To celebrate women’s history month, I want to share an article I published in the Journal of Media and Religion, “From Consensus to Division: Tracing the Ideological Divide Among American Catholic Women 1950-1980.” The abstract follows:
This article examines the changing images of womanhood within two American Catholic publications: Catholic Mind and Catholic Digest. In the early 1950s, the periodicals had similar constructions of women, with a divergence in thought in the 1960s. Catholic Mind wrote very little on women for the majority of the decade. Catholic Digest in the 1960s featured women who worked in traditionally male roles while they also maintained that women’s primary sphere was in the home. The difference between the two publications becomes stark in the 1970s. Catholic Digest leaned conservative to mainstream and focused on women’s roles in home and secular society without asking ecclesial questions. Catholic Mind’s articles on women primarily examined ecclesial roles (e.g., women’s ordination) and demanded equality in the secular world. This fissure in female identity among American Catholics coincides with the political divide in the United States more generally.
I hope thinking about the three decades featured here can get us all thinking about our current notions of womanhood a bit more, too.
I’m very happy to have heard from the University of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society that I was accepted for participation in their April conference. This is a very generous initiative on CSRS’s part as they are paying for all of the expenses of the younger scholars as well as bringing established scholars in to provide feedback on our work. You can read more about the conference (and register to join us!) here.
Kate Yanina DeConinck and I reflected on hospitality in a piece for the USD News Notes. In “Chinese Catholicism — Share the Warmth,” Kate and I talk about experiences of welcome and care we enjoyed when on our immersion trip in China with the USD’s Center for Catholic Thought and Culture. As I said in a previous post, I am very grateful to have enjoyed this opportunity.
The most recent edition of The CARA Report featured two of my projects.
First, my edited collection, Young Adult American Catholics, was featured. The summary highlighted discussed the major parts of the book as well as highlighted the contribution of CARA senior researcher, Mary Gautier, as an example. You can read the report here.
Second, some findings from the report on the USCCB national study of Catholic campus ministers, co-authored with Brian Starks, were also featured; the CARA feature can be viewed here.
As any scholar knows, it is one thing to do research. It is an entirely different task to get your analysis into the hands of the audiences that would most benefit from these findings. Thank you, CARA, for your not only your own important research, but also your generosity in spreading the research of others in the field.
I just got word from our principal investigator, Tricia Bruce at the University of Notre Dame, that we have received the funding for a project examining Americans’ attitudes on abortion. The McGrath Institute for Church Life of the University of Notre Dame will be funding this important work.
In a nutshell: The vast majority of the literature we have on Americans’ attitudes on abortion is from surveys; these tend to offer respondents forced choice/close-ended sorts of questions, which lack the depth or subtleties that may better characterize their true thinking on the issue. The studies that allow respondents to elaborate their beliefs in their own words tend to focus on activists (who are generally not representative of your “typical” American in their position or level of commitment). Using interviews in conjunction with the extant survey data, this study will help us better understand the tensions people navigate and the moral values they tap into when it comes to the abortion issue, as well as illuminate what’s going on behind the survey data.
I just returned from an amazing faculty immersion trip in Xi’an, Shijiazhuang and Beijing. Big thanks to the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego. It was such a well-organized trip. We got to experience important educational and Catholic sites–schools, seminaries, and Matteo Ricci’s grave–and learn much of what it means to be a Catholic in China. Additionally, we attended cultural shows, ate amazing food, and saw some of the significant historical sites in Northern China. It was a very enriching experience.
Here I am pictured with Kate Yanina DeConinck, an anthropologist of religion from USD’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies, on the Great Wall. Quite the view; thank you, CCTC!
Here comes a 2-for-1 post.
1) I had a great time at my alma mater at the Jesuit School of Theology last Thursday. I had a very good meeting with the new GTU president, Rabbi Daniel Lehmann, to hear the projects the GTU is moving forward with. I also got to meet with a first-year doctoral student; look for Porsia’s work on sociology of Catholicism soon! Later that evening I had a beautiful experience at the liturgy remembering the lives of the four American churchwomen. Then I presented, to new and old friends, on studying and ministering to young adult Catholics. The following day I took the train to the Santa Clara Faith Formation Conference and got to give two presentations on my book. Thanks for sponsoring me for this, Paulist Press!
2) If you are a fan of podcasts, NCR just finished a great series on Jewish perspectives of Catholicism. I was included as a sort of capstone of this, weighing in on what an outsider’s perspective can offer, as well as some concluding thoughts on polarization among U.S. Catholics. My interview begins at 25:20.