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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


Elective Courses

Major Before August 1, 2011


WGS 209.00 Women and Gender in Western Political Thought (W)
WGS 230.00 Feminism: Philosophical Theory and Practice (W)
WGS 310.00 Research Seminar: Feminist Theory and Methodology
WGS 309.00 Feminist Political Theory (W)
WGS 360.00 Feminist Social Theory 


WGS 170.00 Psychology of Human Sexuality
WGS 190.00 Development of Gender Roles
WGS 200.01 Introduction to LGBT Rights
WGS 200.03 Politics Lesbian & Gay Rights
WGS 200.07 Development of Gender Roles
WGS 200.17 Globalization & Gender
WGS 200.52 Introduction to Gay & Lesbian Studies
WGS 200.61 Violence & Lesbianism
WGS 200.62 Reimagining Gender
WGS 200.70 They're A Queer Lot-The Dandy, TheSapphist and Their Progeny 
WGS 257.00 Sex and Gender Roles 
WGS 266.00 Politics of Queer Sexuality
WGS 300.02 What is Queer Culture? (2007)
WGS 300.05 Multicultural Lesbian Texts
WGS 300.07 Women, Gender & Family in Chinese History (1999)
WGS 300.18 Lesbian Cultural Studies  (1999)
WGS 300.25 Gender, Nation and Colonial Condition (2001)
WGS 300.29 Lesbian Texts
WGS 300.36 Gender and Sexuality in Asian American Literature and Film
WGS 300.43 Lesbian Bodies (W)
WGS 300.44 From Friendship to Homosexual: Same Sex Desire in 19th C American Literature
WGS 300.46 Gender & Development in Asia & Asian America
WGS 300.53 Language, Sex and Gender
WGS 300.56 20th C Lesbian & Gay Writing and Reading
WGS 300.75 Queer Volitility in Literature and Film
WGS 300.77 Sex Education
WGS 300.79 Gay and Lesbian Poitics in the U.S.  (1994)
WGS 300.90 Post Stonewall Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Literature (W)
WGS 301.00 Gender in Anthropological Perspectives (W)
WGS 400.53 Body Politics: Sexuality and Reproduction


