restricted access Editors’ Introduction
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Editors’ Introduction

Feminist Studies in Religion, Inc., the umbrella organization that publishes the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion (JFSR), has recently invited feminist scholars and teachers in religion to connect students and younger scholars with pathmakers in the field. The idea is to create interview-based essays, audio pieces, and videos showcasing conversations across generations that explore feminist history and generate new insights that enliven and strengthen feminist work in religion. In this issue we are happy to publish the first of these interviews, here between Jane Schaberg, author of The Illegitimacy of Jesus, The Resurrection of Mary Madgalene, and many articles in feminist studies in the Christian Testament, and Christine Mitchell, a student at Harvard Divinity School. As we go to press, we note with great sadness that Jane passed away on April 17, 2012. Her work on Christian origins is fiercely feminist and powerfully creative. On May 13, 2012, we also lost Ada María Isasi-Díaz. A pioneer of mujerista theology and ethics, Ada María challenged scholarship to be accountable to La Lucha. Both of these women will be greatly missed in the field and by the many people who loved and learned alongside them. With the launching of Across Generations, we honor their work.

We invite all of our readers to visit the new Feminist Studies in Religion, Inc., website ( to learn more about the Across Generations project. The website also offers new tools for exploring feminist studies in religion such as a searchable index of articles in JFSR and ongoing blogs and online conversations. Scholars wishing to submit articles for review can now use the electronic submission tools available there. It seems fitting that we inaugurate the Across Generations project with this issue. Many of the articles and round-table essays explore the distances and proximities between generations, be they between older and more recent scholarship, between mothers and children, or between teachers and students. Despite its often forward-looking orientation, feminist work for change has always been a complex weaving of continuities, negations, revisions, and renewals. The articles and roundtables in this issue demonstrate the ways that past, present, and future collide and collaborate in feminist spaces of discourse and action.

The issue begins with Tudor Balinisteanu’s tracing of the Goddess in un-expected places, that is, in two cyborg-goddess figures in U.S. popular culture: [End Page 1] Tank Girl from the popular comic book series by the same name and the Borg Queen from First Contact, a film set in the Star Trek universe. According to Balinisteanu, the Borg Queen is an Enlightenment expression of the terror of a union between women and nature that threatens to undermine the rule of male warriors and scientists over a hierarchical body politic. In this frame of reference, notions of social collectivity and human-technology integration must be repudiated in favor of hierarchy, individualism, and human dominance over nature and technology. By contrast, Tank Girl’s subjectivity is less collective than heteroglossic, carnivalesque, gender performative, and intersubjective with various nonhuman entities. In this sense, and according to Balinisteanu’s analysis, Tank Girl evokes “the Goddess tradition of balance and interdependence between society and nature, while also being compatible with contemporary needs of adaptation to technology” (6).

It is a long way from the sci-fi future to nineteenth-century India, but in her article, Parinitha Shetty also finds a creatively disruptive figure in Pandita Mary Ramabai. A Brahmin woman educated in Sanskrit and involved in organizing women’s associations, in many ways Ramabai embodied the Orientalist fantasy of the ancient learned Vedic woman and participated in reforming projects in line with the elite male reformers of the time. Her conversion to Christianity in 1883, however, did not result in an uncomplicated valorization of Christianity. Rather, Shetty’s analysis of Ramabai’s writings and activities finds her speaking from her multiply liminal space of Indian, Brahmin, widow, and Protestant Christian. From there, according to Shetty, Ramabai critiqued dominant traditions and practices of both the colonizers and the colonized and opened new spaces within and between them.

Mary Dunn’s article on Marie...

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