Pacific Northwest Film Premiere and Panel Discussion Exploring Feminism, Women’s and LGBTQ+ Rights
Western Washington University in partnership with CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival will host “‘Love Letters’: A Film Screening and Conversation with Catharine R. Stimpson, Elizabeth Wood, and Greta Schiller,” in celebration of International Women’s Day, on Friday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the WWU Performing Arts Center Mainstage.
The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited with advanced registration and tickets required. Ticketing via the WWU PAC Box Office will be open from Monday, January 22, 2024, until the venue reaches capacity.
“Love Letters” follows the remarkable love story of professor and feminist scholar Catharine R. Stimpson and musicologist Elizabeth Wood, and includes the story of Wood’s landmark 1970s legal victory in Australia to gain custody of her children. Both women, now in their 80s, recall a time when the desire to live authentically and openly, and to love unapologetically, was itself a radical act. Wood and Stimpson are motivated to tell their story now, as once again a younger generation rises to battle the forces of the patriarchy that seek to suppress their fundamental human rights. The screening will be followed by a moderated panel discussion featuring both the main subjects of the film, Stimpson and Wood, and the award-winning film director and producer Greta Schiller.
Stimpson is a pioneer in the study of women and gender, a founder of feminist criticism, the first director of the Barnard Women’s Center, founding editor of "Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society" (University of Chicago Press), and a former professor and dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for Graduate Education at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
She has authored, edited, or co-authored myriad works, including the novel "Class Notes," and the selection of scholarly essays "Where the Meanings Are: Feminism and Cultural Spaces." She has served as the chair of the New York State Council for the Humanities and the National Council for Research on Women, the director of the Fellows Program at the MacArthur Foundation, and as the president of the Modern Language Association. She is currently dean emerita and professor emerita at New York University and co-chair of the National Advisory Council of Creative Capital. Born in Bellingham, Stimpson has honored Western Washington University with the decision to donate her archival papers to Western Libraries Archives & Special Collections.
Wood is one of the founders of new directions in modern musicology, and also a writer and novelist. An Australian by birth, Wood is the author of a 2-volume history of Australian opera, and a series of award-winning critical studies of Ethel Smyth, the British composer, writer, conductor, and suffragette. Wood also co-edited the path-breaking collection "Queering the Pitch: The New Lesbian and Gay Musicology," and she co-authored the article on lesbian and gay music for the New Grove Dictionary of Music. Wood currently chairs the advisory board of HUB, a musicology and ethnomusicology research center at the Elder Conservatorium of Music and University of Adelaide, South Australia, where an international research fellowship in musicology has been established in her name.
Schiller is the co-founder of Jezebel Productions, a nonprofit women’s production company, and her films have screened at the most prestigious international film festivals over the last 35 years. Her work brings histories of marginalized groups into the cultural narrative, including the Emmy Award-winning "Before Stonewall." She is a recipient of the Townsend Harris Medal, and also has the rare distinction of being awarded two Fulbright Fellowships, in addition to being in the Communications Alumni Hall of Fame.
The panel conversation will be moderated by Audrey Sager, who founded the New York City law firm of Sager Gellerman Eisner and whose practice focused on matrimonial law. Sager is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and was a vice president of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York. She is also president of the Board of CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival.
This event is sponsored by Western Libraries Archives & Special Collections; CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival; the Western Foundation; WWU’s Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and LGBTQ+ Western, and is intended for all participants, including those with apparent or non-apparent disabilities. For more information or for disability accommodation(s) (such as ASL interpretation, etc.) please contact Center for Pacific Northwest Studies Archivist Ruth Steele, at Ruth.Steele@wwu.edu or (360) 650-7747. Advanced notice is appreciated and sometimes necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.
[Image caption/credit information: Elizabeth Wood, left, and Catharine R. Stimpson, right, at the West Side Highway docks in New York City, 1977. Photo by Martha Nelson, courtesy of Elizabeth Wood.]