Teaching Men's Studies in Religion at an All-Women's College.
Abstract: An all-women's college could provide the perfect opportunity to address two important issues: to develop an additional model for teaching men's studies within undergraduate religious studies and to facilitate a collective women's response to profeminist men's studies. To accomplish both these tasks, we piloted a new course at Agnes Scott College during fall semester 1999, entitled "Women, Masculinities, and Religion." This course, including its female participants' responses to men's studies work in religion during the 1990s, constitutes one specific site of the intersection of men's studies scholarship and professional practice, the further exploration of which may both enhance pedagogical conversations within the academy and contribute to the future shape of genuinely profeminist men's studies work within the field of religious studies. To these ends, this paper describes the shape and content of the course, and examines both related pedagogical issues and students' responses to the course design and content.

Key Words: men's studies, women's studies, religious studies, profeminist men, mythopoetic men, marginalized men, AAR, AMSA, JMS, masculinity(ies), pedagogy
Subject: Men's studies (Curricula)
Religion (Study and teaching)
Women's colleges (Curricula)
Author: CLARK, J. MICHAEL
Pub Date: 01/01/2001
Publication: Name: The Journal of Men's Studies Publisher: Men's Studies Press Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2001 Men's Studies Press ISSN: 1060-8265
Issue: Date: Wntr, 2001 Source Volume: 9 Source Issue: 2
Accession Number: 72684386
Full Text: In 1990, the Gay Men's Issues in Religion program unit (founded, 1988) achieved permanent "group" status and the Men's Studies in Religion program unit began, both within the American Academy of Religion (AAR). Two years later, 1992 proved an even more important year: Men's Studies in Religion in the AAR achieved "group" status; the American Men's Studies Association (AMSA) emerged as a distinct organization from its predecessor, the National Organization for Men against Sexism (NOMAS) (see Doyle & Femiano, 1998); The Journal of Men's Studies (JMS) began publication; and HarperSanFrancisco published Kay Leigh Hagen's Women Respond to the Men's Movement. Because she constructed this anthology contemporaneously with the early profeminist work of participants in the AAR, AMSA, and JMS, few essayists in Hagen's volume addressed this nascent material, responding instead to the men's movement(s) of the 1980s and unanimously questioning efforts to "rescue" masculinity from feminist influence--particularly the work of Robert Bly (1990) and other "mythopoetic" men. A more recent collective women's response to AAR, AMSA, or JMS men's work has yet to appear.

By their 1998-99 annual meetings, scholars within both the two AAR program units and AMSA were increasingly advocating making profeminist men's studies work more publicly accessible, especially within undergraduate education, although no formal discussions of pedagogical strategies for undertaking such efforts have yet to be scheduled in these groups. Granted, the impressive set of syllabi, compiled and distributed by Sam Femiano, suggests real progress in this direction; however, very few of these syllabi represent specifically religious studies courses. Most recently, Joanne Urschel (1999) has delineated some of the pedagogical issues that emerge in an undergraduate men's studies course. While again not specific to religious studies, her essay may prove helpful in appraising specifically religious studies approaches to men's studies.

Following my participation in both the 1998 AAR and 1999 AMSA meetings, discussions with my colleague and chair in religious studies (Dr. Tina Pippin) here at Agnes Scott College (Decatur, Georgia) led us both to realize that an all-women's college, such as Agnes Scott, could provide an excellent, and perhaps even unique, opportunity to address both issues: to develop an additional model for teaching men's studies within undergraduate religious studies and to facilitate a more recent collective women's response to profeminist men's studies. To accomplish both these tasks we piloted a new course at Agnes Scott during fall semester 1999, jointly sponsored by the religious and women's studies departments and entitled "Women, Masculinities, and Religion." This course, including its female participants' responses to men's studies work in religion during the 1990s, constitutes one specific site of the intersection of men's studies scholarship and professional practice, the further exploration of which may both enhance pedagogical conversations within the academy and contribute to the future shape of genuinely profeminist men's studies work within the field of religious studies.

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE

Urschel (1999) describes a three-part rationale for undertaking men's studies in the undergraduate curriculum. First of all, she argues that "men's studies provides a balance with women's studies," thus broadening the undergraduate curriculum toward a more complete examination of gender studies writ large. Our cross-listing of this course as both religious studies (RS 220) and women's studies (WS 221) exemplified the Agnes Scott commitment not only to gender studies writ large, but to the larger issues of justice across lines of sex, gender, and sexual orientation with which we regularly engage in our courses (8 students enrolled as women's studies and 16 as religious studies). Second, Urschel rightly insists that "men's studies can correct ... hegemonic masculinity in the academy ... established as normative male experience"; our own examination of the pluriform constructions of masculinity, particularly among marginalized men (native American men, impoverished men, African-American men, Jewish men, and gay men), enabled our students, already well schooled in feminist theory, to further explode the Western cultural equation that normative humanity = white, economically privileged, Christian (Protestant), male humanity. Finally, Urschel stresses the interdisciplinary rationale for this work, calling us to address multiplicity across lines of difference and discipline. Her listing of items such as race, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and age helped us to spot "holes" in our discussions of men's lives: In its pilot form the course did not examine either fathering or aging, perhaps due in part to the particular profeminist religious studies writers selected for the course. Subsequent revisions of the course will need to find ways to include these aspects of men's lives as well.

