Daring to desire: towards a feminist pedagogy of desire in Catholic theology

Cullen, Philomena (2011) Daring to desire: towards a feminist pedagogy of desire in Catholic theology. PhD thesis, St Mary's University College.

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One could think of Catholicism as being about the control of desire. Desire is dangerous and disturbing and so the Church helps us tame this force in our lives. But that is only half the story. There is another, albeit less prominent, strand of the tradition of the Church that invites us to deepen our desires, to touch their hidden longings, and to liberate desire in recognition of its ultimate goal. that of relationship with the God who is racked with desire for us. My purpose in this thesis is first to show the centrality of desire for Catholic theology. Second, to begin to explore a specifically gendered trajectory of desire using a variety of emerging discourses of desire. And third, to show how we can begin to rethink and transform the official tradition so that it can be a positive resource for coming to a greater understanding of women's desires in particular. I describe this important task as being about a construction of a feminist pedagogy of desire. In chapters one and two, I offer analyses of why the current religious, social and symbolic order has made the actualising of women's desires difficult and therefore why we need a feminist pedagogy of desire within post-conciliar Catholic theology today. Then through empirical evidence acquired through an interview process with ten contemporary Catholic theologians, I have in chapters three and four, manifested the ongoing struggles and tensions that seem to exist within post-conciliar Catholic theology today to move beyond undifferentiated models of desire that run the risk of misrepresenting, and being biased against, women's desires. In chapters five and six, I have with the help of the twelfth century medieival abbess, Heloise, undertakien a theological anaylsis of literary work so as to begin to apply a gendered perspective to a well known narrative of female desire. I conclude by arguing that it is only when the official tradition itself learns to theorise desire from women's experience, that is through a more finely honed gendered perspective, that it can help create space for the female desiring subject and in doing so, truly orient us to desire more daringly in ways that will ultimately foster greater mutual flourishing for women and men today.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Catholic theology; Desire; Gender; Feminism; Feminist pedagogy; Héloïse d'Argenteuil
Subjects: 200 Religion > 201 Religious mythology & social theology
School/Department: School of Education, Theology and Leadership
Depositing User: Catherine O'Sullivan
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2013 09:29
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2013 09:29
URI: http://research.stmarys.ac.uk/id/eprint/325


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