WATER Recommends: April 2016

Tap into what we’re reading at the WATER office with the following resources.

All of the books we recommend are available for the borrowing from the Carol Murdock Scinto Library in the WATER office. Check out librarything.com for our complete collection. We are grateful to the many publishers who send us review copies to promote to the WATER community.

Ahmed-Ghosh, Huma, editors. CONTESTING FEMINISMS: GENDER AND ISLAM IN ASIA. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2015 (283 pages, $85.00).

Ahmed-Ghosh gathers the voices of many Muslim feminist scholars in this beautifully crafted anthology of essays on feminism, agency, and empowerment in Muslim women’s lives, in Asia and in the Western diaspora. In their own voices, these authors redefine power and feminism for their own contexts. An educational, insightful, and powerful read.

Carbine, Rosemary P. and Kathleen J. Dolphin, editors. WOMEN, WISDOM, AND WITNESS: ENGAGING CONTEXTS IN CONVERSATION. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012 (292 pages, $31.19).

It is not easy for Catholic women theologians to get a hearing. Fortunately, the Madeleva Lecture and the New Voices Seminar at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana are one place for beginning conversations. Theological essays range from sex-trafficking and feminicide to navigating the health care system and talking about healthy sex on college campuses. Rachel Bundang, Rosemary P. Carbine, LaReine-Marie Mosely, Emily Reimer-Barry, among others, use their voices to broach topics that need critical attention especially in Catholic circles where many women’s wisdom, witness, and well-being are honored in the breach.

Cleves, Rachel Hope. CHARITY AND SYLVIA: A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN EARLY AMERICA. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014 (267 pages, $17.95).

These two women living in rural America circa 1850 had no Supreme Court or Freedom to Marry support. They did it the old fashioned way with just love and courage. A fine read.

Kujawa-Holbrook, Sheryl A., translation and annotation. HILDEGARD OF BINGEN: ESSENTIAL WRITINGS AND CHANTS OF A CHRISTIAN MYSTIC – ANNOTATED & EXPLAINED. Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2016 (186 pages, $15.74).

An insightful introduction, wisely chosen texts, clear, concise annotation, and resources galore make this a new go-to volume for Hildegard scholars both novice and experienced. Kujawa-Holbrook, an excellent teacher, instructs readers on how to handle the texts of twelfth century Benedictine Hildegard of Bingen on the nun’s own terms not theirs. Hildegard’s affirmation, “All praise be to you, as is your due, O Wisdom!” applies here.

Marshank, Sarah. BEING SELFISH: MY JOURNEY FROM ESCORT TO MONK TO GRANDMOTHER. Ashland, OR: BookBaby, 2015 (350 pages, $19.99).

Following an unconventional path to Self-enlightenment, Marshank journeys through Orthodox Judaism, Native American practices, sexuality workshops, celibacy, and an endless number of baths. The raw, authentic, honesty that shines through this memoir offers a connection to readers young and old, spiritual and secular.

Mercedes, Anna. POWER FOR: FEMINISM AND CHRIST’S SELF GIVING. London: T&T Clark International, 2011 (168 pages, $32.95).

Christian conceptions of self-sacrifice, service, and care have been challenged by many feminists as detrimental and oppressive to women. In response, Mercedes, drawing on theological and scholarly texts, looks at self-giving as an empowering concept. Given how problematic these issues have been for women in practice, this theoretical discussion is just a beginning which requires a great deal of scrutiny.

Song, Angeline M.G. A POSTCOLONIAL WOMAN’S ENCOUNTER WITH MOSES AND MIRIAM. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 (262 pages, $95).

The academic and the personal intertwine seamlessly in this in-depth look at Exodus 2. Song connects empathetically with Moses and Miriam through her own story as an adoptee of an ethnic minority, a single woman in colonial, patriarchal Singapore. Postcolonial studies and focalization methodology are useful tools. Meant for a specialized audience, this study would enhance an advanced biblical interpretation course.

Thistlethwaite, Susan Brooks. WOMEN’S BODIES AS BATTLEFIELD: CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY AND THE GLOBAL WAR ON WOMEN. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 (224 pages, $30).

A hard book to read, this important volume puts the matter squarely: women’s and girls’ bodies are battlefields in an ongoing war. Christian theology, even in its pacifist articulations, can be part of the problem. Thislethwaite addresses these terrible matters with analysis and strategic suggestions. Let the work of just “peacebuilding” rise to the top of an agenda for safety and the common good.

Listen to our April 2016 WATERtalk with Susan Thislethwaite to learn more about this volume.

Tsomo, Karma Lekshe, editor. EMINENT BUDDHIST WOMEN. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2014 (267 pages, $29.95).

Given the many centuries of male-dominated history, Tsomo’s collection of essays by Buddhist practitioners sharing the experiences and accomplishments of Buddhist women is wonderfully welcome. This invaluable selection of narratives adds immeasurably to a nuanced understanding of Buddhism in all of its complexity.

Tucker, Mary Evelyn and John Grim, editors. LIVING COSMOLOGY: CHRISTIAN RESPONSES TO JOURNEY OF THE UNIVERSE. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016 (338 pages, $23.21).

The hundredth birthday of “geologian” Thomas Berry brought scholars and activists to Yale to ponder the impact of “the universe story.” Essays by Ilia Delio, Heather Eaton, Mary E. Hunt, Catherine Keller, Chris Loughlin, Patricia Siemen, Mary Evelyn Tucker,  among others, demonstrate diverse and insightful responses to this popular narrative.

Valdés, Vanessa K. OSHUN’S DAUGHTERS: THE SEARCH FOR WOMANHOOD IN THE AMERICAS. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2014 (209 pages, $23.95).

An introductory sampling of poetry and novels by women from across the Americas, especially Brasil, Cuba, and the U.S., who incorporate Yoruba religion into their writings. Women find voices to construct identities of their whole, complex sexual selves derived apart from the patriarchal Western vision of the female as virgin, mother, or whore.