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Audre Geraldine Lorde was the third child of Linda Belmar and Frederic Lorde born on February 18, 1943. Born Audrey, she dropped the "y" from her name while still a child, explaining in Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, that she was attracted to the symmetry of the "e" at the end of each name.  Influenced by her mother's love for words and storytelling, Lorde was drawn to poetry and language from a young age. Her schooling began at a Catholic grammar school where she experienced racism and hostility. It was during this time that Lorde first began to develop her literary voice; as a teen she was an active contributor to her school arts magazine and published her first poem in Seventeen magazine. Lorde attended Hunter College (1954-1959) studying Library Science and went on to earn a Master's degree in that subject from Columbia University in 1961. There she met Edwin Ashley Rollins, an attorney, whom she married in 1962. Lorde and Rollins wedding reception took place at Roosevelt House. The couple had two children, Elizabeth and Jonathan; they divorced in 1970. In 1968, Lorde was a writer in residence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi where she met Frances Clayton, a professor of psychology, who was her partner until 1989.

Mina Shaughnessy, former director of City College's SEEK Program (Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge) offered Lorde her first position at CUNY. From there, she went to John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 1970 where she fought to build a significant Black Studies program. In 1981, she accepted the Distinguished Thomas Hunter Chair offered by Donna Shalala, then Hunter College's president, where she taught until 1986. Lorde also taught in the Department of English; today an annual prize for undergraduate excellence in poetry and prose is named in her honor. Lorde was a mentor at the Audre Lorde Women's Poetry Center, housed at Roosevelt House in the 1980s-90s prior to its renovation.

In 1980, together with Barbara Smith and Cherrie Moraga, she co-founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press in order to call attention and make available work by women of color. As a prolific poet, talented teacher and artist, and well known activist, Lorde has been acclaimed as a central figure in the feminist movement. In 1991-92, Lorde was the State Poet of New York.

In the late 1970s, Lorde was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy; she died on November 17, 1992 ofliver cancer in St. Croix where she was living with Gloria Joseph. In her own words, she was a "black, lesbian, feminist, mother, warrior, poet"; Lorde's life and career was characterized by her hopeful efforts to establish a better humanity through her teaching, activism, poetry and prose.

This biography is compiled from a number of sources, from entries found at "e-notes",, and from Columbia University's Center for New Media Teaching and Learning as well as Clare Coss and Blanch Wiesen Cook's entry in Notable American Women. Special thanks to Thorn in the Department of English for providing some details about Lorde's time teaching at Hunter.



Daniel G. Simmonds, III


Area of Concentration Courses

Major After August 1, 2011



WGS 100                                                             INTRODUCTION TO GENDER AND SEXUALITY STUDIES

WGS 201                                                             CLASSICS IN FEMINIST THOUGHT

WGS 244                                                             TRANSNATIONAL FEMINISM

WGS 310                                                             RESEARCH SEMINAR: FEMINIST THEORY AND METHODOLOGY                                   



                              CROSS-LIST                         COURSE TITLE

WGST 200.60                                                       CONTEMPORARY FEMINIST THEORY

                              POLSC 209.00                       WOMEN AND GENDER IN WESTERN POLITICAL THOUGHT

                              PHILO 230.00                         FEMINISM-PHILOSOPHICAL THEORY

WGST 300.01                                                       MANHOOD AND THEORY

WGST 300.12                                                       CONTEMPORARY FEMINIST THEORY

                              POLSC 309.00                       FEMINIST POLITICAL THEORY (W)

                              POLSC 486.57                       BODY POLITICS: SEXUALITY AND REPRODUCTION



                              CROSS-LIST                         COURSE TITLE

WGSS 150.00                                                      INTRODUCTION TO LGBTQI STUDIES

                              PSYCH 170.00                       PSYCHOLOGY OF HUMAN SEXUALITY

                              PSYCH 190.00                       DEVELOPMENT OF GENDER ROLES

                              POLSC 217.13                       POLITICS OF LGBT RIGHTS

WGSS 200.05                                                      GENDER, SEXUALITY AND HISTORY

WGSS 200.06                                                      OUR BODIES, OUR POLITICS

WGSS 200.07                                                      GENDER, SEXUALITY, AND RELIGION

WGSS 200.11                                                      SEX WARS: PORN


WGSS 200.52                                                      INTRODUCTION TO LGBTQI STUDIES (LESBIAN, GAY BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, QUEER,                                                                                 QUESTIONING, AND INTERSEX)

WGSS 200.63                                                      SEXULAITY, GENDER AND SCIENCE

                              COMHE 204.00                      AIDS AND SOCIETY

                              SOC 257.00                           SEX AND GENDER ROLES 

WGSS 200.93                                                      BATHROOM POLITICS

WGSS 287.00                                                      MASCULINITIES

WGSS 300.02                                                      REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES

WGSS 300.27                                                      TRANSGENDER THEORY & POLITICS

                              NURS 351.00                         GENDER, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

