Gender Vexation

I’m thinking ahead to teaching my Beautiful Theology (online)/“Meaning and Ministry” (Seabury) course, considering what I’d like us to read. The reading list poses a problem because (a) I’m inclined to want to read too much, and (b) the keystone texts I want to read are all by White men. Now, if I cared to argue about this, I’d point out that there’s nothing quite like to Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics or Edward Tufte’s Envisioning Information that I can assign to even things out.

Some of the essays in Questions of Evidence spotlight the relation of gender to communication, but none of the editors is a woman. My essays pertain, but alas! I’m not a woman either. Graham Hughes’s Liturgy as Meaning meant the world to me when I bumped into it, but whoops, he’s a man. I have’t read Sam Wells’s Improvisation: the Drama of Christian Ethics, but I have noticed that he’s notably male. René Magritte? Surrealist man. Steve Ross’ Marked and Fred Sanders’s theological comics exemplify some of what I want to say — whoops, they’re not women. Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home provides a brilliantly provocative text for our study, OK, there’s one (but not explicitly theological). I expect I’ll assign some essays by Henry Louis Gates, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Jane Tompkins — but since one of my students assiduously counts book spines and evaluates courses on this gross but revealing index of feminist-friendliness, I’d like to connect with at least one other book that’s officially, completely, by a card-carrying woman.

Maggi said:

Not sure if this would tie in with your course on meaning (not clear from your post what the thrust is) but Janet Martin Soskice? she is brilliant (she supervised my PhD) check out Can a feminist call god “father”, Metaphor in religious language (her masterpiece) and various other essays on feminism/theology. She also co-edited a book with Diana Lipton, on Jewish and Christian feminist issues,

link to list of publications here

hope that helps! maggi

I read Soskice’s Metaphor and Religious Language in doctoral work at Duke, but I haven’t looked back since; I’ll track down my copy and check it out. Margaret also suggested some Sarah Coakley and Marianne Sawicki, but I’m not quite sure they connect squarely with what I’m aiming at. This is one of the difficulties that attends developing an idiosyncratic angle on a well-worn problem.

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