Our more specific "purpose and rationale" for this course was then included in the course syllabus and discussed by students at length during the opening class session:

To that end, we read numerous essayists in the anthologies edited by Hagen (1992); Boyd, Longwood, and Muesse (1996) and Krondorfer (1996). In addition, we looked in-depth, via student-led discussions, at two nonfiction studies of men (Boyd, 1997) and gay men (Clark, 1999), complemented by discussions of corresponding fictional treatments in drama (Miller, 1949/1996) and prose fiction (Reid, 1973/1995). The specific structure or grouping of these readings will be outlined below.

PEDAGOGICAL ISSUES

Among the four pedagogical issues which she examines, Urschel (1999, p. 2) cites both "the effect of a disproportionate number of female students in the courses and the development of a male perspective and a male voice" and the corresponding "need for movement from men-as-objects to men-as-subjects of study." The pro-woman/anti-man challenge is peculiarly acute at an all-women's college, especially one such as Agnes Scott where many of the students' backgrounds and/or previous coursework have already made it easy enough for them to cast men "in the role of oppressor or symbol of patriarchal oppression" (Urschel, 1999, p. 2). Especially for those students whose exposure to date to the ubiquitous misogyny of Western patriarchal cultures is pushing them toward a reactionary, even self-protective misandry, I suspect my role as a male instructor for this course was tolerated only because of my commitments to nonpatriarchal methods (circles, participatory process, and discussion vs. linear rows and lectures) and, perhaps even more important, because of my clear location as a nonhegemonic and marginalized male in academia (gay, nonChristian, and nontenure-track part-timer). To begin to supplant such nascent misandry and to evoke empathy instead, we spent considerable time in class discussions looking at the real, subjective, individual men in our lives: fathers, boyfriends, other male friends, and other male relatives. Not dissimilarly, whenever my personal knowledge of and/or relationship with one of our essayists made it possible, I shared personal anecdotes about our writers with the class, in order to further underscore their particular subjectivity(ies) as real people who are honestly and sincerely struggling with these issues (even when we may be dissatisfied with those efforts or their conclusions). Finally, during the last week of the semester, one of the more technologically savvy students in the course sat up a video teleconference with one particular author whose text we had by then completed (Boyd, 1997). This opportunity further humanized the course materials by providing an extremely positive, hour-long conversation with a profeminist writer/theologian/ethicist.

Noting the individual, subjective exceptions to the objectifiable mass of "men-as-enemies" gradually enabled even the most cautious students to set aside at least some stereotypes and to better understand the plurality of men's subjective, lived experiences--that we are indeed confronted with a pluriformity of masculinities (cf., Urschel, 1999, p. 3). Certainly, emphasizing the non-monolithic nature of men's studies, the multiplicity of voices, and the personalities of our essayists and editors altogether helped create authority and authenticity for their collective voices in a way which "confronts the hegemonic masculinity tradition of a small and elite group of men [e.g., white, heterosexual, economically privileged men] being held as the norm" (Urschel, 1999, p. 4). The multiplicity of different voices, including the voices of marginalized men, simply reiterated the complexity of men's experiences--the complexity of masculinities, plural (cf., Urschel, 1999, p. 4).

In addition to issues of empathy and multivocal subjectivity, Urschel (1999, p. 2) raises two other pedagogical issues of importance for this course. She notes, for example, both "the imperative need for a historical and cultural context" for the men's studies work we are doing in the classroom and "the need to address the political aspects of men's studies," including the extent to which men's studies addresses social issues and facilitates raised consciousness among men and changed perspectives among students (Urschel, 1999, pp. 10, 7, 3). For this course, "historical and cultural context" was built in from several different directions. As a profeminist scholar/teacher, I have developed the habit over time of beginning topical courses in medias res, starting with women's voices as they enter a disciplinary conversation, then moving backward to examine the men's voices to which women are responding, and then moving forward again. In my annual gender and ecotheology course, for example, I begin with ecofeminist voices addressing primarily male deep ecologists, move back to examine the historically earlier male-dominated conservation movement and the ways in which deep ecology was actually an improvement over that, and then finally move toward more in-depth ecofeminist and subsequent (e.g., gay/lesbian) insights. The same tack worked in this course as well. We began with women's voices, admittedly in part to enable the all-women's class to feel at ease doing men's studies. As we read eleven of the essays in the Hagen (1992) text, we also explored some of the mythopoetic themes that both predated and prompted many of these essays. We made a very conscious decision not to read Robert Bly (1990) himself, lest we contribute anything further to his royalties. "Historical and cultural context" were later provided in a different way, by examining the Judaeo-Christian roots of Western masculinity and the resultant problems hegemonic masculinity has created for various believers within these traditions, including a brief look at the Promise Keepers and their precursors, the Men and Religion Forward Movement (Lippy, 1997). Our final "historical and cultural" moment, one as close as our parents' and grandparents' America, came in our reading the play and viewing the 1985 film version of Arthur Miller' s post-war (1949/1996) Death of a Salesman. The dynamics among the Loman family men, as well as the plight of wife and mother Linda, reverberated through a number of subsequent class discussions.

