The Voice Journal at the Yale Divinity School, a publication for feminist thought and reflection on campus, released its first issue last week since its initial run from 1996 to 2002.
The Voice Journal of Literary and Theological Ideas will once again be published biannually by the YDS Women’s Center, after an 18-year hiatus. The journal’s purpose is to honor the “dangerous memory” of women, as well as provide a general forum for current women’s voices while engaging with under-discussed narratives of the past, according to the YDS Women’s Center website. The 48-page issue includes a combination of essays, poems, drawings, pictures and sermons centered around feminist theological thought. Titles of works in the journal include “she,” “‘When Silence is No Longer a Virtue’: Mormon Women and the Vote” and “Prayer & Woman in Luke.”
“Finding the journal and resurrecting it was complete happenstance,” journal Editor-in-Chief Sarah Ambrose DIV ’22 said. “I was flipping through some boxes and I found an entire box of the Voice archive, and because of my literary background it encompassed all the different things I’m interested in: editorial processing and production and theological engagement. … Perhaps I was crazy, but at that moment I decided this is something I would like to do.”
Ambrose said that the journal has taken on a “fun ’70s aesthetic” with different shapes, textures and other design elements that harken readers back to the feminist movement of the 1970s. She added that she and Executive Editor Oana Capatina DIV ’20 have spent many hours looking through archives of Gloria Steinem’s Ms. magazine, and that they are looking into how the feminist movement 40 years ago can “ignite a reacquaintance” with feminism today.
Capatina told the News she was drawn to Voice because of the celebrations of 50WomenAtYale150, commemorating the coeducation of Yale College and the University 50 and 150 years ago, respectively.
“At YDS, the 50/150 movement came about by having conversations about trailblazing women from Yale’s past and thinking more about the future of women in theological teaching, ministerial formation, doctoral research and community leadership,” Capatina said. “I thought that Sarah’s discovery and her idea for the journal came at a really momentous time since we were also as a University thinking critically about Yale’s past and the role of women in shaping Yale’s community today.”
Kathryn Ott DIV ’00, currently a lecturer in practical theology at the Divinity School, was the former editor of the 2001 issue of Voice. She served as a key figure in the revitalization of the journal, advising Ambrose and Capatina and writing the introduction of the newest volume.
She told the News that the journal’s revival is all the more impressive because the current editors had to fundraise, find faculty advisors to review the journal’s content, advertise submissions and more — tasks that previous iterations of the magazine’s leadership were unable to do as successfully, according to Ott.
“The editors have been able to create a dynamic space for women to contribute a variety of ways of thinking theologically, whether that’s prose or poems or any of that, but I think it’s [also] created a dynamic space for students to find a voice on issues in women in theology and feminism,” Ott said. “And I’m really glad for that space, because it’s what shaped both my original experience and motivation for going on to be a professor in feminist ethics, and I hope it continues to strengthen the field with students who make those kinds of choices as well.”
Ott said that the journal first began when students from the YDS Women’s Center wanted to hold a poetry and art exhibition, which would be accompanied by a journal. She added that the journal did not receive any funding from the University when it first began. According to Ott, Tyco Printing donated free copying for the journal’s first edition.
She added that one reason why Voice “faded out” and stopped publishing in 2002 was that the students who were initially involved with the publication graduated, and other individuals with similar interests did not “come along.”
“By engaging with past narratives of those left unheard, rendered invisible, emptied of power and laid to waste by memory’s neglect, it is our hope that the revival of VOICE will reignite a space at YDS for women’s momentous expression,” the editor’s note of the newest issue reads.
All Divinity School and Graduate School Religious Studies Department students, faculty, staff, alumnae and spouses of current students can submit work to the journal.
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