WGS 156.00 Imperial Russian Culture
WGS 200.02 Caribbean Women Work & Reproduction
WGS 200.04 Women in Ancient Greece
WGS 200.05 Child Welfare (W)
WGS 200.08 Women & Film
WGS 200.09 Political Economy of Women in the U.S  (1999)
WGS 200.11 Population Geography
WGS 200.12 Contemporary Women Voices
WGS 200.13  Women in Russian Culture
WGS 200.14 American Women Writers: Late 19th C
WGS 200.16 Arab American Family  ?
WGS 200.18 Muslim Diaspora
WGS 200.19 Asian American Family
WGS 200.20 Women in French Literature
WGS 200.50 Dominican & Haitian Literature & Culture
WGS 200.54 Women in Ancient Greece: Myth and Archetype vs. Reality
WGS 200.56 Simone de Beauvoir Feminist and Ethical Writings
WGS 200.57 Contemporary Women
WGS 200.58 Black Women Writers Cross Cultural Connections
WGS 200.59 Women Stories & Reproductive Rights
WGS 200.63 Black Women: Myth/Realities
WGS 200.64 Gender Dynamics - Africa
WGS 200.65 Family, Sex , & Violence  (1998)
WGS 200.67 Contemporary Feminist Thought and Multiculural Diversity
WGS 200.68 Black  Literary Artists
WGS 200.69 Working Class in US  (1992)
WGS 200.71 AIDS & Society
WGS 200.72 Feminist Theater
WGS 200.73 African Women: Development and Politics 
WGS 200.74 Women & Marriage: The Female Plot
WGS 200.75 Gender & Culture: Medieval And Modern   (1994)
WGS 200.76 Women In Contemporary China  (1998)
WGS 200.77 The Black Family  ?
WGS 200.78 Politics of Masculinity
WGS 200.79 Contemporary Caribbean Women
WGS 200.80 Becoming Equal: Advances in Global Women's Rights Since the 1960s
WGS 200.81 Woman For President
WGS 200.82 Reading Literature By Women
WGS 200.83 American Women Crime Writers
WGS 200.84 Latina Women
WGS 200.85 Women and Domestic Public Policy
WGS 200.86 Asian American Women's Writing
WGS 200.87 Latina Writing
WGS 200.88 Literary Voices of Asian American Women
WGS 200.89 Women in Jewish History  (1997)
WGS 200.90 Women in the Bible: English Translation (W)  (1994)
WGS 200.91 Topics in Asian American Literature
WGS 200.92 Black Child  ?
WGS 206.00 Gender and Immigration
WGS 211.00 Women in the 3rd World
WGS 216.00 Women Philosophers of the Past 
WGS 219.00 Women and the Law (W)
WGS 220.00 Motherhood
WGS 221.00 Women in the Islamic World
WGS 222.00 Women in the Developing World
WGS 222.52 Woman's Film: 1940s
WGS 223.00 Sociology of the Family
WGS 235.00 The Psychology of Women (W)
WGS 250.00 Women and Music (W)
WGS 251.00 Women and Health 
WGS 258.00 Topics: Literature By Women (W)
WGS 258.50 Muticultural Women Writers (W)
WGS 258.51 Contemporary African Women Writers (W)
WGS 258.52 South Asian Women Literature (W)
WGS 258.53 Irish Women Writers (W)
WGS 258.54 Sexual Anarchy: Literatue of Fin-de-Siecle (W)
WGS 258.55 18th C  Women Writers (W)
WGS 258.57 Feminist Perspectives in Literature (W)
WGS 258.58 Caribbean Women Writers (W)
WGS 258.59 Women in Culture (W)
WGS 258.60 Contemporary American Women Writers (W)
WGS 258.62 18th C British Women Writers (W)
WGS 260.00 Russian Women Writers in English Translation (W)
WGS 261.00 Women and Politics (W) 
WGS 262.00 Women, War, and Peace (W)
WGS 269.00 Spanish American Women Literature & Cinema (W)
WGS 300.00 Women in Prehistoric Society
WGS 300.01 Early 20th C American Women Fiction
WGS 300.03 Asian American Women 
WGS 300.04 Multidisciplinary Look at the South Bronx
WGS 300.06 Narrative of Trauma: The Political Aesthetics of Representing Personal & Social Catastrophe
WGS 300.08 Asian American Women in Performance
WGS 300.09 Virgins & Villainesses: Portraits of Women in Drama
WGS 300.10 Childhood in New York
WGS 300.11 Women Changing Multicultural Society  (1999)
WGS 300.12 Women in Higher Education  (2000)
WGS 300.13 Women British Writers of the Romantic Period 1780-1830
WGS 300.14 Independent Women: Brontes
WGS 300.15 Introduction to Community Organizing
WGS 300.16 19th C American Women's Fiction
WGS 300.17 Controlling Reproduction: A Global Comparison  (2000)
WGS 300.19 Globalizing Women
WGS 300.20 Writing the Wounded Body  
WGS 300.21 Jane Austen (W)
WGS 300.22 19th & 20th C Italian Women Writers in Translation (W)
WGS 300.23 Women of Color (W)
WGS 300.24 Italian American Women Writers and Artists: Issues of Identity (W)
WGS 300.26 French Women: Reality & Myth 1789-1914
WGS 300.27 Early 20th C American Women Novelists
WGS 300.28 Disability Studies Perspective on Women
