On October 7, 2017, five distinguished panelists will speak at a one-day event: the Rosemary Radford Ruether Conference for Justice and Peace. Co-sponsored by the Friends of Sabeel—North America (FOSNA), Claremont Area FOSNA, Claremont School of Theology, and the Women’s Studies in Religion program at Claremont Graduate University, the conference will be held at Pilgrim Place (Decker Hall)–the retirement community for folks serving in religious or charitable organizations where Dr. Ruether currently resides.
Dr. Ruether is widely known as a pioneer of Christian feminist theology and ecofeminism and has enjoyed a long career as a prolific scholar, teacher, and activist in the Roman Catholic Church. A graduate of Scripps College (BA: Philosophy) and Claremont Graduate School (MA: Ancient History, PhD: Classics and Patristics), she is the Carpenter Emerita Professor of Feminist Theology at Pacific School of Religion and the GTU, the Georgia Harkness Emerita Professor of Applied Theology at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, and a visiting professor of feminist theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University.
Dr. Ruether’s Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology (1983) and Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing (1992) are widely regarded as classics in the field. Other notable publications among her 46 books include work on historical theology (viz., Women and Redemption: A Theological History (1998), Goddesses and the Divine Feminine: A Western Religious History (2005)), interreligious encounters (Religious Feminism and the Future of the Planet: A Buddhist-Christian Conversation (2001), Integrating Ecofeminism, Globalization, and World Religions (2005)), and the Israel-Palestine conflict (viz., The Wrath of Jonah: The Crisis of Religious Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict (2002)).
Beyond Dr. Ruether’s many accolades, I’ve long been impressed with Rosemary’s active mentorship and generous support of the next generation of feminist scholars. Since working at Claremont School of Theology from 2009 onwards, I have seen her serve on countless qualifying exam and dissertation committees of my students and, in several cases, write the forward to their first books. Longtime readers of this blog (Feminism and Religion) may recall that Rosemary supported it from the very start, including by authoring our “What is Feminism?” section. For me personally, Rosemary is 2-2 in saying “yes” to my requests–that she guest-lecture in my Introduction to Christian Ethics course and serve as the respondent to a panel I had helped to organize on “Thinking Animals, Rethinking Race, Ethnicity, and Religion” at the American Academy of Religion (2012).
About the Conference
According to FOSNA, the purpose of the conference is to “honor Rosemary’s distinguished career dedicated to justice and peace, and to hear the voices of others advocating now for justice and peace in the Middle East.” Following a severe stroke last year that left her partially paralyzed and unable to speak, it is FOSNA’s hope that Rosemary might be present for some portion of the conference and, most importantly, that “the rest of us…carry on with the same passion [she] had for many years for justice and peace for the Palestinians.”
Speakers will include Princeton theology professor emerita Jane Dempsey Douglass, FOSNA theology consultant Don Wagner, Churches for Middle East Peace executive director Mae Elise Cannon, and Kairos USA program director Mark Braverman. The banquet will feature FOSNA founder Naim Ateek, the first to articulate a Palestinian theology of liberation (cf. Ateek’s Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation (1989), with a forward by Rosemary).
The cost for the general public to attend the full conference and banquet is $80; Pilgrim Place residents, $60; students $30. Those wishing to attend only the banquet and Ateek’s talk will be charged $30. A box lunch will be available for $6.75. After September 13, the price of registration increases by $5. Please follow these links for the conference website (including information about accommodations), registration, and the conference flier.
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Grace Yia-Hei Kao is Associate Professor of Ethics and Co-Director of the Center for Sexuality, Gender, and Religion at Claremont School of Theology. She is the author of Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World (Georgetown University Press, 2011) and co-editor, with Ilsup Ahn, of Asian American Christian Ethics (Baylor University Press, 2015). Learn more about her and her work on her personal website.