People enter the academy for a variety of reasons. Some of us love books and learning and see the academy as an avenue for life-long learning; others are passionate about a particular area of knowledge and inquiry and desire nothing more than to talk about it with others who share their passion; some colleagues of mine are gifted teachers who seek to open the minds of young people or to help them develop their intellectual curiosity; one colleague even told me years ago that he wanted to “be famous.”
My route to the academy came via the church and advocacy work that I did on behalf of women at the national office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) prior to entering seminary. I had read some feminist theory in college and discovered Rosemary Radford Ruether’s work on my own. After college I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life until I came across a job ad in a mission volunteer newsletter that read, “One person to work for the eradication of sexism at all levels of the church.” Wow, I said to myself, I want to do THAT!