|Psychologist and Writer|
April 30, 2003
4:15 p.m. Informal Seminar
8:00 p.m. Reading
Recital Hall, PAC
UAlbany, Uptown Campus
Carol Gilligan may well be America's most influential expert on female psychology and gender relations. Her 1982 book, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development attacked accepted notions of female growth and development, and was the very first study to draw attention to the silencing of adolescent girls. A surprise bestseller, the book had an enormous impact on a variety of fields, including psychology, education, gender studies, and feminist theory. Since its publication, Gilligan has become one of the world's most respected thinkers on gender issues.
In 1984, Ms. Magazine named Gilligan "Woman of the Year," and in 1996, Time Magazine named her one of the 25 most influential people in America.
Gilligan's latest book is The Birth of Pleasure (2002), a study of the obstacles to love and pleasure posed by human culture and convention. It explains why the differences between men and women create a powerful mutual attraction and, at the same time, lead to bitter conflicts and disillusionment with the opposite sex. The book draws on case histories, the testimonies of adults and children, ancient myths and well-known literary works by Hawthorne, Proust, Toni Morrison, Michael Ondaatje and Arundhatai Roy, as well as The Diary of Anne Frank. The book also examines the harm that is caused when boys and girls are forced into culturally accepted "masculine" and "feminine" models.
Gilligan's rereading of Hawthorne's classic novel, The Scarlet Letter, as presented in The Birth of Pleasure, caught the attention of her good friend, Tina Packer, director of the Berkshire-based theatre company, Shakespeare & Co. Packer asked Gilligan to adapt the novel for the stage. The new drama is mostly loyal to the original, but changes the conclusion to allow for a romantic scene between Hester and Dimmesdale, and for an epilogue by the child, Pearl. The play premiered in September 2002.
In addition to In a Different Voice and The Birth of Pleasure, Gilligan has contributed to a number of major works on female psychology, including Women and Girls, Race and Relationship (1995, written with Jill McLean Taylor and Amy M. Sullivan), Meeting at the Crossroads: Women's Psychology and Girls Development (1992, with Lyn Mikel Brown), and Making Connections: The Relational World of Adolescent Girls at Emma Willard School (1991, with Nona P. Lyons and Trudy J. Hanmer). Making Connections is a collection of essays that examine the development of students at the Emma Willard School for Girls in Troy, New York. The essays are based on studies conducted in the early 1980s. Gilligan's contribution includes a prologue, preface and epilogue that explain the larger significance of the studies for the field of adolescent female psychology.
Gilligan received her Ph.D. from Harvard, where she was a member of the faculty for 34 years. She is currently University Professor at New York University.
Sunday Gazette Article|
Writers Online Magazine Article
Bio from Webster Univ
School of Education, UAlbany
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