Unlike the carefully planned contextual work of the course, its sociopolitical possibilities were less clear in advance. As my feminist students continued to affirm their own particular syntheses of the personal and the political (cf., Urschel, 1999, pp. 7, 8), I did observe what I considered an ironic set of responses with potential sociopolitical consequences, at least within the academy. The students expressed a kind of sympathy for Robert Bly and other "poor chaps" so clearly nonfeminist as to be easily assigned to the "enemy camp." In marked contrast, however, they directed considerable anger (and even occasional venom) toward those presumably profeminist men, toward those erstwhile "friends," whom the students felt simply were not getting it right (e.g., Boyd, 1997). Clearly and passionately, the students wanted to push their would-be male allies to do a better job, to think through issues more rigorously and to write more clearly, and, therefore, to really and more thoroughly be profeminist.

COURSE STRUCTURE AND SYLLABUS

While a number of clues to the actual course structure and schedule are already apparent, a brief but more complete description may also be helpful. Beginning with an introductory discussion of rationale, requirements, and readings, the course moved toward a more in-depth examination of methodology(ies), of how profeminist men are currently doing men's studies as this is described in the introductions of our major texts (Boyd, 1997; Boyd, Longwood, and Muesse, 1996; Krondorfer, 1996). At this early point, then, the course offered space for us to hear a number of women's voices responding to the men's movement(s) of the 1980s (Hagen, 1992; N.B.: for specific essayists in all the anthologies, please see the syllabus in the Appendix). We briefly paused to hear early male responses to feminist concerns (cf., Culbertson, 1994) before turning to our first set of "case study" readings (Boyd, 1997, pp. 18-68, 69-97), followed by the major "historical and cultural" contextualization in the course--examining Judaism, Christianity, and the Arthur Miller (1949/1996) play.

After fall break, the course next focused on the experiences and dilemmas of marginalized men: native American men, impoverished and homeless men, African-American men, and gay men, with the linearity of this progression again twice interrupted by returning to our ongoing, student-led "case study" analyses of Boyd's text (1997, pp. 100-143, 146-176). Given my own location as a gay man (cf., Clark, 1992), and because homophobia is both ubiquitous in our culture and part and parcel of the negative way in which hegemonic masculinity is constructed (as not-woman, not-feminine, not-effeminate), the course provided more time and depth of coverage for examining this particular form of marginality, including lesbian-feminist responses (Heyward, 1994; Hunt, 1994) and both fictional (Reid, 1973/1995) and nonfictional (Clark, 1999) "case study" discussions led by students.

Finally, after the Thanksgiving break, the course moved toward closure, examining possible reconstructions of healthier, profeminist masculinities and exploring possible futures for men's studies in religion (cf., Baker-Fletcher, 1999; Boyd, 1999), as well as providing a last "case study" of Boyd's (1997, pp. 177-233) own conclusions. The final class session allowed students to have the last word, to discuss publications that appeared during our semester's work, particularly Susan Faludi's (1999) controversial volume, and to evaluate the course itself. Allowing the course to end fully open to students' voices brought the course full circle, back to a major aspect of its rationale: to test the fruits of profeminist men's studies efforts in religion and to facilitate a collective women's response to those efforts. In the democratic, process-oriented spirit of the course (and, indeed, of the religious studies department at Agnes Scott itself), several students emerged to provide such responses in a more formal manner here, and it is to those responses that I now wish to turn.

STUDENT RESPONSES

BONNIE WOODS, Senior, Religion and Women's Culture (Self-Designed Major)

Steinhem is my generation, and I am currently the mother of two adolescent daughters. Consequently, my perceptions of religion and masculinities may differ significantly from those of the traditionally aged students. Early in the semester, we students realized that to understand the writings that emerged from the men's movement, we needed a "process" of patient and empathetic study in order to move from uproarious laughter at "whiny" men's excuses to an understanding of men's ways of knowing and of learning. Indeed, combining the disciplines of religious studies with men's studies in this process was intriguing to me. Rarely did we lack enthusiasm for discussion, and we even met weekly for lunch throughout the semester. Liberal feminist pedagogy was effective in our classroom as a method of teaching and facilitating.

This interdisciplinary religious studies and women's studies course was one that will remain fresh in my mind for a long time. I will mull over our discussions, and I will reflect on parts of the texts we read. For example, today's men, as a group, do not have an oppressor that one can easily name. The "enemy" of men today is their own perpetuation of male-imaged deities and of a male-run commercial world, as well as their own succumbing to traditional stereotypes of masculinities. I also hope to begin to develop some sort of "solution" that can help the men in my life learn how to live in "right relation" with their world. I think my personal work with teen parents (both mothers and fathers in the gender justice curriculum for the teen parenting class at nearby Decatur High School) is one way I can take the theory of men's studies out of the classroom and into praxis. A more difficult challenge for me is to understand men's connections to a male deity and how that relationship affects men's understandings of entitlement. I question how the patriarchal and hierarchical structure of most mainstream religions sits with most men. Is church a place where "right relation" and androgynous traits can be embraced and encouraged? More important, can and will these traits be accepted by men as worthy characteristics? Will men take these thoughts and transform them into actions as they leave the church property?

