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Week #8 Reading Discussion Questions

Reading Discussion Questions for WTV 3: Self in Relation

Focus your reading on the articles referred to in the questions below (we will only be discussing the intro and four articles.). Read Umansky, Daly, Harrison, Goldenberg, and Keller if you have interest or as time permits. You can also look at them to see if possible paper topics arise for your final paper (more on that to come). Read Goldenberg particularly if you choose a topic or writers from a Jungian or archetypal psychology perspective.

1. Introduction: (173) Contrast the relational, changeable, embodied self of feminist thought to the disembodied, unchanging self of traditional Western thought.

2. Womanist Theology: (179-180) What is a ‘womanist’? Why is there a need for a distinctive African-American understanding of women’s issues?
-- (180-183) What are some particular dimensions/specifics of ‘womanist’ thinking?
-- What method of doing theology arises from a womanist perspective? (183-186)

3. Uses of the Erotic: (208) For Audre Lorde, what is ‘the erotic’ and how is it contrasted to ‘the pornographic’?
-- How is the erotic connected to women’s spirituality and power?
-- (209 bottom +) How does ‘the system’ stifle the erotic?
-- (210 bottom +) What are some of the roles of the erotic for Lorde?
-- (211 +) Why is the erotic feared?
-- (212 +) How will being in touch with the erotic bring change?

4. Women’s Leadership in Haitian Voudou: (226) In what ways is Vodou a woman-friendly tradition, according to Brown?
-- (226 +) How has women’s experience and perspectives shaped Vodou?
-- 227 +) The official belief is that the person in a trance is not conscious of the actions of the visiting diety/spirit. How does Brown interpret what is going on?
-- (229 +) What is the importance of dancing/movement in response to African drumming? (230 +) How does the principle of participation play out in Vodou ritual?
-- 233 +) What is the social purpose of having many ruling spirits in Vodou? How does Vodou practice contribute to self in community?

5. On Mirrors, Mists, and Murmurs: (235 +) After reading this article, go back and think about which issues from this article seem common to other writers on women’s religion you have read.
-- Which issues seem unique to Asian or Asian-American women, as Brock articulates them?
-- Given Brock’s background in Japanese culture, are there commonalities that may cut across Asian women’s experience, or might individuals from other Asian backgrounds feel she is making generalizations? (This speaks to women’s writing about ‘women’s experience’ - to what degree is experience shared, and to what extent is it individual.)
-- (238 +) Pay attention to Brock’s discussion of the impact of Buddhism on Asian women, even for those who are Christians. What do you take from this discussion about Buddhism? What questions about Buddhism does this discussion raise in your mind?
-- (240 +) Why does Brock feel that Asian-American women hold the value of community especially high?
-- (241 +) How does the underlying historic tradition of shamanism provide a resource for Asian-American women?