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Award-winning journalist to discuss '#MeToo Moment'

Journalist, editor and author E.J. Graff to speak Feb. 19

EVANSTON - E.J. Graff, award-winning journalist, commentator and author focused on gender, sexuality and social justice, will give a lecture at Northwestern’s Evanston campus on the rise of the #MeToo movement.

Graff’s talk will take place 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, in Walter Annenberg Hall, 2120 Campus Drive in Evanston. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is co-hosted by the Northwestern Women’s Center and the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and will examine how we got to the current uprising about sexual harassment – and what we should do next. 

Graff is currently managing editor of the blog the “Monkey Cage” at the Washington Post, where political scientists inform public discussion about current political issues with research-based analysis. She also is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University and an active member of the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS).

The Buffett Institute for Global Studies invited Graff to campus for a Reframing Research workshop, where Buffett-affiliated researchers will learn to translate their work into op-eds. Graff’s skills applied to many areas, though, said Ariel Schwartz, program coordinator at Buffett.

“She is a prolific writer and has had a long and storied career in journalism,” Schwartz said. “Because of her other areas of expertise, I thought it might be important to get her circulating around campus.” 

While a visiting scholar at the Radcliffe Schlesinger Library, Graff wrote “What is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution” (1999, 2004), then “the bible of the same-sex marriage movement,” according to Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry. “What is Marriage For?” was quoted and discussed by legislators in California, Vermont and Canada during the fight for same-sex marriage rights. She also worked with former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Evelyn Murphy’s on her book “Getting Even: Why Women Still Don’t Make As Much As Men—And What To Do So We Will” (2005), which launched Murphy’s campaign to close the gender wage gap.

Graff helped pioneer the gender and sexuality beat. She has written about women’s and LGBTQ issues since the 1980s, when she worked for various independent gay and feminist community papers. She rose to prominence as one of the few out lesbians who wrote for a national audience in the 1990s, and examined transgender issues in mainstream publications in the 2000s.

Graff’s expertise has been furthered by her scholarship. She was a Liberal Arts Fellow in Law and Journalism at Harvard Law School in 2000; received The Nation Institute Investigative Fund Research Award to report on discrimination based on gender presentation; and was a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center for 15 years. 

Graff has investigated sexual harassment of teenagers at work, fraud and corruption in international adoption and discrimination and violence against LGBT people. Her work has been referenced by policymakers, academics, legal journals and legislators and has helped prompt changes in state and federal policies, practices, and laws. 

Graff’s talk is part of the Women’s Center spring series of events; questions can be sent to the Women’s Center at womenscenter@northwestern.edu or 847-491-7360. The lecture is free and open to the public.

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