CARRIE ANDERSON, Senior, Religious Studies Major

I had never heard of an academic discipline devoted to men's studies before this course. After all, had not my education been inadvertently the study of men throughout my life? I soon realized, however, that all of the reasons I could think of not to participate in the academic study of men stemmed from trust issues. I did not and do not fully trust "men's studies" as a faceless sea of men socialized to be masculine and, therefore, likely socialized to be destructive as well, but I did trust the idea that doing men's studies in a female setting had incredible possibilities; it offered an opportunity to investigate new models for teaching men's studies within the framework of an undergraduate religious studies program. Moreover, the pedagogical methods employed in the course, as well as the socioeconomic, academic, and sexual orientation and even age-range diversity of the class itself, altogether contributed to an atmosphere of empowerment, affirmation, and safety. The class was always held in a circular arrangement that facilitated conversation and that worked to deconstruct any hierarchies either consciously (e.g., the professor as "imparter of knowledge") or unconsciously (e.g., first-year students as somehow "less informed") brought to the classroom. Student-led discussions created a learning environment conducive to peer education and critical dialogue. Instead of traditional tests, four reflection papers, turned in throughout the semester, offered each student the opportunity to interact on paper with the material, with her reactions to it, and with the ways in which the material was in dialogue with her life.

This class also offered us an opportunity to explore relationships with men in our own lives. Like many of the other women in the class, I read the selected materials for each class meeting most often with the image of my father close at hand; daily in discussions I would relate back to my experiences of my father or of other men with whom I am in relationships--friends, lovers, relatives. I was not in constant agreement with any of the authors, of course, and this offered me the opportunity to form my own opinions and to invent my own models. I have found a new passion for being in relationship and dialogue with the men in my life. Indeed, now I have a new appreciation or understanding of male behaviors, opinions, fears, flaws, and misconceptions, as they are direct results of masculine socialization in a patriarchal society.

S. COLLEEN MCCOY, Junior, Religious Studies Major

The first few times I entered our classroom space, I maintained a (healthy) skepticism of men in general, but I was gradually able to assuage that deep-seated hermeneutic of suspicion for long enough to begin to recognize the responsible work profeminist men do and, perhaps more important, to understand the need for a profeminist men's movement. The work led to a paradigm shift in terms of how I understand gender, heteropatriarchy, and the movement toward justice and right relation. I began to see the interconnectedness of the effects of patriarchal socialization on women and men. I now recognize how these structures suppress profeminist men doing the work to end hetero/sexism, classism, and racism and am now also beginning to realize that I must join men struggling with the social constructions that confine them. On two main points I would suggest that men must continue to work: (1) toward a more extensive deconstruction of masculinity, including a deeper wrestling with the interplay between biological maleness and socialized masculinity and (2) toward a more extensive understanding of ecojustice's potential to serve as the larger framework for the work of men's studies.

Men must question and challenge not only rigid constructions of masculinity, but also the very notion of masculinity itself. Backlash against feminism often takes the form of a recovery or revival of femininity. Masculinity recovery or revival is backlash, too. My intention is not to halt the progression of men's studies with "nature versus nurture" questions, but to emphasize that the deconstruction of masculinity should not be taken for granted. Exploring the tension between biological maleness and socialized masculinity is essential for developing the most realistic and reasonable goals for the men's movement. For instance, are men taught to think in linear ways, or is there something genetically inherent in being male that makes linear thinking most logical? If linear thinking is socialized, then the men's movement might work toward dismantling that social construction. If linear thinking is somehow a "natural" male characteristic, then the emphasis might shift to directing the energy of that linear thinking in more positive directions. I certainly expect men to try and understand how women experience socialization and patriarchy, but I also wonder whether I have been trying to make men understand and deal with social injustice the way I deal with it, making the pejorative assumption that men's responses are inherently inadequate. Men have and will continue to create significant approaches to social problems, and my stereotype of males as insensitive, unemotional, and uncaring prevents me from relinquishing some authority in those areas to men. I must now allow men to claim the space they need to discover that part of their bodyselves on their own terms.

Further reflection reveals that ecological justice might most accurately be cast as the locus of right relation and justice-doing. As I begin to see the men's movement as a justice issue, I also begin to recognize the ways in which an ethical ecojustice could alleviate some of the detrimental effects of society and socialization on men, especially for marginalized men. An emphasis on right-relation as key to justice for all forms of life counters the linear, objectifying ways of knowing and thinking that men are socially constructed to have. In an ecological construct the very notion of domination would be one of the primary targets for deconstruction; dominative masculinity would be replaced with relational masculinity, where all are seen as subjects and not as dominatable objects. This would by extension require men to take responsibility for injustice because they would now see that all things are relational. In valuing other beings, men would also be moved by ecojustice to value their own bodyselves and the bodyselves of marginalized men as well.

I see my role at present as moving toward a better understanding of the experiences of men, especially the overlapping and compounding problems of marginalization. I also feel a responsibility to help men find tangible, creative ways for working through this mess, as well as participating in the progress of the avenues men choose to embark on. I move forward with the men's movement, but I do so with ambiguity; I have not finished working through my hermeneutic of suspicion. I will continually question as I move forward and expect men to do so, also.

