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Feminist theology and ethics explored

September 22, 2008

Feminist theology and ethics explored

An expert on feminist theology, feminist ethics and theological anthropology will deliver the 2008 David and Marilyn Knutson and Department of Religion Lecture at Pacific Lutheran University. Susan Ross will speak on “Seeking Light and Beauty: Women, Justice and Sacramentally” on Monday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in Xavier Hall, Nordquist Lecture Hall, off Park Avenue South. Ross is a professor of theology and faculty scholar at Loyola University-Chicago. In addition to teaching classes in the graduate and undergraduate theology programs, she also teaches in the Women’s Studies Program, the Institute of Pastoral Studies and the Catholic Studies Program.

“I’ll be talking about the ways that beauty has been understood as a way to find God, how traditional ways of seeing beauty have objectified women and made beauty something ‘above’ the world, and how women’s practices of beauty – in the past and present – suggest ways of linking beauty and justice,” Ross said.

“While as a Catholic, I will draw on the Catholic tradition, this lecture has pushed me to consider how the Lutheran tradition also has a wonderful tradition of beauty, particularly in its music but also in Luther’s ‘earthiness,’” she said.

Ross has published numerous books, articles, chapters, and book reviews regarding theology, particularly on topics that include women and the Eucharist, embodiment, feminist theology and feminist ethics.

She is the author of “For the Beauty of the Earth: Women, Sacramentality and Justice” (2006), “Extravagant Affections: A Feminist Sacramental Theology,” (1998), and the co-editor of “Broken and Whole: Essays on Religion and the Body” (1995).

Ross’ expertise in feminist theology has been recognized throughout the theology profession as she has been invited to present lectures and presentations at numerous institutions, conferences, and workshops. She also received the College Theology Society Book of the Year Award in 1999, the Ann O’Hara Graff Award from the Women’s Seminar of the Catholic Theological Society of America in 2001, and an Honorable Mention for Best Gender Issues Book from the Catholic Press Association in 2007.

Ross received her B.A. in 1972 from Manhattanville College in New York and earned her M.A. in 1976 and her Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of Chicago Divinity School. She taught theology at St. Norbert College from 1980 until 1983 and at Duquesne University from 1983 until 1985 before moving to her current position at Loyola University Chicago. At Loyola, Ross became a full professor in the theology department in 2002 and the director of the Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, Center for Women and Leadership in 2006.

Established in 2005, the David and Marilyn Knutson Lecture honors and continues the contributions to PLU of alumnus and longtime religion faculty member David R. Knutson and his wife Marilyn. Inspired by David Knutson’s deeply faithful, intellectually rigorous, world-engaged theological vision, the annual lectureship was made possible through a generous gift from Marilyn Knutson.

David Knutson’s vision guides the lectureship and, under its auspices, each year the Department of Religion brings to campus a lecturer who works critically and creatively out of the historical, scriptural and theological resources of a living faith tradition, bringing them into conversation with the major questions and challenges of our time.