Month: November 2013

The Future of Women’s Studies in Religion in the Academy of Religion

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The future of feminist the*log/ies and the discipline of women’s studies in religion is at an important crossroads. In the academy, we are now an established voice. Unlike in the past, women of diverse colors, ethnic backgrounds, classes, sexual orientations and more are now published. Subsequently, their theories, methodologies, praxis’ and paradigms are slowly infiltrating secular and religious dominant male discourses in the academy and on a grassroots level. In this way, it is a time of potential and possibility for women in our field. At the same time, we need to be astutely aware that patriarchal sensibilities continue to morph and take different forms. Thus, it is critical for women across disciplines and ages to translate and discern the relevance of feminism in our respective scholarship and times. The reality is that are foremothers are aging. Blessed be, in a forty-year period, they/we have accomplished So much. As a junior scholar I am more and more mindful that I am the protégée of many women in our field, from Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, to Margaret Miles, Mary Hunt and more recently Rosemary Radford Ruether, Zayn Kassam and April Mayes. Reflective of Elisabeth I did a her-story feminist reconstruction project on the life and writings of seventeenth-century prototypical feminist Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Reflective of Rosemary’s ecofeminist sensibilities I argue that de la Cruz is also a proto-typical ecofeminist. To date, I am also interested in egalitarian feminist pedagogies and an ecofeminist curriculum reflective of both of these scholars. For me, the future of women’s studies in religion is at an important crossroads. In this regard, I believe that our individual and collective energy/ies and choices in our discipline need to be strategic. At the same time, these choices need to be intergenerational as well. There is no time to reinvent the wheel that are foremothers have so faithfully and graciously fought for us so that we can engage in this important work. In this light, their legacies live on in me/us. This holy work needs to be taken very seriously if the future of women’s studies in religion is to continue to challenge and thrive in an academy that so desperately needs our voice.

 

“Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War”

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Today is the perfect day to share this book by Asian feminist theologian Rita Nakashima Brock. It’s called “Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War.” By profession, Nakashima Brock is an activist and scholar. This book is the result of her passionate nature for peace in our world. Her book is distinctive in that she reframes the question that is often discussed with regards to Veterans who come back to the U.S. after their service abroad. Most definitely, she is concerned about the physical aspects of their well-being. The focus of her work has been on the emotional and spiritual toll that affects them as well. She coins it as “Moral Injury after War.” The problem is that individuals go to war indoctrinated that the choices they make there reflect their patriotism to our country. To survive in these contexts, for self-preservation, consciously or unconsciously, one must de-sensitize themselves from the guns they shoot and the dismantled bodies and destruction they see as a result of war-like symptoms. To reflect on moral injury is the work of self-healing. For our Veterans this is equally as important as their physical elements. They come to us as open wounds. For non-Veteran families the catchall phrase for these wounds is post-traumatic stress. In this context, Nakashima Brock through use of case studies examines how persons of good will can help wounded Veterans recover from “Moral Injury after War.” I recommend this book highly for individuals interested in wholeness for U.S. Veterans. For more information on her work you can go to this organization she co-founded on the Brite Divinity School campus called the “Soul Repair Center,”http://www.brite.edu/programs.asp? BriteProgram=soulrepair.