WGS 300.30 Redefining Latina Health
WGS 300.31 Muticultural Women Self Writings
WGS 300.32 Gender & Development  (2001)
WGS 300.33 Italian Women Writers from the Middle Ages to 18th C (Taught In English)
WGS 300.35 Women in Public Policy Since the 1960s (Honors)
WGS 300.37 French Short Story Women Writers
WGS 300.38 Introduction to Feminst Literary Theory
WGS 300.39 Topics in 19th C Literature
WGS 300.40 Women in Jewish History  (2001)
WGS 300.41 Women & Leadership
WGS 300.42 History & Emergence of Rape as  a War Crime
WGS 300.45 Growing Up Female  (2002)
WGS 300.47 20th C American Women's Fiction
WGS 300.48 Korean Americans 
WGS 300.49 19th C French Literature
WGS 300.50 Theories and Practices of Development
WGS 300.52 Geography & Gender
WGS 300.54 Becoming Equal: Women In Global Public Policy Since the 1960s
WGS 300.57 Puerto Rican & Other Hispanic Women
WGS 300.58 World Literature: Post Colonial Women Writings (W)
WGS 300.60 Translating Women (W)
WGS 300.61 Migration & Immigration 20th C Women (W)
WGS 300.63 Changing Role of Women in China and Japan  (1998)
WGS 300.64 Women in the Middle East  (1998)
WGS 300.65 Witing Women's Biography (W)
WGS 300.66 Sexual Abuse: Narrative Memory and the Politics of Knowledge  (1998)
WGS 300.67 Women in Migration  (1997)
WGS 300.69 Decolonizing Desire
WGS 300.70 Immigrant Women in New York City  (1993)
WGS 300.71 Literary Pilgrimage: Black Women Authors
WGS 300.72 Women and Society in Victorian England  (1997)
WGS 300.74 Edith Wharton (W)
WGS 300.78 Women with Disabilities
WGS 300.81 Excision in African Women's Experiential Literature
WGS 300.83 Work and Family
WGS 300.84 Asian American Women Narratives
WGS 300.85 Native Women in American History  (1995)
WGS 300.87 Women and Work
WGS 300.88 Women and Development in the Caribbean
WGS 300.89 Family and Household in Anthropology and History
WGS 300.91 Latina Life Stories
WGS 300.92 Work and Family
WGS 300.93 Women in Early European Society
WGS 300.94 Virgina Woolf (W)
WGS 300.95 International Women Writers
WGS 300.96 Women in British History
WGS 300.97 Women in 20th C American Literature
WGS 300.98 History of Women in Modern Europe: 1780-1945
WGS 300.99 Political Islam & Women
WGS 305.00 Women and Slaves in Classical Antiquity (W)
WGS 318.00 Women in Africa (W)
WGS 318.51 Black Women Writers (W)
WGS 319.00 Advanced Topics in Literature by Women (W)
WGS 319.51 Women, Language, and Literature (W)
WGS 319.54 Asian American Feminism (W)
WGS 319.56 20th C Black Women Literature (W)
WGS 319.57 Early Modern English Women (W)
WGS 319.58 Women Writers and the Short Story (W)
WGS 319.59 19th C American Women Writers (W)
WGS 319.60 Gender & Performance in US Culture (W)
WGS 319.61 Renaissance English Literature By and About Women
WGS 319.62 Memoirs By Women Writers (W)
WGS 319.63 Irish Women Poetry (W)
WGS 319.64 18th C Women Writers (W)
WGS 319.65 Women Writers and the Metropolis (W)
WGS 319.66 Contemporary Amercian Women (W)
WGS 319.67 20th C Women Writers (W)
WGS 319.68 Women and Writing in the Middle Ages (W)
WGS 319.69 18th C British Women Writers (W)
WGS 319.70 Feminist Science Fiction (W)
WGS 319.71 Women's Intertextual Narratives (W)
WGS 319.72 American Poetry By Women: Experiments, Innovations, and Politics
WGS 321.00 Women & Globalization
WGS 329.00 Women in African Diaspora (W)
WGS 336.00 Afro-American Women Writers (W)
WGS 337.00 Caribbean Women Writers (W)
WGS 345.00 Women & Men in the Labor Market
WGS 351.00 Gender, Science & Technology
WGS 361.00 Russian Women Writers
WGS 384.00 Women and Media 
WGS 393.73 Feminism and Judaism  (1994)
WGS 398.00 Community Leadership
WGS 400.00 Seminar
WGS 400.08 Women, Health & Society
WGS 400.51 All American Women  (1984)
WGS 400.54 Hunter Seminar
WGS 400.55 Politics of AIDS  (1991)
WGS 400.56 Race, Class and Gender  (1999)
WGS 400.57 Women in Revolutionary Society  (1991)
WGS 400.58 Gender & Power in the Workplace
WGS 400.59 Gender, Nationalism, and Decolonization
WGS 400.61 Gender in Archaeology
WGS 400.62 Encounters with the Other  (1996)
WGS 400.63 Ethnicity, Gender and Disease
WGS 490.00 Leadership Fieldwork


WGS 298.00 Internship
WGS 320.00  Internship Seminar: Feminist Activism and Advocacy
WGS 393.00 Independent Research


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