Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellowship in Lesbian Studies

The Sarah Pettit Fund was established in 2003 as a permanent endowment to honor and perpetuate the memory of lesbian activist Sarah Pettit, who earned her BA from Yale in 1988. Pettit died in 2003 in the midst of a high profile career as a writer, editor, and LGBTQ advocate. She was for many years the editor-in-chief and vice president of OUT Magazine, which she co-founded in 1992. In 1999, she was appointed the senior editor of Newsweek’s Arts and Entertainment section. She served on the advisory board of the New York Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project.

From 2006 to 2014, the Sarah Pettit Fellowship was run as a biennial fellowship providing a year of support to a graduate student, from an institution other than Yale, who was writing a dissertation in LGBT Studies, with lesbian studies as its focus. From 2016 onwards, the format changed to a biennial dissertation-writing workshop for scholars working on select themes in lesbian studies.

***Call for applications for spring 2019 workshop will be posted in summer 2018, with applications due in mid-October 2018, and workshop convening in February/March 2019.***


Applications should include:

• cover letter

• dissertation abstract

• one-page chapter or topic proposal for presentation and discussion at the workshop

• curriculum vitae

• letter of support from the dissertation advisor and the name of two additional references

Instructions for submission are at
Questions about the program may be directed to

Recipients of the Sarah Pettit Fellowship:

2006-2007   Emma Heaney, University of California, Irvine

2008-2009   Quinlan Miller, Northwestern University

2010-2011   Serena Dankwa, University of Berne, Switzerland

2013-2014   Nessette Falu, Rice University      


Applicants must be enrolled doctoral candidates who have completed coursework, qualifying exams, and submitted their dissertation prospectus (e.g., ABD status). Students studying or located in all geographical regions are welcome. However, funds from the Pettit Fellowship may not be able to cover the total cost of travel for many students coming from international locations. We encourage students from non-US locations to apply for supplementary travel funding from their home institutions. 

Students who are working on projects within the thematic and within the scope of lesbian studies are encouraged apply. The committee interprets “Lesbian Studies” in this context as being able to encompass the study of a broad range of genders, gender identities, and sexualities within multiple disciplines.

Fellows will first come together for a two-day intensive workshop at Yale University, where they will present and engage with each other’s work. They will meet with and receive feedback from the workshop’s faculty mentors.

Following the workshop, fellows will stay in New Haven for an additional three days to take advantage of Yale University libraries and resources.  Selected fellows will receive small stipends and travel funding in addition to room and board for the week of the workshop.  We also envision a follow-up meetings of the fellows and mentors as part of a longer-term mentoring relationship.