Ten Questions

{This month features President of Sarah Lawrence College, Karen Lawrence.  A noted scholar of James Joyce, holding a B.A. from Yale University, a Master of Arts in English Literature from Tufts University, and a Ph.D. in literature from Columbia University, she has been at Sarah Lawrence since 2007.}

Describe yourself in one word:        

Short

To date, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?    

Professionally– securing funding for and establishing the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine, and recruiting the Kenyan writer, Ngugi wa Thiong’o to direct it.   Personally–Andrew and Jeffrey Lawrence.

What or whom has been your greatest source of inspiration?

Many people have inspired me.  If I had to name one person, it would probably be Bobby Kennedy.

What quality in others do you find the most admirable? 

Courage

What quality in others do you find the most deplorable? 

 The inability to empathize.

What are your three favorite texts? 

Middlemarch, Ulysses, “Sailing to Byzantium”

If you could spend one day in history, when and where would it be?

 June 16, 1904.  I’ll let you guess why.

Finish the thought:  “Feminism is . . .”  

still necessary.

 

What is something about you others would be surprised to know?  

I enjoy kickboxing.

 

What are your words to live by?  

 “Try to be someone on whom nothing is lost” Henry James

 

Ten Questions

{This month features Carolyn Miles, the Director of Physical Education and Athletics at Sarah Lawrence College. In addition to being an avid rower, swimmer, and skier–as well as a native New Yorker–she earned her Master’s of Science degree in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University in 2006.}

Describe yourself in one word.

Determined.

 To date, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

My son who will be turning 4 next month.

What or whom has been your greatest source of inspiration?

 All the other female athletic directors out there, not only are they my inspiration but my mentors and friends.

 What quality in others do you find the most admirable?

 Hard working.

What quality in others do you find the most deplorable?

Disloyalty.

What is your favorite text?

This Organic Life by Joan Dye Gussow.  She was one of my professors and her work still inspires me today.

 If you could spend one day in history, when and where would it be?

 March 3, 1976 when the Yale women’s rowing team marched into the Athletic Directors office protesting the lack of adequate facilities.  The story made national headlines and was chronicled later in one of my favorite movies A Hero for Daisy.

 Finish the thought: “Feminism is . . .?”

constantly advocating for equality for women.

 What is something about you others would be surprised to know?

I really love to read British romance novels.  It is my guilty pleasure at the end of a hard day.

 What are your words to live by?

 If you work hard you can have it all; you just need to learn to balance it.

{Thank you, again, to Carolyn Miles. xx}

Ten Questions with Caroline Biggs

{This month features Urban Theorist/Feminist/Fashion Socio-Historian Extraordinaire Elizabeth Wilson. Author of dozens of books and countless articles, she has earned quite the international following for her groundbreaking scholarship on fashion, urbanity, and modernity—and the lifelong devotion of at least one budding academic-fashionist. <3}

Describe yourself in one word.

Energetic

 To date, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Bringing up a daughter. 

What or whom has been your greatest source of inspiration?

My partner.

What quality in others do you find the most admirable?

Kindness. 

What quality in others do you find the most deplorable?

Spiritual Meanness

What are your three favorite texts?

Marcel Proust, A La Recherche du Temps Perdu

Walter Benjamin,  Arcades Project

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights 

If you could spend one day in history, when and where would it be?

A day during the Russian Revolution

Finish the thought: “Feminism is . . .”

The recognition that men and women are equal.  [Discussion of presumed innate or learned psychological and other differences is irrelevant to this truth].

What is something about you others would be surprised to know?

In lots of ways I am quite conservative.

 What are your words to live by?

The stiff upper lip is much underrated.

 

{Endless thanks and admiration for Elizabeth Wilson. xx}

{Photo courtesy of The Idea Store.}

Ten Questions with Caroline Biggs

{This month features pioneering attorney and politician, Sissy Farenthold.  The first official female Vice-Presidential Candidate for the United States and notably included on President Nixon’s Enemies List—Ms. Farenthold is a renowned feminist-icon, educator, and heroine of the Second Wave Movement. }

  1. Describe yourself in one word.

Remote.

  1. To date, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Surviving.

  1. What or whom has been your greatest source of inspiration?

Pain. 

  1. What quality in others do you find the most admirable?

Forgiveness.

  1. What quality in others do you find the most deplorable?

Unwillingness to forgive.

  1. What is your favorite text?

Cry, the Beloved Country [by Alan Paton].

  1. If you could spend one day in history, when and where would it be?

. . . with Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

  1. Finish the thought: “Feminism is . . .”

Equality.

  1. What is something about you others would be surprised to know?

Suppressed gaiety.

  1.  What are your words to live by?

Hope.

{photo courtesy of texaslegacy.org}

Ten Questions

{Inspired by Proust, I compiled a list of ten questions and sent them out to some of the most fascinating women I knew [or could hope to know]. Every month: their response. This month features the Directors of the renowned Women’s History Program at Sarah Lawrence College: Priscilla Murolo and Rona Holub}

Ten Questions with Priscilla Murolo

1. Describe yourself in one word.

Straightforward.

2. To date, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment? 

Finishing college (at Sarah Lawrence) with two children and a full-time job.

3. What or whom has been your greatest source of inspiration?

The people I’ve met through the labor movement.

4. What quality in others do you find the most admirable?

Perseverance.

5. What quality in others do you find the most deplorable?

Self-absorption.

6. What are your three favorite texts?

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; John Dos Passos, USA; Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

7. If you could spend one day in history, when and where would it be?

Appomattox, Virginia, April 9, 1965, to witness the Confederate surrender.

8. Finish the thought: “Feminism is . . .”

Feminism in as diverse as women themselves.  We define ourselves, our needs and our rights in many different ways.

9. What is something about you others would be surprised to know?

I know how to use firearms.

10. What are your words to live by?

Thank you.  (Life has brought me so many good things that I’m grateful each and every day, even when I’m in a bad mood.)

{Priscilla Murolo is the co-director of the Women’s History Program at SLC, author of From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: A Short, Illustrated History of Labor in the United States and a hero to many.}

Ten Questions with Rona Holub

1. Describe yourself in one word.

Short.

2. To date, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?  

Staying alive, relatively sane, and decent in a really screwed up yet strangely beautiful world or getting my PhD from Columbia and staying alive, relatively sane and decent in a really screwed up yet strangely beautiful world (tough question).

3. What or whom has been your greatest source of inspiration?

My mother.

4. What quality in others do you find the most admirable?

Open-mindedness and ability to change attitudes and beliefs for the better.

5. What quality in others do you find the most deplorable?

Demonization of goodness: greediness, meanness, lack of kindness and generosity.

6. What are your three favorite texts?

U.S. Constitution; Vanity Fair; City of Women [Christine Stansell].

7. If you could spend one day in history, when and where would it be?

In the audience at the 1851 Ohio Women’s Rights Conference in Akron listening to Sojourner Truth (can’t think of any other reason to be in Ohio).

8. Finish the thought: “Feminism is . . .”

the belief in (and activism that promotes) Civil and Human Rights for all women to the benefit of all humankind

9. What is something about you others would be surprised to know?

I like 1940s World War II Movies.

10. What are your words to live by?

“… we are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.”  (Mark Vonnegut in answer to his father’s question on what life is all about.  This seems to make good sense to me, so I’ve taken it as my words to live by).

{Rona Holub is the co-director of the Women’s History Program at SLC, currently finishing her book on historical women and crime, and a New Yorker in every sense of the phrase.}

xx-Caroline