Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Goddess in the classroom

Today was the first time I've taught material on feminist/women's/Goddess spirituality while comfortably situating myself within that tradition and practice. (I'm teaching an introductory course in Women's Studies.) I didn't come out to my students - I don't think it's appropriate for them to know my religious affiliation or lack thereof - but I was able to lecture without subtly distancing myself from Goddess traditions. That was an internal victory for me. Student response to the lecture was underwhelming. I teach on a fairly conservative campus to a fairly sheltered group of students. Whereas some students might be electrified by the new ideas I'm presenting, I think this group is largely freaked out. They're game, but freaked out. I thought it was sweet when a couple of students commented on knowing people who were "into" Wicca and corrected themselves when they referred to their friends' activities as "strange."

For reading, I assigned Carol Christ's paper, "Why Women Need the Goddess," which has a fine explanation of how culturally prominent symbols work on us psychologically (thanks to Judge Roy Moore, the damn fool, for a salient current example); an essay on feminist spirituality from bell hooks' excellent primer, Feminism is for Everybody; and Margot Adler's concise and gorgeous paper, "Inner Space," from Sisterhood is Forever (ed. Robin Morgan). For Thursday, students are reading excerpts from Dreaming the Dark.

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