What motivates your work as a feminist scholar, teacher, and writer?
I am a mystic and an empath with a soul need for intellectual rigor and creative expression. I sense the world's possibilities for healing in my body—and I believe centering the writings of feminist history propels us forward into imagining and creating a better present and future. We have a wellspring of resources for transformation that the forces of patriarchy and white supremacy suppress from our collective consciousness. I wish to help midwife those suppressed knowledges into the world!
Where do you live?
NYC, a place I dearly love. But I am also bi-coastal at heart with west coast commitments.
Do you have free teachings or scholarships?
For free learning resources, please see our 30 feminist teachings available at the podcast, Writing Feminist Life Together. For scholarships for groups: Historically marginalized institutions receive sliding scale tuition for our courses within Feminist Leadership Trainings. For scholarships for individuals: At this time, all self-study courses are free to Native American and Indigenous people. Also, tuition for Revolutionary Texts of U.S. Black Feminism is free to Black and Indigenous folks and sliding scale to everyone else (and 100% of tuition pays down Black student loan debt). In pursuit of a more imaginative feminist economy, we also enjoy bartering various professional skill sets in exchange for our classes, so if you have a skill to contribute, let us know! Be on the newsletter to stay tuned for future developments, as we work to balance sustainability and accessibility at Feminism School.
What was your training for the ideas you now teach at Feminism School?
My training was unusually deep and interdisciplinary. I studied in 5 graduate programs and took 3X the courses required for 1 Ph.D. (63 total graduate courses before writing my dissertation in ethnic studies!). I trained in the following fields across 15 years of research: counseling psychology, religious history, gender studies, and ethnic studies.
I am grateful to have learned from so many scholars and teachers—including Laura Wexler, Tisa Wenger, and Emilie Townes at Yale University, and Shelley Streeby, my fabulous and generous doctoral advisor at UC San Diego. My courses and seminars offered at Feminism School reflect these kinship networks of feminist mentorship and care, as well as the depth and breadth that comes from sustained and rigorous interdisciplinary research and teaching.
What was the inspiration for your website's art?
The amazingly talented Nancy Guerrera made the art to represent layers, emergence, and movement, as well as to tend to my generational connections to women's creativity.
How we root into our creativity is how we re-image and re-create the world. All systems of oppression, including patriarchy, attempt to severely restrict our imaginations for what is possible.
We need layered and nuanced feminist critiques to break the spells of the systems, to name the violence, to defend against the gaslighting. But we also need creativity to dwell in liminality and surprise, and to explore a nonlinear and mysterious awakening. We need to exercise our creativity daily—as a powerful incantation of feminist faith, joy, community, and wonder.
One feminist way to tap into that kind of creative power is to remember how women, nonbinary, and genderqueer folks in our kinship lines enjoyed their creativity. For example, the bird/open book in the Feminism School logo is from an embroidered bird on a skirt my Grandmother made for my mom in the 1970s. I now wear the fabulous skirt (you can see it above in the video!). The red on this website matches my favorite color of vintage lipstick to wear from 1945! Or, if you look closely, you can see the stretched diamond shape of my Grandma's baklava, playing with the bird, in the website graphics.
Before Nancy and my work together, Kamya O'Keeffe (who made the ESD workbook designs) originally held space for me to honor my love of textures, twirling, and vintage clothes, and from our partnership on ESD the logo idea was born from the skirt. I also thank Pattie Flint for my photos on this site, and for her supporting the creative infusions at Feminism School from the very beginning. Varner Creative does my videography. Elisabeth Blair (poet, composer, artist) creates the original (viola rich) music for the courses.