A Lunchtime Lecture with Author and Scholar Shana Penn

Author Shana Penn will present a lecture, “Solidarity’s Secret: The Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland,” on Wednesday, March 21, at 12 p.m. in the Hampton Room of the Malott Commons, Scripps College. The event, sponsored the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Commons and The European Union Center of California, is free and open to the public. Coffee and dessert are provided. Guests may bring a lunch or purchase one at the Malott Commons Dining Hall. Doors to the Hampton Room open at 11:45 a.m. For additional program information, please call the Malott Commons office at (909) 607-9372.

Penn’s Solidarity’s Secret: The Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland (University of Michigan Press, Spring 2005) was the first book to reconstruct women’s leadership in the rise of an independent press in Poland and the fall of the communist government. Solidarity’s Secret was supported in part by an Open Society Institute Fellowship, which Penn received in recognition of her contributions to raising public awareness of gender issues in a newly democratic Poland.

Lech Walesa, former president of Poland and winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize, said, “This important book explores one of the most pivotal periods in Polish history and deals with a topic nearly everyone else overlooked…Penn delves into the lives of seven Polish women activists who rose to the call, set about saving an entire political movement, and in time turned themselves into some of the most powerful women in Poland today.”

In addition to being a visiting scholar at Mills College in Oakland, California, Penn directs a philanthropic program, the Jewish Heritage Initiative in Poland, for the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture in San Francisco. She has also held the positions of media relations director at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., and program director at the International Museum of Women in San Francisco.

Penn’s essays and articles have appeared in the Beacon Book of Essays by Contemporary American Women, Tikkun magazine’s anthology of essays, Journal of Women’s History, Ms. Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Forward, The Women’s Review of Books, and Gazeta Wyborcza.

She has published two books in addition to Solidarity’s Secret, The Women’s Guide to the Wired World (Feminist Press 1997) and Podziemie Kobiet, “The Underground of Women” (Rosner, Warsaw, 2003). Penn also is a contributing editor at Lilith Magazine and a board member of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.