A Note from the Board Chair

This has been a difficult, yet especially productive year for CLAGS. As most of you know, Jill Dolan stepped into Marty Duberman’s shoes, becoming our first new Executive Director since the founding of the organization seven years ago. And while we all miss Marty, Jill has accomplished a daunting task brilliantly. This transition has allowed us to reevaluate CLAGS’s role both in the academy and in the gay and lesbian community at large. We’ve been rethinking who we are and what we do, a discussion that, for any healthy organization, continually reemerges-especially during times of change. We found that our conversations echoed issues also being discussed by the larger lesbian and gay activist and academic communities, and by participants and audience members at many of our conferences and colloquia. Here are some of the questions we’ve been asking ourselves, questions that we hope you’ll debate with us: Why are we a center for “Lesbian and Gay Studies,” and not a center for “Queer Studies”? What does it mean when we include in our mission statement the words “bisexual,” “transgendered,” and “transsexual”? What space do we occupy in the academy? How does the work we do benefit the communities in which we live? Should we continue to push CUNY to grant a graduate certificate or degree in Lesbian and Gay Studies, given our limited resources, or should we focus exclusively on remaining a research center? While none of these questions is especially new, they are far from resolved. Part of CLAGS’s mission is to sponsor events that provoke these discussions, creating venues where differing viewpoints can be aired. We continue to grow, sponsoring more conferences, lectures, and events this past year than ever before. Crossing Borders brought together Latina/a scholars and activists; Forms of Desire, conceived and organized by graduate students, presented work from young scholars who often don’t have such spaces available to discuss their ideas; Relatively Speaking looked at how we define and construct families; our annual Kessler Lecture series continued with a superbly stimulating talk given by acclaimed lesbian anthropologist Esther Newton. CLAGS also ccrsponsored numerous events around New York City with other lesbian and gay organizations, and introduced a number of provocative works-in-progress through our colloquia series. All in all, it has been a busy year. But our limited resources have been pulling the organization in too many directions. We often find that our ambitions exceed our human and financial resources, and have spent much of this year putting strategies in place that will help us maintain the level of excellence we bring to our programming. This regrouping will continue as we refine our mission statement andre-imagine the vision that will carry the organization into the next millennium. Please join us in tackling the hurdles to come, and in reaping the benefits of these labors.