Clarissa Webster Atkinson to Head WSRP

Clarissa Webster Atkinson has agreed to return to HDS to oversee the Women’s Studies in Religion Program while Ann Braude is on leave during academic year 2002-03. Crissy is well known at HDS, having served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Harvard Divinity School from 1987 to 2000, after joining the faculty in the History of Christianity in 1980.

Clarissa Atkinson has been deeply involved with the Women’s Studies in Religion Program from its earliest days. She was one of the first Research Associates when it was still a pre-doctoral program in 1974-1976. In 1984-85 she chaired the WSRP Search Committee, and from 1986-92 served on the Program’s Advisory Board. Together with Constance Buchanan and Margaret Miles, she edited two volumes of essays by program scholars: Immaculate and Powerful: The Female in Sacred Image and Social Reality (Beacon Press, 1985) and Shaping New Vision: Gender and Values in American Culture (UMI Research Press, 1987).

A pioneer in the application of gender analysis to the history of Christianity, she published Mystic and Pilgrim: The Book and the World of Margery Kempe in 1983 and The Oldest Vocation: Christian Motherhood in the Middle Ages in 1991. Her subsequent publications extend her interest in the family from mothers to children, including "'Wonderful Affection': 17th-Century Missionaries to New France on Children and Childhood" in The Child in Christian Thought ed. Marcia Bunge (2001). Her current project moves into the modern period to focus on the construction of memory in 1950s.

Ann Braude will be an Advanced Fellow at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion at Yale during 2002-2003 and will then return to WSRP as Program Director.