Thursday, January 12, 2012

Celebrating Sondra Hale

Happy New Year! I would like to begin this year by congratulating Professor Sondra Hale on her retirement and thanking her for all her contributions and service to CSW.  She can still continue her important research and teach if she wants, but she never has to go to another meeting!  In addition to her many other accomplishments, Professor Hale has long been an integral part of CSW.  She served on the CSW Faculty Advisory Committee since 2000, but her involvement in the Center goes back to CSW’s earliest days.  She held one of the very first Research Scholar Appointments and was a member of the newsletter’s Editorial Committee in 1990 and 1991.  Hale has contributed to conferences, symposiums, and performances sponsored by CSW, including “Research in Motion: Affiliated Scholars Exchange,” “Women at Work II,” and “Capitalist Development and the Liberation of Women: First World, Third World.”  Hale was also central to the move by CSW to become more actively and visibly involved in the public policy arena.  At one such forum in 1990, she presented “Revisioning Education: Knowledge and Action in the 21st Century,” wherein she called for an action agenda to create a more multicultural, women-centered university.   

In the Winter, 1990 newsletter, Hale wrote  about her longtime relation with the Women’s Building in “The Los Angeles Women’s Building: An Enduring Institution” and in the  Fall 1991 newsletter, she wrote a personal reflection about the lawsuit involving the Women’s Studies Program at California State University, Long Beach, and a conservative, fundamentalist religious group.   

Hale also served as the coordinator and principle investigator of the UCLA Global South Gender Initiative (GSGI), co-sponsored by CSW and the Women’s Studies Program at UCLA. I began my directorship while Professor Hale was stewarding that program and we worked together on it, Hale taking the opportunity to mentor me on grant-writing, negotiating, and raising money for the GSGI.  GSGI fostered international exchanges between CSW, Women’s Studies, and women’s/gender studies institutions in Middle East/North Africa and Muslim South Asia. Its primary goal was to facilitate dialogue on emerging theories, concepts, pedagogies, and curricula as related to contemporary social and political issues within the field of women’s/gender studies.  During that time, Hale also arranged for UCLA, through CSW, to host the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, for which she served as co-editor from 2006 to 2009.  

From 2004 to 2007, she was also co-facilitator of the “Migrating Epistemologies” workshop series on feminist, postcolonial, and transnational theories. Professor Hale was also very active in CSW sponsored research.  Through faculty grants, CSW help fund her research on “State Ideology, Islamic Fundamentalism, and the Sexual Division of Labor–the Sudan Case,” research that she presented at a CSW-sponsored lecture in 1989 and then at the 1991 United Nations conference titled “Identity Politics and Women: Cross-National Perspectives” in Helsinki. CSW also supported her 1996 research on “The Gender Politics of Social Movements: The Case of Eritrea.” She has served on committees for the selection of research scholars and for the awarding of grants. And, she has been a moderator a Thinking Gender.  

I would like to thank Professor Hale for all she had done for CSW, for the CSW community, and for me. I am particularly grateful for her sage advice over the past six years and hope she enjoys some free time in 2012.  She has certainly earned it!   –Kathleen McHugh, CSW Director

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