent on recalcitrant donors.

Linda L. Anderson

Nov. 10, 2004

The writer is the senior administrative assistant for the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.

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