Over the course of her career, Dr. Marjorie Lightman has written in a variety of fields, taught, directed projects, led organizations, and sat on boards. She has had experience with museums, non-profit organizations, community groups, public programs, film, and television projects. She has worked in the United States and abroad and has held grants from major foundations including the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Dr. Lightman is a Partner in the consulting firm of QED Associates, LLC, headquartered in Washington DC. She recently completed an eighteen-month engagement with the Magnes Museum Foundation to work with The Magnes Collection, at the University of California, Berkeley. Her consultancy included developing a cohesive programmatic vision, the development and funding of an archive for the lifetime work of famed photographer Roman Vishniac, and working to strengthen outreach and digital programming. Earlier assignments included NCSEJ (National Committee in Support of Eurasian Jewry), the International League for Human Rights, and the Network of East-West Women.
Lightman’s most recent book, Reflections: Washington’s Southeast/Southwest Waterfront, co-authored with William Zeisel, was published in February 2021. Lightman and Zeisel have also written a history of the University of the District of Columbia and curated an exhibition for the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum on culture and politics in Washington DC during the critical years from 1963 to 1975. In 2022 Lightman worked with the Washington PBS station WETA on the program, “If You Lived Here” and was the historian presenter for the episode on the Southwest. In 1997, she co-authored Ellis Island and the Peopling America (New Press), the first guide to the new immigration museum on Ellis Island. Earlier, on the centennial of the birth of Eleanor Roosevelt, she co-edited Without Precedent: The Life and Career of Eleanor Roosevelt (Indiana University Press).
In Lightman’s career scholarship and activism have been interwoven. She is the co-coordinator of Aging in Style, a taskforce of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly, and a founding board member of the Southwest Community Foundation. She is also serving her second term as an elected member of the Washington ANC (6D), which is the community board with oversight of the District’s fastest growing neighborhoods. On a national level, she served on the Coalition for Appointments Task Force, after the election of President Biden, and on the national coordinating committee for the Women’s March on Washington after the election of Trump.
Lightman holds a PhD in Greek and Roman history from Rutgers University (1980). She co-authored A Biographical Dictionary of Greek and Roman Women in 2000, and an expanded edition, The A through Z of Ancient Greek and Roman Women, published in 2008. (Facts on File}. She was the associate editor for the North Africa volume of Women Writing Africa (Feminist Press), responsible for the pre-Islamic section. Most recently, she contributed a chapter to Women and Knowledge in the Mediterranean (Routledge), edited by Fatima Sadiqi. The article grew out of a growing interest in the influences of classical Roman law on Islamic marriage law that she had developed in several papers delivered in Fes, Morocco, under the auspices of the University of Fes.