ELIZABETH ELDRIDGE, Junior, Non-major

The course I took to satisfy my religion requirement at Agnes Scott College began with me, already ardently feminist, ready to evaluate and pick at the ways in which the hegemonic, patriarchal, largely Caucasian culture undermines the rights of other, marginalized people (women in particular) and ended with me much more aware of how men, although higher in this metaphorical "food chain," are still somehow suffering. Men do suffer, but from their own constructs. If men want any sort of deep systemic change, they cannot exercise superficial methods for eliminating the malaise in their lives. A social revolution must happen for the true benefits to be reaped. This was probably the most important notion revealed in this class. Regardless of whom we read, or what their theories were, or the quality or quantity of their suffering, we must create social change that is considerate of every person--marginalized men, marginalized women, women and men, hermaphrodites, gays, lesbians, heterosexuals, Jews, Hindus, Christians, Muslims, etc. These adjectives merely precede the word "people." We are all people, and we each have our own forms of suffering, malaise, and oppression. Women's studies, men's studies, or better yet, gender studies must work toward social change rather than regress to some self-defensive position.

JAMEY FISHER, First-Year, (probable) Religious Studies Major

I entered "Women, Masculinities and Religion" without a clear idea of what men's studies encompassed. This class was also my first academic religious studies experience. It was also a mixed-level class, so I was apprehensive about understanding complicated religious ideas or terms. I had not previously encountered a class taught in a non-hierarchical fashion and had rarely experienced peer teaching in my previous education. As a first-year with little academic religious studies background, I found that the mixed grouping of the class (from seniors who are religious studies majors to first-years like myself) led to a general understanding of the more complicated concepts some people had not earlier encountered; well-versed students helped us newer ones to grasp unfamiliar ideas.

Learning about the existence of profeminist men challenged my earlier education and connotations that all men are anti-woman and anti-feminism. This was definitely aided by seeing our professor's own profeminism in action. Also, asking questions throughout our readings and discussions helped me to understand that I am "allowed" (even encouraged) to have expectations for men to be pro-woman and that I have the responsibility to question their work, making sure their path to profeminism is constructive. Also, as we compared men we know--our fathers, brothers, and friends--with the readings, we came to see how hegemonic masculinity has affected and continues to affect their lives, to understand the societal patterns that fuel our loved ones, and to think about ways to help them deconstruct these ideas and open up to new, fulfilling ideas. I now understand how important it is to help our brothers, fathers, and friends become educated about profeminism and men's studies, to discuss raising profeminist sons, and to find ways to facilitate discussions between us and our male peers about profeminist issues.

In an ideal revision of the course, even more marginalized voices would be heard--aging men, for example, especially low-income aging men, struggle against hegemonic ideas that youth is more valuable than old age. Stereotypes against Latino men, as another example, often picturing them as lower class, often work to keep them in that position. Conversely, stereotypes of Asian men portray them as brilliant and successful, creating a different kind of pressure. Hearing from these men would give even more diversity to the course. Also, the voices of high school and college age men's experiences with hegemonic masculinity and the pressure to conform to it might make the course easier to identify with. Information about men's studies and profeminist men needs to be available for younger men to access easily. Educating younger men about their options for rejecting societal patterns would further feminist and profeminist work. For example, young men would benefit from a well-rounded men's studies education in a secondary (high school) curricular program.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

As yet one other student remarked the last day of class, this course was "transformative" for virtually all involved: To experience the course entailed being changed. However, in spite of, or indeed perhaps because of, that overwhelmingly positive experience, we came to realize together just how much work remains for profeminist understandings of how to be men to "trickle down" from academia to other men--fathers, peers, and sons. Beginning shortly after midterm, we began a series of very informal lunch time and/or teatime conversations, both to assess the course to date and to reflect on what had not been said either in our readings or in our discussions. We met together in small groups of somewhat like-minded folk (religious studies registrants, women's studies registrants, first-year and transfer student registrants, core requirement option registrants, and teatime folk who had scheduling conflicts at lunch) to assure "safety" and frankness in our conversations. Briefly outlining the highlights of those conversations may prove the most effective summary of what this course offers that is, in turn, potentially transformative for men's studies in religion.

Most students agreed that men must be very careful when claiming a profeminist identity or in any sense claiming to be "oppressed." They must do their homework, read feminist theorists and theologians, and clearly acknowledge their indebtedness to those sources. Students are very suspicious whenever women are invisible in erstwhile profeminist (read: pro-woman) writing. More specifically, profeminist men must stop all forms of "whining" and "blaming" and engage the systemic/structural evils that sustain various and multiple oppressions instead. For example, recovering men's emotional lives must honor and respect real women and relinquish the binary association that reclaiming emotions is "reclaiming one's feminine side." Also to this end, many students (as do men in both AMSA and AAR) long for more published work by men of different cultures and religious backgrounds on these issues. For whatever reasons, men's studies in religion still appears only a Judaeo-Christian subdiscipline.

Most especially, the students long for more practical connections, for clearer ways to connect theory and praxis. They urge profeminist men to wrestle with a number of practical matters as they plan future articles and meeting presentations; not an exhaustive list by any means, some of these issues include:

* the implications of profeminist analyses/theory for revisioning/ reconstructing gender roles and family structure(s) and for parenting profeminist sons from infancy.

* the implications of profeminist analyses/theory for reshaping/ reimaging the divine and for changing intransigent religious language and symbols that still resonate patriarchally (and perhaps for reshaping religious institutions altogether). Students clearly felt a need to find/create new language rather than (apologetically) justifying/expanding traditional language that, almost entropically, remains patriarchal.

* strategies for reaching and transforming men outside the academy, for making profeminist men's studies work less abstract and more accessible to fathers, to brothers and peers, to college age and even high school age men. From early childhood, male children need relational alternatives to the model of imitating their fathers. If mythopoetic men and promise-keeping men have reached masses of men, why can't profeminist men do so as well?

Clearly, students in this course have begun to discern quite an agenda for men's studies in the new century. Simply sharing our reading and conversations with their male friends has already begun the processes of accessibility and relational transformation.

REFERENCES

Baker-Fletcher, G. K. (1999). Critical theory, deconstruction, and liberation. The Journal of Men's Studies, 7, 275-280.

Bly, R. (1990). Iron John: A book about men. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Boyd, S. B. (1997). The men we long to be: Beyond lonely warriors and desperate lovers. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press.

Boyd, S. B. (1999). Where do we go from here? The Journal of Men's Studies, 7, 265-268.

Boyd, S. B., Longwood, W. M., & Muesse, M. W. (Eds.). (1996). Redeeming men: Religion and masculinities. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Clark, J. M. (1992). Men's studies, feminist theology, and gay male sexuality. In J. B. Nelson & S. P. Longfellow (Eds.), Sexuality and the sacred: Sources for theological reflection (pp. 216-228). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Clark, J. M. (1999). Doing the work of love: Men and commitment in same-sex couples. Harriman, TN: Men's Studies Press.

Culbertson, P. (1994). Explaining men. In J. B. Nelson & S. P. Longfellow (Eds.), Sexuality and the sacred: Sources for theological reflection (pp. 183-194). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Doyle, J. A., & Femiano, S. (1998). Reflections on the early history of the American Men's Studies Association and the evolution of the field. Men's Studies News, 7, 8-11.

Faludi, S. (1999). Stiffed: The betrayal of the American man. New York: Morrow.

Hagen, K. L. (Ed.). (1992). Women respond to the men's movement. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

Heyward, C. (1994). Embodying the connections: What lesbians can learn from gay men about sex and what gay men must learn from lesbians about justice. In J. M. Clark & M. L. Stemmeler (Eds.), Spirituality and community: Diversity in lesbian and gay experience (pp. 133-145). Dallas: Monument Press.

Hunt, M. E. (1994). Opposites do not always attract: How and why lesbian women and gay men diverge religiously. In J. M. Clark & M. L. Stemmeler (Eds.), Spirituality and community: Diversity in lesbian and gay experience (pp. 147-163). Dallas: Monument Press.

Krondorfer, B. (Ed.). (1996). Men's bodies, men's gods: Male identities in a (post) Christian culture. New York: New York University Press.

Lippy, C. H. (1997). Miles to go: Promise Keepers in historical and cultural context. Soundings, 80, 289-204.

Miller, A. (1996). Death of a salesman. New York: Viking Critical Library. (Original work published 1949)

Reid, J. [pseud.]. (1995). Best little boy in the world. New York: Ballantine Books. (Original work published 1973)

Urschel, J. K. (1999). Pedagogical issues and approaches encountered in a psychology of men course. The Journal of Men's Studies, 8, 1-10.

APPENDIX

Course Syllabus

RS 220/WS 221: Women, Masculinities & Religion Fall Semester 1999

Required Texts

S. B. Boyd, The Men We Long to Be: Beyond Lonely Warriors & Desperate Lovers (Pilgrim, 1997)

S. B. Boyd, et al. (eds.), Redeeming Men: Religion & Masculinities (Westminster/John Knox, 1996)

J. M. Clark, Doing the Work of Love: Men & Commitment in Same-Sex Couples (Men's Studies Press, 1999)

K. L. Hagen (ed.), Women Respond to the Men's Movement (Pandora/HarperSanFrancisco, 1992)

B. Krondorfer (ed), Men's Bodies, Men's Gods: Male Identities in a (Post)Christian Culture (NYU, 1996)

A. Miller, Death of a Salesman (Viking Critical Library, 1996 reprint)

J. Reid, Best Little Boy in the World (Ballantine, 1995 reprint)

Reserve Text:

J. B. Nelson & S. P. Longfellow (eds.), Sexuality & the Sacred (Westminster/John Knox 1994)

Purpose and Rationale:

During the 1990s, profeminist men in religious studies have increasingly engaged in fruitful dialogue with their feminist peers. That dialogue has resulted in numerous rich analyses of the constructions, meanings, and implications of masculinity(ies) in Western, Judaeo-Christian culture, both within the Men's Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion, the American Men's Studies Association, and The Journal of Men's Studies, as well as in several excellent anthologies and single-author texts. This seminar is designed to test the fruits of this dialogue, specifically by having female students, many already trained in feminist theory, examine current men's studies literature in religious studies.

We will examine the effects of (hetero)patriarchy on the construction of masculine identity, men's relationships with one another and with women, men's sexuality and ethics, and other topics, while also exploring how masculine socialization and male experience both shape religious ideas, symbols, rituals, institutions, and spirituality and are in turn shaped by them. By "doing men's studies" in a women's college environment, this pilot course may thus further enhance conversations within the academy while potentially shaping future men's studies efforts in the discipline, as well. We will read, discuss, and respond to a wide range of profeminist men's studies writers/articles--seeking to discover what issues men are raising as they seek to clarify their own identity(ies) and vocation(s) in the pluralistic and multivocal, postmodern late 20th century--as well as examining in depth several single authors in both fiction and nonfiction.

General Requirements and Grading:

Each student is expected to stay current on assigned readings (both texts and handouts), to attend class regularly, and to participate in class discussions; class time will depend very heavily on group discussion and response. In fact, students will be welcomed and encouraged to discover and distribute additional relevant readings for discussion other than those already listed in this syllabus. Formal written assignments will include four 4-5 page critically reflective papers (20% each = 80%). Students will also be expected to provide discussion leadership on multiple occasions as scheduled (10%); in addition, students will also be assigned a grade for discussion group and general classroom participation and attendance (10%). Scribal service will also be incorporated to provide "minutes" of each week's previous discussions, specifically class response(s) to the material(s) under scrutiny (which will count as "general participation"). In lieu of the final reflection paper, three or four students will be solicited to prepare a brief analysis of the course for possible presentation at a professional meeting.

The evaluation of each student's classroom and discussion performance will be based not simply on the quantity of her contribution, but on the student's ability to bring challenging questions to the group, to add creatively to the conversation at hand, and to be a sensitive and responsive listener to her colleagues. Especially in view of our numbers, regular attendance is vital to the functioning of the seminar group; more than a total of six (6) absences for any reason (so-called "excused" or unexcused) during the semester will constitute automatic failure. Valid, written excuses and/or emergency situations will be handled rigorously on an individual basis. Similarly, excessive, routine tardiness will also be noted. Late written assignments will also be subject to grade penalties. Most important, we should all nurture and maintain an openness to new ideas and new perspectives, willing to engage each other in fruitful dialogue and in looking at issues in depth. Final grade computation is summarized below:

Four 4-5 page reflection papers (@20% each =) 80% Discussion leadership (10%), plus participation & attendance (10%) - 20%

*** Tentative Schedule (subject to revision as necessary) ***

Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to J. Michael Clark, 112 Dogwood Forest Road, Fairview, NC 28730 or bmcrr@mindspring.com.

Michael Clark has recently relocated, exchanging a quarter century of urban living in Atlanta for a secluded two-acre mountain ecosystem southeast of Asheville that he shares with his spouse, Bob McNeir, and their dogs, birds, and fish. He is currently teaching composition and literature at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and Brevard College. Credited with pioneering truly unapologetic gay liberation theology over a decade ago, Clark's areas of expertise include gender and ecotheology, AIDS and theodicy, men's studies, and gay sexual ethics. Clark has authored some 40 articles and 15 books, including his most recent volume, Doing the Work of Love: Men and Commitment in Same-Sex Couples (Men's Studies Press, 1999). His current project seeks to bring all ethics, including sexual ethics, under the right-relational umbrella of ecological ethics and is provisionally entitled, Erotic Ecology: An Ethic of Right-Relation. (bmcrr@mindspring.com)
During the 1990s, profeminist men in religious studies have increasingly
   engaged in fruitful dialogue with their feminist peers. That dialogue has
   resulted in numerous rich analyses of the constructions, meanings and
   implications of masculinity(ies) in Western, Judaeo-Christian culture, both
   within the Men's Studies in Religion Group of the American Academy of
   Religion, the American Men's Studies Association, and The Journal of Men's
   Studies, as well as in several excellent anthologies and single-author
   texts. This seminar is designed to test the fruits of this dialogue,
   specifically by having female students, many already trained in feminist
   theory, examine current men's studies literature in religious studies.

   We will examine the effects of (hetero)patriarchy on the construction of
   masculine identity, men's relationships with one another and with women,
   men's sexuality and ethics, and other topics, while also exploring how
   masculine socialization and male experience both shape religious ideas,
   symbols, rituals, institutions, and spirituality and are in turn shaped by
   them. By "doing men's studies" in a women's college environment, this pilot
   course may thus further enhance conversations within the academy while
   potentially shaping future men's studies efforts in the discipline, as
   well. We will read, discuss, and respond to a wide range of profeminist
   men's studies writers/articles--seeking to discover what issues men are
   raising as they seek to clarify their own identity(ies) and vocation(s) in
   the pluralistic and multivocal, postmodern late 20th century--as well as
   examining in depth several single authors in both fiction and nonfiction.


Th 9/2     Opening Class: Introduction to the Course

Methodology(ies)

Tu 9/7     "Men, Masculinity, & the Study of Religion"
           (Boyd et al., xiii-xxii)
           "Introduction" (Boyd, 1-15)

Th 9/9     "Introduction" (Krondoffer, 3-16)

Early Feminist Women's Responses

Tu 9/14    Steinem, "Foreword," & Hagen, "Introduction"
           (Hagen, v-ix, xi-xiv)
           Ruether, "Patriarchy & the Men's Movement"
           (Hagen, 13-18)
           Spretnak, "Treating the Symptoms, Ignoring the Cause"
           (Hagen, 169-175)

Th 9/16    Brown, "Essential Lies: ... the Mythopoetic Men's
           Movement" (Hagen, 93-100)
           Randall, "... Robert Bly's Men's Movement"
           (Hagen, 141-148)
           Carlin, "The Men's Movement of Choice" (Hagen, 119-125)

Tu 9/21    Eisler, "What Do Men Really Want?" (Hagen, 43-53)
           Adair, "Will the Real Men's Movement Please Stand Up?"
           (Hagen, 55-66)
           Doyle & Femiano, AMSA handout

Th 9/23    Starhawk, "A Men's Movement I Can Trust" (Hagen, 27-37)
           hooks, "Men in Feminist Struggle" (Hagen, 111-117)
           Heyward, "Men Whose Lives I Trust, Almost"
           (Boyd et al., 263-272)

Profeminist Men's Responses

Tu 9/28    Culbertson, "Explaining Men" (Nelson & Longfellow,
           183-194, on reserve)

           Mirsky, "Three Arguments for the Elimination of
           Masculinity" (Krondorfer, 27-39)

Th 9/30    Due: Reflection Paper #1
           Case Study Discussion #1
           Boyd, The Men We Long to Be, 18-68

Tu 10/5    Case Study Discussion #2
           Boyd, The Men We Long to Be, 69-97

Religious Roots & Problematic(s): Judaism

Th 10/7    Brod, "Of Mice & Supermen: Images of Jewish Masculinity"
           (Boyd et al., 145-155)
           Eilberg-Schwartz, "God's Phallus & the Dilemmas of
           Masculinity" (Boyd et al., 36-47)

Religious Roots & Problematic(s): Christianity

Th 10/12   Kirkley, "It is Manly to be Christian? ... Victorian &
           Modern America" (Boyd et al., 80-88)
           Muesse, "Religious Machismo: Masculinity &
           Fundamentalism" (Boyd et al., 89-102)

Th 10/14   Fout, "Religious Right in Contemporary America ... Moral
           Purity Ideas" (Boyd et al., 112-113)
           Boyd (e-mail message) & Lippy (Soundings article) on the
           Promise-Keepers, handouts

The Consequences of Western Masculine Socialization:
A Dramatic Intermission

Tu 10/19   Due: Reflection Paper #2
           Case Study Discussion #3 (Fiction)
           Miller, Death of a Salesman

[Fall Break]

Tu 10/26   Case Study Discussion #4
           Boyd, The Men We Long to Be, 100-143

Marginalized Men/Marginal Masculinities:
Native American and Impoverished Men

Th 10/28   Jocks, "Defending their People & their Earth: Native
           American Men" (Boyd et al., 132-144)
           Nonn, "... Survival & Hope among Poor Men"
           (Boyd et al., 156-168)

Marginalized Men/Marginal Masculinities: African-American Men

Tu 11/2    Baker-Fletcher, "Black Bodies, Whose Body?
           African-American Men" (Krondorfer, 65-93)

Th 11/4    Case Study Discussion 115
           Boyd, The Men We Long to Be, 146-176

Marginalized Men/Marginal Masculinities: Gay Men

Tu 11/9    Stemmeler, "Empowerment: Construction of Gay Religious
           Identities" (Krondorfer, 94-107)

           Gorsline, "Facing the Body on the Cross: A Gay Man's
           Reflection ..."
           (Krondorfer, 125-145)

Th 11/11   Clark (1992), "Men's Studies, Feminist Theology,
           & Gay Male Sexuality" (Nelson & Longfellow, 216-228)

           Clark (1995), "Gay Men, Masculinity, and an Ethic of
           Friendship" (Boyd et al., 252-262)

The Consequences of Western Masculine Socialization:
A Queer Intermission

Tu 11/16   Due: Reflection Paper #3
           Case Study Discussion #6 (fiction)
           Reid, Best Little Boy in the World

Marginalized Men/Marginal Masculinities:
Lesbians Respond to Gay Men

Th 11/18   Heyward, "Embodying the Connections"
           (GMIRS 5: 133-145), handout

           Hunt, "Opposites Do Not Always Attract"
           (GMIRS 5: 147-163), handout

Tu 11/23   Case Study Discussion #7
           Clark, Doing the Work of Love, 53-75, 96-126

[Thanksgiving Break]

Healing Men & Masculinity(ies)

Tu 11/30   Nelson, "Male Sexuality & the Fragile Planet"
           (Boyd et al., 273-284)

           Nelson, "Epilogue" (Krondorfer 311-318)

           Mirsky, "Men & the Promise of Goddess Spirituality"
           (Boyd et al., 197-208)

Th 12/2    Case Study Discussion #8
           Boyd, The Men We Long to Be, 177-233

Profeminist Men's Studies Futures

Tu 12/7    Boyd et al., "Where Do We Go from Here?"
           (Boyd et al., 285-293)

           Boyd, "Trajectories in Men's Studies in Religion"
           (JMS 7.2: 265-268), handout

           Baker-Fletcher, "Critical Theory, Deconstruction,
           Liberation" (JMS 7.2: 275-280), handout

Th 12/9    Concluding Discussion (Faludi text, introduction,
           and conclusion sections)

           Course Evaluations Due: Reflection Paper #4
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