Swarthmore College president Valerie Smith recently announced that Patricia White, Centennial Chair and Professor of Film and Media Studies and coordinator of Gender and Sexuality Studies, will serve as the next director of the Aydelotte Foundation at Swarthmore College. A member of the Swarthmore community since 1994, she will assume the position on July 1.
"Patty brings experience, energy, and a passion for approaching complex issues from interdisciplinary perspectives to this position," says Smith. "As a member of the steering committee at the Foundation’s launch, she is well positioned to shape its future as an interdisciplinary research center and dynamic intellectual community devoted to transformational humanistic inquiry in the liberal arts context."
An expert on feminist and LGBTQ+ cinema, White is the author of five field-defining books on cinema and women’s studies, including Rebecca (Bloomsbury Press, 2021); Women’s Cinema/World Cinema: Projecting Contemporary Feminisms (Duke University Press, 2015); and Uninvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian Representability (Indiana University Press, 1999).
She earned a B.A. in film studies from Yale University and received a Ph.D. in the history of consciousness from the University of California, Santa Cruz. White serves on the boards of Women Make Movies, of which she is a former board chair, and Film Quarterly. She is also a member of the editorial collective of Camera Obscura.
White will replace Professor of History Tim Burke and Associate Professor of English Literature Rachel Sagner Buurma, who have served as the foundation’s co-directors since 2017 and will return to full-time teaching this fall.
"I’d also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the vision and leadership that [Tim and Rachel] brought to their roles," says Smith. "During their tenure, they built a publication platform, explored inclusion and exclusion in the liberal arts through the 'Race, Racism, and the Liberal Arts' initiative, launched a podcast, and established a first-year seminar and a student research fellowship, among other initiatives."