Coming Home

Anne MacKay '49
Wednesday, April 13
5:30pm, Villard Room
Reception to follow in the Gold Parlor

"For many lesbians and some gay men, Vassar was a lovely home that would not accept our difference. Fortunately times change. WOLF GIRLS AT VASSAR: LESBIAN AND GAY EXPERIENCES, 1930-1990 (1992) and our Lesbian & Gay conference for LAGAVC that same year provided a first, and wonderful homecoming." In addition to WOLF GIRLS AT VASSAR, Anne MacKay has edited SHE WENT A-WHALING: THE JOURNAL OF MARTHA SMITH BREWER BROWN (1993) and written several books of poetry, including FIELD NOTES OF A LESBIAN NATURALIST (2009). She will speak on Vassar's rich lesbian and gay history.

Carl and Libbie and Bert and Ida: Re-defining Family

Robert Pounder, Professor Emeritus of Classics
Thursday, March 31
5:30 Villard Room
Reception to follow in the Gold Parlor

Long before the current national discussion over gay marriage, Vassar faculty and alumnae were redefining marriage, partnership, and the family in unexpectedly rich and radical ways. In a world where gay and lesbian history has often been lost or even consciously erased, it is especially important to recover LGBTQI narratives and personal histories; and Vassar College as a leading progressive institution in the early 20th century often provided an origin or home to lesbian academics, both faculty and students. One of these narratives continues to have a presence on campus even today – in the Blegen House, up until recently the home for the LGBTQ Center, and in the Blegen Fellow, housed yearly in the Greek and Roman Studies Department.

Drawing on deeply engaging personal letters and journals, Robert Pounder, Emeritus Professor of Classics, will speak on his fascinating research into the lives of four of the most important Americans working in Greek Archaeology in the early 20th century. The two women were Vassar alumnae: Ida Thallon Hill (VC 1897) and Elizabeth Pierce Blegen (VC 1910). Their marriages to Bert Hodge Hill and Carl Blegen, respectively, created a menage that solved difficult personal problems even as it affirmed an abiding love. The marriages brought into being an unconventional yet strong family that endured for the rest of their lives.

Professor Pounder's talk is part of a series in honor of the Sesquicentennial celebrating Vassar's LGBTQI history, sponsored by the Women's Studies Program, the Department of English, the Department of Greek and Roman Studies, and the Department of History, with support from the C. Mildred Thompson Fund, Campus Life LGBTQ Programs, Act Out!, QCVC, TransMission, and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.

Unhitched: Love, Marriage, and Family from West Hollywood to Western China

Wednesday March 23rd, 5:00pm, Taylor Hall 203

A leading expert on the family, Judith Stacey is known for her provocative research on mainstream issues. Finding herself impatient with increasingly calcified positions taken in the interminable wars over same-sex marriage, divorce, fatherlessness, marital fidelity, and the like, she struck out to profile unfamiliar cultures of contemporary love, marriage, and family values from around the world. Built on over a decade of bracing original research that spans gay men’s intimacies and parenting in this country to plural and non-marital forms of family in South Africa and China, Unhitched decouples the taken for granted relationships between love, marriage, and parenthood. Countering the one-size-fits-all vision of family values, Stacey offers readers a lively, in-person introduction to these less familiar varieties of intimacy and family and to the social, political, and economic conditions that buttress and batter them.

Judith Stacey, is Professor of Sociology, and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University

Sponsored by Campus Life LGBTQ Programs, the departments of Anthropology and Sociology, and the Women’s Studies program