The springtime symposium “Women and Religion, Philosophy and Feminism” will honor emeritae faculty members Marilyn Thie and Wanda Warren Berry, who taught philosophy and religion during their time at Colgate and helped to found women’s studies on campus.

“The coming of women to campus not only as students but as members of the faculty and as leaders — this is one of the great shifts in Colgate history,” said event organizer Chris Vecsey, department chair and professor of religion. “Thie and Berry played an enormous role in changing the culture of Colgate to be inclusive of women’s experiences and perspectives.”

The April 11–12 symposium will include two presentations in Love Auditorium: Philosophy and Feminism, with professor Thie as respondent, on Wednesday; Women and Religion, with professor Berry as respondent, on Thursday.

The talks are based on courses once taught by professors Thie and Berry — classes that still exist in some form today. Presenters include alumnae who attended these classes and have gone on to teach in relevant fields. They will speak about the ways in which they were impacted by these professors as well as how these fields have changed since their time as students.

Associate Professor of Religion Dianne M. Stewart will speak on Feminist and Womanist Religious Thought on Thursday morning, with Provost and Dean of the Faculty Tracey Hucks as respondent.

The term “womanist” was coined by African Americans who wanted to address the limitations of the type of feminism that evolved in the 1960s.

Organized by the departments of religion and philosophy as well as the Women’s Studies Program in anticipation of Colgate’s bicentennial celebration, the symposium was funded by the M. Holmes Hartshorne Memorial Lecture Fund in Philosophy and Religion and the Arthur W. ’40 and Anne Hale Johnson Religion and Ethics in America Lecture Series.

“For all the intellectual exchange that will take place,” Vecsey said, “I’m hoping what people will get from this is an honor for these two women.”


For a full symposium schedule, visit the Colgate events calendar.