Today is International Women’s Day and it feels very fitting that yesterday my alma mater, Augustana University, published the schedule for fall classes. I’ll be teaching a women and ecology in literature class, and I’m so excited to spend a whole semester having challenging and meaningful discussions about stories of women and our planet and the various ecosystems that stitch us all together.
I took an ecofeminist literature course during my MFA program and it was the most challenging and interesting course I had in that two year spread. My travel writing class was great, and I really enjoyed looking at expressive writing in an independent study of trauma and writing. But thinking about how women and nature are commidified, oppressed and labeled in certain ways was mindblowing. I hope to offer at least a sliver of that experience to my students next fall. My course won’t be as heavy on the “feminism” as the course I took, and although it will center conventional agriculture and things my Midwestern students might know–we’ll be reading Rachel Caron’s Silent Spring and Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres — my students will travel to India and Colombia and other countries to experience life and ag and what it is to be a woman there.
The good fortune I’ve had to learn to read and write, to earn not one but two degrees, to own property, to go out on my own– to live in safey– all of these things are goals I wish for all my sisters across this earth. On days like today when there’s special attention paid to women, I hope it’s a goal we can al work toward in our own small or large ways.