WGSS 300.50                                                      DESIRING MUSLIMS: GENDER, ISLAM AND RIGHTS

WGSS 387.00                                                      QUEER THEORY



                              CROSS-LIST                         COURSE TITLE

WGSP 200.02                                                      WOMEN, GLOBALIZATION AND THE POLITICS OF FOOD

WGSP 200.03                                                      CURRENT TOPICS IN LGBT SOCIAL SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

WGSP 200.51                                                      GENDER, DISABILITY & EMBODIMENT

WGSP 200.57                                                      GENDER & HEALTH POLICY

WGSP 200.70                                                      PRISON, HUMAN RIGHTS & GENDER

WGSP 200.81                                                      WOMAN FOR PRESIDENT

                              POLSC 219.00                       WOMEN AND THE LAW

                              SOC 201.00                           SOCIOLOGY OF THE FAMILY

                              PSYCH 235.00                       PSYCHOLOGY OF WOMEN

                              SOC 239.00                           CHILD WELFARE (W)

                              HED 201.00                           WOMEN AND HEALTH

                              POLSC 218                            WOMEN IN POLITICS (W)

                              POLSC 280.00                       WOMEN, WAR AND PEACE 

                              COMHE 400.50/                     INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNITY ORGANIZING                                                 

                              POLSC 317.06/SOC 235/                                                                   

                              ANTHC303.50/URBS 403.95   

WGSP 300.82                                                      POLITICS OF REPRODUCTION

                              SOC 325.67                           WORK AND FAMILY             

WGSP 320.00                                                      INTERNSHIP SEMINAR

WGSP 398.00         SOC 225.58                           COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP SEMINAR

                              COMHE 400.08                      WOMEN, HEALTH AND SOCIETY

                              ANTHC 400.54                        ETHNICITY, GENDER AND DISEASE

                              SSW 702.13                           WOMEN AND SOCIAL WELFARE POLICY

                              COMHE 740                           COMMUNITY ORGANIZING FOR HEALTH

WGSP 490.00                                                      LEADERSHIP FIELD WORK



                              CROSS-LIST                         COURSE TITLE

WGSL 200.04                                                       GENDER AND HUMAN RIGHTS

WGSL 200.17                                                       GLOBALIZATION AND GENDER

WGSL 206.00                                                       GENDER AND IMMIGRATION

                              ENGL 329.56                          MIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION IN THE 20TH CENTURY

                              SOC 325.51                           WOMEN AND WORK

                              SOC 315                                WORK AND SOCIETY (W)                                   

                              AN-C 321                               WOMEN AND GLOBALIZATION

                              ECO 345.00                           WOMEN AND MEN IN THE LABOR FORCE



                              CROSS-LIST                         COURSE TITLE

                              RUSS 156                              IMPERIAL RUSSIAN CULTURE

                              CLA 240.70/ENGL 258.61        WOMEN IN ANCIENT GREECE

WGSC 200.01                                                      WRITINGS FROM DETENTION: REPRESSION, GENDER AND POLITICS

WGSC 200.03                                                      PRISON WRITING MEMOIRS

WGSC 200.06                                                      WOMEN IN ANCIENT MYTH

                              RUSS 256.12                         WOMEN IN RUSSIAN CULTURE

                              ASIAN 241.00                         ASIAN AMERICAN FAMILY

                              AFPRL 290.94                        GENDER DYNAMICS IN AFRICA

WGSC 200.83                                                      GENDER, ISLAM & RIGHTS IN SOUTH ASIAN & BANGLADESH

                              AFPRL 290.17                        LATINA WOMEN

                              AFPRL 290.32                        BLACK FEMINISM

                              ASIAN 390.06                         GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE

                              GEOG 383.89                         GEOGRAPHY AND GENDER

                              ANTHC 321.51                        WOMEN AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE CARIBBEAN

                              ANTHC 321.50                        FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD IN ANTHROPOLOGY AND HISTORY

                              ANTHC 301.00                        GENDER IN ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES (W)

                              CLA 305.00                            WOMEN AND SLAVES IN CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY (W)

                              AFPRL 318.00                        WOMEN IN AFRICA (W)

                              AFPRL 319.00                        WOMEN IN THE AFRICAN DIASPORA

                              ANTHC 426.62                        GENDER IN ARCHAEOLOGY



                              CROSS-LIST                         COURSE TITLE

                              FILM 215.00                           WOMEN AND FILM

                              ENGL 251.74                          AMERICAN WOMEN WRITERS: LATE 19TH C

WGSA 200.15                                                      GENDER, GLOBALIZATION AND THEATER

                              FREN 262.00                          PERSPECTIVES ON WOMEN IN FRENCH LITERATURE

                              ENGL 250.92                          BLACK WOMEN WRITERS

WGSA 200.72                                                      FEMINIST THEATER

                              ENGL 250.95                          AMERICAN WOMEN POETS

                              ASIAN 220.00                         TOPICS IN ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE

