M.A. Ethnic Studies (UC San Diego, 2017)
M.A. Religious History (Yale, 2011)
B.A. Westmont College (2003)
What motivates your work as a feminist scholar, teacher, and writer?
My own contemplative practices—including my creative process as a writer—have always been central to my journey as an academic researcher. 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.
And in the process, I support people to find their voice, to write beautiful things, and to make art of all expressions. I myself love vintage texts and textiles—both feminist writings handed down across generations and vintage clothing. I love mixing time periods, genres, and ways of knowing, and using design and textures to preserve the old alongside embracing creating something new.
Where do you live?
NYC, a place I dearly love. But I am also bi-coastal at heart with west coast commitments.
What was your training for the body of research you teach at Feminism School?
My training was unusually interdisciplinary and extensive.
I hold a Ph.D. and M.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego. Before this research, I did 2 years of additional doctoral study at the University of British Columbia in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice. Prior to that, I was a Z Marshall Crane Merit Scholar at Yale Divinity School, where I graduated summa cum laude with an M.A. in Religious History, and also served as a Postgraduate Fellow in Gender Equity and Policy for Yale University. At the very beginning of my academic training, I earned a B.A. summa cum laude in English from Westmont College in 2003, and then studied Counseling Psychology for 3 years at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.
I am grateful to have learned from so many scholars and teachers along the journey of such extended education—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.
In the website graphics and course workbooks, almost all the images have the pattern of this bird/book in various murmurations, as well as the long diamond shape of my Grandma's baklava.
The bird/book represents the most important idea of Feminism School—that we unfurl from the creativity of women in the past to re-envision our future and that we hold our creative lineages sacred.
Many creatives helped midwife Feminism School—in addition to the scholars who trained me.
The incredibly talented visual artist, Nancy Guerrera, made the art of Feminism School to represent layers, emergence, and movement, as well as to tend to my generational connection to my grandmother's creativity.
Art matters for feminist life together—for how we root into our creativity is how we will re-image and reshape the world. All systems of oppression attempt to restrict our imaginations.
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.
Before Nancy and my creative 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 from the very beginning. Jeremy at Varner Creative does my videography. Elisabeth Blair (poet, composer, artist) creates the original music for the courses.