Maxwell alumna Phaedra Stewart ’91 finds it difficult to look at the world without seeing opportunities to connect with people, raise their spirits and empower them to make their lives better. A self-described serial entrepreneur (some might say a serial…
Nationally renowned feminist, writer and equality activist Minnie Bruce Pratt joins SU
Nationally renowned feminist, poet and equality activist Minnie Bruce Pratt has joined Syracuse University, with a joint appointment as a professor in the departments of writing and women’s studies.
Pratt has toured the country speaking at pride celebrations, political rallies, poetry readings, and lectures at colleges and universities about issues of sex, gender, race and violence. This semester, Pratt is teaching two courses at SU: “Nation, Sex, Sexuality: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Life in the US” in the women’s studies program, and “Narratives of Power” in the writing program.
“The faculty in the women’s studies program are thrilled to have Minnie Bruce Pratt joining us,” says Linda Martin Alcoff, the program’s director. “Her work has been required reading in women’s studies courses across the country for more than a decade, and her ability to speak to the issues of intersectional identities that combine race, sexuality, gender and class is critical to what our program is trying to achieve right now in our curriculum. She is a stellar university citizen as well, doing well more than her share of program building and committee work.”
Pratt has written five critically acclaimed books of poetry that are considered required reading for students of feminist and transgender studies: “The Sound of One Fork” (1981); “Crime Against Nature” (1990); “We Say We Love Each Other” (1992); “Walking Back Up Depot Street” (1999) and “The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems” (2003). She has also published a collection of autobiographical and political essays, “Rebellion: Essays 1980-1991” (1991) and abook of creative non-fiction, “S/HE” (2005). In 1992, “Rebellion: Essays 1980-1991” was a non-fiction finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards. “S/HE” was a non-fiction finalist for the 1995 American Library Association Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Book Award, and a finalist for the Firecracker Award in Non-Fiction. Pratt has also written on issues of race, co-authoring “Yours in Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives On Anti-Semitism and Racism” (1988) with Elly Bulkin and Barbara Smith.
“I’m so pleased to be here at SU and working with the University community to launch the wonderful new LGBT minor, which will enhance the school’s interdisciplinary and socially relevant offerings to students” says Pratt. “I’m especially enjoying my work with the SU students in my classes, who are thoughtful, serious and full of interesting questions.”
The courses in the proposed minor in lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender studies (LGBT) explore questions about representation, literature and film, cultural performance, space and place, policy and law, institutions, histories, politics and other areas. Interdisciplinary in nature, the minor will be of interest to LGBT and non-LGBT students concerned with fundamental questions about identity, community, difference and social change. Once approved, the minor will be embedded in an interdisciplinary program within The College of Arts and Sciences. The program will sponsor speakers, films, community seminars and more, and will provide mentoring links to faculty for students.
Born in Selma, Ala., in 1946, Pratt grew up in Alabama and attended a segregated high school. Her experience as a lesbian living in the South and witnessing acts of racism and inequality has inspired her views and writing. Pratt earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has taught at the University of Maryland-College Park and recently served as the Jane Watson Irwin Chair in Women’s Studies at Hamilton College.