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In Defense of Women's Minds

I was drawn to study feminism because of what I learned in the year 2000 (I know, 22 years ago!).

I learned in a philosophy class in college that there was something called epistemology—or a theory of knowledge—and that in Cartesian (Western) epistemology the body was not only seen as irrational, but women were seen as more embodied.

And thus, we get the formulas:

Women=the body=irrational
(and too much thinking will harm their uterus)

(and therefore men should rule the world)

In The Emotional Self-Defense Course, I talk about my feminist awakening being in the context of this philosophy class in which a Christian woman professor with two doctorates (and no wedding ring) broke all this nonsense down.

What if love is dismantling all oppression?

Remembering bell hooks

December 17, 2021
Like many of you, I saw the news of bell hooks dying this week and felt all the waves of grief.

When I saw the news post on Twitter, I had a document open on my computer in which I was drafting a description of my writing, research, and teaching—and I was writing about how it was bell hooks who had modeled for me a critical pedagogy grounded in relationship, love, honesty, and connecting the political, the economic, the spiritual, the interpersonal, and the intra-psychic.

Her work on love and justice and healing made the connections. She saw the value of connecting the therapeutic to the political. She believed in intimacy—but also that for intimacy to be truthful, it needed an undoing of patriarchy and white supremacy and capitalism for all genders to thrive. She believed in Black feminist partnerships with white women, and she required open honest communication and accountability. She believed in healing heterosexuality as a historically oppressive system, but it could not be done unless men showed up for their own healing and accountability..

How Jonathan Edwards Studied 12 Hours a Day

(and became a famous white man who taught on God)

When I teach on invisible labor in my classes (and specifically in the course Caliban and the Witch), I am hoping to help people make more connections between whose labor supports whose knowledge production.

Said another way: How much of the "knowledge" revered at the centers of canons of thought was created through stealing the lives of others?

For example, when I was an MA student at Yale (a school built through colonial violence in India and slave labor), I was perplexed by the amount of resources given to studying the archives of Jonathan Edwards. To be sure, Edwards is arguably the most influential theologian in U.S. history. As a Yale alumni (from the 18th century), his papers are there and receive much attention and grant money.

But, why weren't we talking about how he built his body of work?

...What Emerges to be Felt...

(and how the feelings reshape a life)

"There is a great deal at stake when studying knowledges that are systematically disavowed. Part of what is at stake is what emerges to be felt, and how the feelings might re-shape a life.​"

​ These sentences are from my dissertation that I am about to defend next month to officially grab those fancy 3 letters to my name.

​ (It feels like so much more than a dissertation. It's the cumulative work of being in 2 Ph.D. programs, since I did the coursework for a second Ph.D. in Gender Studies before I did my current Ethnic Studies Ph.D., plus 3 MA programs the past 15 years.

So this upcoming dissertation defense is bringing up lots of complex feelings of this whole long challenging but beautiful journey!)

​ Amidst my research in many fields asking many questions, feminist learning for me really comes down to this simple but complicated-to-live idea: