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ISSUE 119 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/10/2006

Month honors women, religion

By Tim Rehborg
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Women in Religion" is the theme of Women’s History Month this year at St. Olaf.

The proclamation released by President Christopher Thomforde at the opening ceremonies of Women’s History Month last Thursday declared that St. Olaf is striving to increase "recognition of women’s historical contributions" and improve "professional communications, collaboration, respect and understanding between women and men."

Throughout the month, various lectures, viewings and events are planned in celebration of women’s contribution to society throughout history. Tuesday and Thursday Chapel talks every week focus around issues of women in religion.

During the third week of the month, students from Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Diane LeBlanc’s Women’s Studies class will display exhibits featuring women, religion and spiritual traditions across time and the world. The exhibits will be in Buntrock Commons.

Viking Theater will show a movie, "Say Amen, Somebody," on March 16. This documentary traces the beginnings of the gospel music tradition, highlighting the work of women in creating this spiritual revival. Joan Hepburn, professor of English, will facilitate a discussion following the showing.

Several events are also scheduled on March 21 around the reading of "Crossing the Divide: Luther, Feminism, and the Cross." The author Deanna Thompson, professor of religion at Hamline University, will present a Chapel talk and facilitate a discussion about her book.

She also plans to speak at the Political Activities Committee (PAC) table during dinner that evening. Her book is a reconciliation of feminist theologies and the theology of the cross, finding surprising common ground between the two.

Women’s History Month is sponsored through a coalition of organizations, channeled through the office of Community Life and Diversity. Funding for various events is sponsored by the Leraas Endowment fund, which is dedicated to supporting interdisciplinary events on campus.

This month of education and celebration is a truly interdisciplinary project, with departmental involvement across a wide range of subjects. Students and faculty alike are working to make known the important contributions of women to our world today.

The final event of the month is a student panel on March 23, moderated by Professor of Religion Anantanand Rambachan. The eight students, coming from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, will reflect on the role women play in various cultural and religious histories. The panel will take place in the Sun Ballroom during community time. Following the panel will be a closing reception for the month’s activities.

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