AARWR Women's Caucus
Who are We?
The Women's Caucus is committed to cultivating a safe space for free and open expression. We advocate for the inclusion of marginalized voices in the region and the academic field, including, but not limited to women.
Please join us, suggest and participate.
We are in this together!
The mission of the Women's Caucus is to provide a forum where women, their allies and those they are allied to can support and encourage one another as we create dialogue, honor difference, listen and learn, challenge and be challenged, and discover together what justice we can create.
We are dedicated to the advancement of women inside and outside of the academy, giving special attention to women's voices in the field of religion and the challenges diverse women of our region face.
Towards these ends, the Women's Caucus hosts a pre-conference event each year at the AARWR Annual Meeting and a business meeting. We are currently working to create more opportunities for ongoing participation and collaboration within the caucus.
If you have any questions or would like to learn how you can be involved with the Women's Caucus please do not hesitate to contact the current Women's Caucus Liaison Dr. Yuria Celidwen
Links and Resources
Women’s Caucus Virtual Event
Friday, March 19, 2021 - 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Women’s Wisdom and the Ways of Resilience
Delores Mondragón is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. She/Her/Ella identifies as a Two-Spirit Chickasaw Chicana military veteran, grandmother, and student of Native American and Indigenous Religious Tradition. Lola is a community drum-keeper, singer, and a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara in the Department of Religious Studies.
Dr. Yuria Celidwen is of Nahua and Maya descent from the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. She co-chairs the Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit at the AAR-WR. Her academic work is on the intersection of Indigenous Studies, Cultural Psychology, and Contemplative Studies. She focuses on the experience of self-transcendence and its manifestation as compassion. Her focus is Indigenous Contemplative Traditions of the World. www.yuriacelidwen.com
Women have a remarkable capacity for strengthening support systems and empower our communal spaces in times of crisis. Women heal, restore, recover, and nourish through and in community. Women transmit knowledge and recontextualize traditions offering new ways of relating with an ever-changing and increasingly challenging environment.
This Women’s Caucus Event explores contemplative practice as a way to reconnect and rely on the image of the female divine to discover restoring strategies to adapt and cope with ecological demise, health crisis, and systemic and structural threats. We come together to discuss how to approach the process of restoration and its integration in our works as grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunties, friends, and scholars of religions. By creating communities of care and support, we stand as an act of resistance in the struggle for justice.
Moral injuries and the striving towards liberation from them, through rematriation, is central in healing subsequent generations. Through the resurgence of rematriating Indigenous Two-Spirit ways of being and knowing, we are able to embody knowledges and learn to respect, appreciate, and legitimize knowledges and Peoples often silenced through passive denial and indifference. How can we shift from only bringing Indigenous knowledges into the academy for mostly foreign consumption and shift instead towards an active engagement in building relationships of reciprocity with Indigenous and Native American communities? How can we move from practices where leaders and others believe that land acknowledgement is enough to quench communities whose genocide has not allowed full contextualization for their state of despair, resurgence, or acquisition of lands stolen to house academic institutions? How are we complicit in colonization and what can we change to support the resurgence of rematriating ways of being?
The AAR Western Region Women’s Caucus event is gender-inclusive, free and welcomes all people of goodwill to participate in this restorative work.
For link and registration please contact Dr. Yuria Celidwen
Women’s Caucus Event
C A N C E L L E D due to COVID-19
Resistance to the Distortions of Sexual Power
Process Meeting and Ritual Against Sexual Harassment in Academia: Towards Perspective, Clarity and Accountability
Friday, March 1, 2019 - 09:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Coor 3323
Map – Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
You are invited to the Women’s Caucus process meeting to challenge the distortions of perceptions between sexuality and power in Academia. This meeting is a safe space to discuss the power dynamics and power differentials that are generated in an academic setting, and how they impact our interactions in our professional settings. We aim to create awareness of and to prevent the behaviors considered as sexual harassment. We work towards creating an organization that acts accordingly to its professional ethics, with a living and sustained practice that resists the perpetuation of an oppressive climate of denial and privilege. Join the discussion and contemplative ritual to challenge the culture of ambivalence and denial, and the permissive attitudes towards unwanted sexual advances in academia.
If you have felt uncomfortable at someone’s advances, do not dismiss your feelings thinking you have misinterpreted someone’s intentions. Your perception is what matters. Honor it, process it, report it, and be part of the change to hold each other accountable.
The AAR Western Region Women’s Caucus event is gender-inclusive, free and welcomes all people of goodwill to participate in this imperative restorative work. Registration is available at the door, but RSVP is encouraged and much appreciated.
Friday, March 23, 9:30 to 12:00 p.m.
Encountering and Doing Justice to Environments
Internal and External, Known and Othered
Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, CA
Earth-Based Sound Meditation Practice
Dr. Celidwen co-chairs the Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit AAR-WR. Her academic work is on the intersection of Indigenous Studies, Cultural Psychology, and Contemplative Studies. She focuses on the experience of self-transcendence and its manifestation as compassion. Her focus is Indigenous Contemplative Traditions of the World.
