POSTPONED: Clare Coss, Denise Lynn, and Victoria Phillips - Triggering Biography: Race, Gender, Politics, Disabilities

Triggering Biography: Race, Gender, Politics, Disabilities


** this event has been postponed due to speaker illness **


Tuesday 5th March,


Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College

Free event


Clare Coss and Denise Lynn, chaired by Victoria Phillips


How do politically uncomfortable elements of lived lives challenge biographers to tell interesting narratives? When or how should a topic be avoided, modified, explained, or celebrated? How do we engage with the present without dating our published works and make them enduring life narratives? The panel members will briefly address how their biographical works have engaged with these issues, how they have been received as public documents, and how reception has changed over time. A moderated discussion with the audience will follow.

Clare Coss is a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, PEN, The Dramatists Guild, and the Columbia University Seminar on Women and Society. Her most recent opera, Universal Child, the Story of Emmett Till, was called “exciting profoundly moving.” Her numerous plays are joined by three publications, Lillian D.Wald: Progressive Activist (Feminist Press) which features the play and a selection of Wald’s correspondence and speeches, Dr. DuBois and Miss Ovington (Broadway Play Publishing), and The Arc of Love, Anthology of Lesbian Love Poems (Scribner)which was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. For eight years she served as Board Member for The Thanks Be To Grandmother Winifred Foundation and enjoyed her ten-year tenure as Poetry Editor for Affilia, a journal of women and social work.  For forty years she has maintained her dual career as psychotherapist and writer.

Denise Lynn is Professor of History, Interim Chair of History, Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, Indiana. Her research focuses on women in the American Communist Party. Dr. Lynn is the Vice-President of the Historians of American Communism and the editor of its journal American Communist History. Dr. Lynn is the author of Where is Juliet Stuart Poyntz? Gender, Spycraft, and Anti-Stalinism in the Early Cold War from the University of Massachusetts Press and Claudia Jones: Visions of a Socialist America from Polity Press.


Dr. Victoria Phillips is a writer, historian, teacher, and perpetual student. Her writing has appeared in such varied publications as the New York Times, Crescent Review, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, American Communist History, Ballet News, Dance Research Journal, Diplomatica, and Religions. Her first book, Dance is a Weapon (France: CND, 2008), explored the communist influence on the foundations of U.S. modern dance. Martha Graham’s Cold War: The Dance of American Diplomacy (Oxford, 2020), called “a cracking good read” by the Women’s History Network, chronicles modern dancer Martha Graham’s global tours for the US State Department. Phillips is under contract for The Forgotten ‘Mother of Berlin’: Eleanor Lansing Dulles and her Cold Wars, 1945-1968. She co-directs the Cold War Archival Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington DC, which offers cutting edge archival training to MA and PhD students and houses the CARE International Research Project.


Click here to register


You can also sign up via the same link to our linked event, “Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Seventy-five: a global promise of peace dignity education work for every body”, with speaker Blanche Cook.