I am looking to conduct interviews with women whose spiritual practices focus on, or relate to, ‘the Goddess’, for my PhD research on religion and spirituality at the University of Birmingham. My thesis, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will challenge current scholarship on religious change in modern Britain, especially in relation to women’s experiences of faith from the 1960s to the present day.
Most historians and sociologists claim that women abandoned institutional religions en masse in the 1960s due to the effects of second wave feminism and the sexual revolution. They argue that, in lieu of the Christian dogma of love and self-sacrifice, women then turned to ‘alternative spiritualties’ that provided an outlet for their natural feminine care-giving roles. This scholarship takes up the implicit perspective of religious institutions for whom ‘women’s spirituality’ is casual, unorganised and diluted.
In collecting oral testimonies, I hope to rescue women’s spiritual experiences from the condescension of this scholarship. I want to find out what faith really meant in the lives of ordinary women in contemporary Britain and, in doing so, reveal something of the rich and textured history of belief in the modern world. I am interested in hearing the perspectives of people rather than institutions.
Complete anonymity is guaranteed for all participants, if desired. If you are interested in taking part, please email Ruth Lindley on RML033@bham.ac.uk for more information, or to arrange an informal conversation prior to interview.