                              FILM 222.52                           THE WOMAN'S FILM

                              MUSHL 250.00                       WOMEN AND MUSIC IN WORLD CULTURES

                              ENGL 258.00                          TOPICS: LITERATURE BY WOMEN (W)

                              ENGL 258.50                          MUTICULTURAL WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 258.51                          CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 258.52                          SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN LITERATURE (W)

                              ENGL 258.53                          IRISH WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 258.55                          18TH CENTURY WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 258.57                          FEMINIST PERSPECTIVES IN LITERATURE (W)

                              ENGL 258.58                          CARIBBEAN WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 258.60                          CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 258.62                          18TH C BRITISH WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              RUSS 260.00                         RUSSIAN WOMEN WRITERS IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION (W)

                              SPAN 269.00                         WOMEN AND CINEMA IN LATIN AMERICA

                              ENGL 398.95                          EARLY 20TH C AMERICAN WOMEN FICTION

                              ASIAN 331.00                         ASIAN AMERICAN WOMEN

                              ASIAN 360.01                         ASIAN AMERICAN WOMEN IN PERFORMANCE

                              SOC 325.27                           CHILDHOOD IN NEW YORK

                              ANTHC 320.79                        WOMEN IN PREHISTORIC SOCIETY

                              ENGL 385.66                          WOMEN BRITISH WRITERS OF THE ROMANTIC PERIOD 1780-1830

                              ENGL 398.94                          19TH C AMERICAN WOMEN'S FICTION

                              ENGL 389.55                          ONE MAJOR WRITER: JANE AUSTEN

                              ITAL 339.00                            ITALIAN AMERICAN WOMEN WRITERS AND ARTISTS: ISSUES OF IDENTITY (W)

                              HIST 382.09                           FRENCH WOMEN: REALITY & MYTH 1789-1914

                              ITAL 337.00                            ITALIAN WOMEN WRITERS

                              FREN 360.00                          FRENCH SHORT STORY WOMEN WRITERS

                              ENGL 385.58                          TOPICS IN 19TH C LITERATURE

                              ENGL 398.97                          20TH C AMERICAN WOMEN'S FICTION

                              ASIAN 330.02/SOC 225.06      KOREAN AMERICANS

                              FREN 349.00                          19TH C FRENCH LITERATURE

                              ANTHC 320.76                        LANGUAGE, SEX AND GENDER

                              ENGL 329.67                          WORLD LITERATURE: POST COLONIAL WOMEN WRITINGS (W)

                              ENGL 389.74                          EDITH WHARTON (W)

                              ASIAN 351.51                         ASIAN AMERICAN WOMEN NARRATIVES

                              ENGL 389.54                          VIRGINA WOOLF (W)

                              ENGL 318.51                          BLACK WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 319.00                          ADVANCED TOPICS IN LITERATURE BY WOMEN (W)

                              ENGL 319.51                          WOMEN, LANGUAGE, AND LITERATURE (W)

                              ENGL 319.54                          ASIAN AMERICAN FEMINISM (W)

                              ENGL 319.56                          20TH C BLACK WOMEN LITERATURE (W)

                              ENGL 319.57                          EARLY MODERN ENGLISH WOMEN (W)

                              ENGL 319.58                          WOMEN WRITERS AND THE SHORT STORY (W)

                              ENGL 319.59                          19TH C AMERICAN WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 319.60                          GENDER & PERFORMANCE IN US CULTURE (W)

                              ENGL 319.61                          RENAISSANCE ENGLISH LITERATURE BY AND WOMEN

                              ENGL 319.62                          MEMOIRS BY WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 319.63                          IRISH WOMEN POETRY (W)

                              ENGL 319.64                          18TH C WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 319.65                          WOMEN WRITERS AND THE METROPOLIS (W)

                              ENGL 319.66                          CONTEMPORARY AMERCIAN WOMEN (W)

                              ENGL 319.67                          20TH C WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 319.68                          WOMEN AND WRITING IN THE MIDDLE AGES (W)

                              ENGL 319.69                          18TH C BRITISH WOMEN WRITERS (W)

                              ENGL 319.70                          FEMINIST SCIENCE FICTION (W)

                              ENGL 319.71                          WOMEN'S INTERTEXTUAL NARRATIVES (W)

                              ENGL 319.72                          AMERICAN POETRY BY WOMEN: EXPERIMENTS, INNOVATIONS, AND POLITICS

                              AFPRL 337.00                        CARIBBEAN WOMEN WRITERS

                              RUSS 360.00                         RUSSIAN WOMEN WRITERS

                              MEDIA 384.00                        WOMEN AND MEDIA



                              CROSS-LIST                         COURSE TITLE

WGSI 393.00                                                        INDEPENDENT STUDY

WGSI 298.00                                                        INTERNSHIP


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