Dr. Sarah Robinson-Bertoni is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion and the Environment, Pacific Lutheran University
Past Ecology and Religion Unit Chair, American Academy of Religion, Western Region; Religion and Food Steering Committee Member, American Academy of Religion; and Climate Reality Leadership Corps Member
For this lightly facilitated workshop, you are invited to bring an idea, proposal, draft, or paper to develop. There will be time for contemplative practice, conversation, writing, and informal snacks. Although all projects are welcome, participants will consider issues of solidarity, social justice, environmental justice, religion/science, feminist science, ecofeminism, and ecological feminisms in relation to the study of religion and theologies. Contemporary scholarship can renew textures in the North American feminist scholarly canvas, a biodiverse and culturally diverse landscape of inter-religious meaning-making where human beings continue to do theoretical, theological, and material work to heal the earth under our feet, the air we breathe, the increasingly mercurial skies above us, and the interconnected human and other-than-human lives with whom we share this beloved, common home.
Friday, March 17, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Intersectionality, Solidarity, and Mindful Attention:
A Presentation and Discussion about De-humanization, Dignity, Community Sustainability, and Ultimately Flourishing
University of the West, Rosemead, California
Special Guest Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC), Co-author (with Susan Smalley, PhD) of “Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness” (2010)
Sarah Robinson-Bertoni, Ecology and Religion Co-Chair and Women’s Caucus Chair and Liaison to the Board, American Academy of Religion, Western Region
This global, national, and local historical moment presents particular challenges, which may be transformed and engaged actively through cultivating understanding of intersectionality, solidarity, and mindful attention. With respect to our Buddhist hosts at the University of the West and the broader AAR Western Region conference theme of “Religion, Race, and Racism,” this interactive presentation will offer time for quiet reflection, active discussion, and scholarly engagement with aspects of this historical moment that call for moral leadership. The tri-partite themes can contribute toward navigating a moral compass toward greater respect for human dignity, ecological wholeness, and attentiveness to those most marginalized and victimized. As much of Women’s Studies in Religion has shown, scholarship is not value-free, but rather can be part of a larger arc of work toward worthwhile goals of compassion, justice, and the inextricably linked health of all human beings and our irreplaceable, living world, prioritizing the need to attend to the concrete, lived realities of those who suffer most.
Friday, April 1, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
“Grounding the Future of Religious Studies at the Regional and National Level”
Mixer and Panel, Caucus Collaboration
Aloft Hotel Tucson University
Max Strassfeld, Professor of Rabbinic Literature, History of Sexuality, and Religious Studies Theory and Method, University of Arizona, Judaic Studies, Institute for LGBT Studies; Member of the Status of LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer) Persons in the Profession AAR Working Group
Elizabeth Ursic, Professor of Religious Studies, Mesa Community College, Co-chair of the national-level Women’s Caucus of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literatures
Roy Whitaker, Professor of American Religious Diversity, San Diego State University
Co-sponsored by the Women’s Caucus, Queer Caucus, and the Graduate Student Professional Development Unit
Catering generously sponsored by the AAR Western Region Board and Anonymous Donors. Mixer hosted in collaboration with the Southwest Symposium for Contemplative Pedagogies
Please note: For the 2016 conference, this collaborative evening event replaced the Women’s Caucus pre-conference workshop and the Queer View film event, both of which usually occur as separate pre-conference events on Friday.
Women’s Caucus/ Queer Caucus Collaborative Pre-Conference Workshop: Who “Gets” to be a Feminist Now?
Not everyone has been included in the label “feminism” historically, nor does everyone want to be. Yet, the word feminism has far reaching political implications in society, popular culture, the schools that we attend/ at which we teach, etc.. Asking “Who ‘gets’ to be a feminist now,” the WC and QC hope to interrogate not only the meaning of feminist identity, but also the ways in which we practice and define our own work for justice-making, 'feminist' or not.
Who ‘gets’ to fight for particular visions of justice, why, and how? What does the “fight” look like today? What does it look like in our region? Who or what sets these standards, and how does this impact the work that we do?
"Inheriting Our Mother’s Gardens": Trans/lating, Trans/planting and Tran/forming Life
Moderator, Theresa Yugar, Claremont Graduate University
Introduction: Sakena Young-Scaggs, Arizona State University
Robin Owens, Mount Saint Mary's College
April Frykenberg, Claremont Graduate University
Jung Ja (Joy) Yu, Claremont School of Theology
Ann Hidalgo, Claremont School of Theology
Translating Feminist Theory into Praxis: Strategies for Grassroots Movement and Collaboration among Allied Communities
Moderator, Theresa Yugar, Claremont Graduate University
Cristina Rose Smith, California Institute of Integral Studies
"Bioregionalism and Collaboration: Allies in the Ventura County Grassroots Community."
Michelle Marie Haayes, California State University, Long Beach
"First and Third World Women Making Contributions Beyond Borders"
Fr. Guillermo Garcia, Mount Saint Mary's College
"Negotiating Hospitality: Collaboration with Groups Working for Social Justice"
Living Texts: Celebrating Feminist Perspectives on Theo/alogy, Authority, and the Sacred in the Academy
Moderators, Theresa Yugar and Sara Frykenberg
(Group photo from the 2012 Women's Caucus Pre-Conference Event)
Session 1: Student Perspectives
Corinna Guerrero, Graduate Theological Union
Elise M. Edwards, Claremont Graduate University
Amanda Pumphrey, Claremont Graduate University
Session 2: Diverse Professional Perspectives
Souad T. Ali, Arizona State University
Alka Arora, California Institute of Integral Studies
Sara Frykenberg, Mount Saint Mary's College
2011 Defining Feminism Across Generations
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