I am a religion and gender scholar at the University of Stirling.
Much of my work has addressed the way in which Christianity and biblical texts reflect deep-seated ideas about gender that have changed or sometimes remained the same across the centuries. Feminist and gender scholars – not without some justification – have tended to regard Christianity and the Bible as highly problematic contexts for women and other non-males. The sustaining symbolism of the Christian churches remains unmistakably patriarchal in most cases and its theology can sometimes be explicitly misogynistic. However in my most recent book Because of Beauvoir: Christianity and the Cultivation of Female Genius I try to highlight the ways in which some women have not only survived but thrived in these spaces. To describe this capacity in women for creativity, growth and new birth in unpropitious circumstances, I have appropriated the term ‘female genius’ from the philosopher Julia Kristeva. In my work on SWOAM I am excited by the prospect of discovering many more instances of this capacity and of beginning to build a much richer picture of the work undertaken and the desires sustained by women involved in Scottish missionary ventures of the early 20th century.
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