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Visiting Fellows Named for 2000-01
The Center for the Study of Values in Public Life has named four visiting fellows for the 2000-2001 academic year; they are Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Mary Hunt, Bill McKibben, and Julie Nelson. The Women’s Studies in Religion Program has named five such fellows, who are referred to as visiting lecturers and research associates; they are Sidnie White Crawford, Sue Houchins, Oyeronke Olajubu, Tracy Pintchman, and Traci West.
Gobodo-Madikizela, who was recently a visiting fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy in the Kennedy School of Government, spent three years as a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. After her year at the Divinity School, she will return to South Africa to become director of reconciliation at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. She will use her time at the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life to complete And the Brokenhearted Shall be Healers, a book that makes use of political theory and psychology to examine the dynamic of forgiveness.
Hunt is a co-founder and co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) in Maryland and an adjunct member of the faculty of the Women’s Studies Program at Georgetown University. Her publications include the books Fierce Tenderness: A Feminist Theology of Friendship (1991), From Woman-Pain to Woman-Vision: Writings in Feminist Theology (1989), and Las fida del femminismo alla teologia: The Challenge of Feminism to Theology (1980), edited with Rosino Gibellini.
She will spend her year at the center investigating how activism on issues such as same-sex marriage and the open participation of homosexuals and lesbians in the military can reinforce patriarchal structures by forcing activists to embrace social institutions rather than challenging them.
McKibben is a writer and activist who has been a leader in the environmental movement for the last 10 years. His groundbreaking book The End of Nature (1989) has been published in 19 languages. He is also the author of Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a more Joyous Christmas (1998), Maybe One: A Personal and Environmental Argument for Smaller Families (1998), and The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation (1994). His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Christian Century. At the center, he will investigate how communities of faith can respond to the global-warming crisis and perhaps offer the most effective route into a complex debate that raises the deepest questions of human identity and justice.
Nelson is an associate professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts. Her publications on the relationship between economics and feminism include Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics (1993), edited with Marianne A. Ferber. She will spend her year at the center writing a book on the relationship between questions of knowledge and questions of value, particularly in regard to the issue of “caring labor.” She is interested in improving the quality of intellectual policy debates in economics, and in constructing a more ethically adequate economics.
Crawford, who is chair of the classics and religious studies department at the University of Nebraska, will be visiting lecturer and research associate in Hebrew Bible. She will be working on “Making Women Visible: What the Dead Sea Scrolls Say About Women,” a study of texts from Qumran that illuminate the legal and social standing of women in Second Temple Judaism.
Houchins, who teaches at Union Institute, will be visiting lecturer and research
associate in religion and society. Her project, “Conjuring Identities: Religious Representations of Black Lesbian Women,” is an analysis of the relationship between African diaspora religions and the black female subject, particularly the African-American lesbian subject, and of how black same-sex desire has an impact on cultural productions.
Olajuba, a professor at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria, will be a visiting lecturer and research associate in world religions. In her project, “Veritable Vehicle of Traditions: Women in Yoruba Christianity and Indigenous Religion,” she will be contrasting the place of women in two religions, and examining the role of religion as a cultural tool in the creation of ideas about gender.
Pintchman, a member of the theology faculty at Loyola University, will also be a visiting lecturer and research associate in world religions. She will be working on “Guests at God’s Wedding: Hindu Women Celebrating the Marriage of Krishna and Tulsi,” a study of how Hindu women in the city of Benares conceive of, and observe, a key sacred event.
West, a professor of ethics and African American religion at Drew University, will be visiting lecturer and research associate in ethics. Her project, “Locating Our Worth: Moral Discourse, Spiritual Consequences, and Black Women’s Lives,” will look at how moral and spiritual questions, especially those related to race and gender, are constructed in Christian social ethics.
The Women’s Studies in Religion Program has announced that West is its inaugural Colorado Scholar. This position has been endowed with a gift of $1 million by a group of women in Colorado who believe sustained research on women and religion is crucial to changing social situations that inhibit women’s chances to achieve and lead throughout the world.