"Are You Two Sisters?" A Book Talk with Susan Krieger
Clayman Institute Research Fellow Susan Krieger will present her most recent book, Are You Two Sisters? The Journey of a Lesbian Couple. Authored by one of the most respected figures in the field of personal ethnographic narrative, this book serves as both a memoir and a sociological study, telling the story of one lesbian couple's lifelong journey together. Joining the discussion and moderating the talk is Shelley J. Correll, Professor of Sociology and Organizational Behavior professor at Stanford University, director of the Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab and former director of the Clayman Institute.
Are You Two Sisters? is Susan Krieger's candid, revealing, and engrossing memoir about the intimacies of a lesbian couple. Krieger explores how she and her partner confront both the inner challenges of their relationship and the invisibility of lesbian identity in the larger world.
Using a lively novelistic and autoethnographic approach that toggles back and forth in time, Krieger reflects on the evolution of her forty-year relationship. She describes building a life together, from sharing pets and travels to getting married. Are You Two Sisters? addresses not only questions of gender and sexuality, but also of disability, as Krieger explores how the couple adapts to her increasing blindness.
Krieger’s title comes from a question asked by a stranger outside a remote desert bar as she and her partner traveled in the Southwest. Her apprehension about answering that question suggests how, even after the legalization of gay marriage, lesbianism often remains hidden—an observation that makes Krieger’s poignant narrative all the more moving.
“Every lesbian looking for a partner would love to know the secret of successful relationships. In her early book The Mirror Dance , Susan Krieger described themes of belonging and ambivalence in a lesbian community; now she turns that mirror inward for a candid reflection on her own relationship of forty years, from an uncertain beginning to an important place of refuge. With beautiful imagery and an engaging writing style, Krieger describes the highs and lows of two women with very different personalities learning to live together.” —Esther Rothblum, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Lesbian Studies
“I could not stop reading this riveting account of traveling through the world in a lesbian relationship. What an honest, engaging, and stunningly written story about the beauty and tensions of being together and separate. The author invites us into her heart, emotions, and head as she seeks to reflexively understand the nuances of lesbian intimacy. This is a book for all those seeking to understand relationships more deeply and those who appreciate getting lost in an extraordinary autoethnography.” —Carolyn Ellis, Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Communication and Sociology at the University of South Florida, and author of Final Negotiations: A Story of Love, Loss, and Chronic Illness
About the Author
Susan Krieger is a sociologist, writer, and Research Fellow at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University. She is the author of seven prior books: Hip Capitalism; The Mirror Dance: Identity in a Women's Community; Social Science and the Self: Personal Essays on an Art Form; The Family Silver: Essays on Relationships among Women; Things No Longer There: A Memoir of Losing Sight and Finding Vision; Traveling Blind: Adventures in Vision with a Guide Dog by My Side; and Come Let Me Guide You: A Life Shared with a Guide Dog.
About the Moderator
Shelley J. Correll is professor of sociology and organizational behavior at Stanford University, where she directs the Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab. Her expertise is in the areas of gender, workplace dynamics and organizational culture. Correll is committed to uncovering and removing the biases and barriers that limit women’s full participation in society. Her research on the “motherhood penalty” demonstrates how motherhood influences the workplace evaluations, pay and job opportunities of mothers. Her current research uncovers how gender stereotypes and organizational practices limit the advancement and retention of women in technical jobs. Correll research has been profiled in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, and other leading media publications.
Correll is an award-winning teacher and mentor. In 2016, she was awarded the SWS Feminist Lecturer Award and in 2017, the SWS Feminist Mentor Award, both from Sociologists for Women in Society. In addition to her teaching and research activities, Correll has been an active change agent in academia, having earned the Alice H. Cook and Constance E. Cook Award, Cornell University in 2008, for work to improve the climate for women at Cornell and elsewhere, and more recently, through her work as Clayman Institute Director. Under Correll’s directorship, the Clayman Institute received the 2019 President’s Awards for Excellence Through Diversity.