Welcome from the Director

“There are two ways to worry words. One is hoping for the greatest possible beauty in what is created. The other is to tell the truth.” -June Jordan


Welcome back? The truth is many of us are nervous about the whole concept of “coming back.” What are we coming back to? Can we ever really “come back?” I don’t know the answer to these questions, but they trouble my mind, as they do many of us. Maybe all we can do is live with this truth and keep trying. So let me begin by talking about what I do know.

One thing I do know for sure is that I am so appreciative of being the director of the Center for the Study of Women and Society (CSWS) because I get to work with amazing people. That assuages my nervousness and uncertainty. Therefore, let me say Thank You to all of our students, faculty, and staff who have held up over the past year. COVID-19 and the beginning of 2021 forced us all to move in the world so differently—often with fear and trepidation. But we also moved in the world with purpose, and in many instances with aplomb. I am so grateful to all our cross-appointed faculty, several of whose outstanding achievements are described on page 11 of the Fall 2021 Newsletter. Through your scholarship, mentoring, and service you enrich our program beyond measure.

Of course, the Center’s success rests, quite frankly, on the dedication of the staff. Eileen Liang, Jennifer Bae, and Work Study students, Alexandra Johnson and Neyshka Diaz created an amazing cocoon of joy during a stressful year. I thank each of you for your commitment and creativity.

Despite the isolation, students and faculty managed to stay connected through our virtual drop-in days and because of MA student Jennifer Rossberg’s amazing energy. Jenny came up with the idea of monthly virtual mixers that allowed faculty and students to get to know each other and have some fun.

Because we were conscripted to a virtual environment, we were unable to have an in-person graduation. Nonetheless, we celebrated the successes of Margarita Artoglou, Jozette Belmont, Isatou Bittaye-Jobe, Alexandra Johnson, JuWon Jun, Ashleigh K. Williams, and Jyun-Jie Yang. In honor of their graduation, we were fortunate enough to hear a wonderful motivating message by acclaimed author, Jacqueline Woodson. Check it out here: https://bit.ly/JWoodsonMessage2021.

As we enter the Fall 2021 semester, we are delighted to welcome the incoming cohort of WGS students! Get to know more about them on page 13. And, do join us as we continue to bring you exciting public programming that includes Sarah Schulman, acclaimed author of Let the Record Show: A Political History of Act Up, NY 1987-1993, and MacArthur winner, Mary L. Gray, among others.

Thank you all. As we continue to live during uncertain times, let’s remember to tell our truth and hold each other close.

Dána-Ain Davis
Center for the Study of Women and Society
M.A. Program in Women’s and Gender Studies
Women’s Studies Certificate Program
The Graduate Center, CUNY

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