Women’s Studies: A Memoir

Dear Juniors,

If you are looking for a senior theology class that encourages spiritual growth with minimal homework, Women’s Studies is the class for you!

Women’s Studies, like all senior theology courses, is a single-semester class. Additionally, students who take Women’s Studies receive college credits at UC schools. The required textbook is The Spiral Path, a collection of words of wisdom from various women and men. Instructor Christine Knudsen provides the textbook at a low cost at the beginning of the year.

As Women’s Studies is treated as a theology class, it focuses primarily on women’s spiritualities. We studied how women’s life-giving abilities enrich women’s spiritualities. This angle, however, raises questions: for women to be treated as “equal” to men, shouldn’t they have the same spiritualities? Aren’t our spiritual journeys personal and therefore not comparable? What is exactly is a woman’s spirituality and why must it be defined by her body? These are a few questions that I wish the course addressed. While the class has a theological slant, I wish it could have been a better forum for feminist discussions.

My favorite part of the course was “The Stories of Our Mothers and Grandmothers.” Over the span of a few weeks, each student brought in an influential woman from her life. I heard stories from Coach Courtney, teachers, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and family friends. I believe that their enriching life experiences helped me better grasp the true meaning of women’s spirituality.

To students taking Women’s Studies, I highly encourage thoughtful planning of the Ten-Week project. For ten weeks, students can write diary entries, record their dreams, write meditations, or devise a plan of their own. The goal of the Ten-Week project is to allow each student to actively shape her own spirituality. Because of the sheer mass of the project, I encourage students to plan well.

Good luck with your senior year,

Ashley Conde ’17

photo from autostraddle.com

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