The Featured Feminist column is an initiative by the WC which aims to debunk the common stereotypes and stigma associated with the word "feminist." By highlighting the profiles and achievements of dedicated, passionate individuals in the Boston College community, the WC staff hopes not only to foster a greater sense of appreciation for people who bring the ideals of equality and social justice into their daily lives, but also raise awareness in the BC community towards a more positive and inclusive definition of the word feminism.
If you would like to nominate someone to become a Featured Feminist, please fill out our nomination form via this link (BC username and password required).
Classes Taught: “Immigration and Ethics,” “HIV/AIDS and Ethics,” “Catholicism and Social Responsibility,” “Moral Agency”
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve recently returned to Boston College after teaching for 12 years in California. I earned my BA in history at Brown University and PhD here at BC in theological ethics. I met my husband, Mark Potter, in that doctoral program, and our two sons, Owen and Luke, are adjusting well to snow days and new schools in Boston.
2. What are you most passionate about?
I’m passionate about seeking justice for immigrants; forging networks of solidarity among Catholic ethicists worldwide; and watching my sons on the soccer field.
3. How do you define “feminism”?
Intersectional and transnational forms of feminism have influenced my outlook, and at the same time these days, with pervasive exploitation coming to light, I am reminded of more basic understandings of feminism concerned with affirming and defending the full humanity of women.
4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?
I was raised in a feminist household, for starters: my Mom was a quiet trailblazer in her day—the first laywoman to graduate from her masters program, the first woman to risk wearing pants to her office at a publishing company in New York City in the 70s, the only mom I knew growing up who kept her last name upon marriage. My Dad was also a feminist from my earliest days, modeling shared household tasks and empowering women in his guild; I can remember being mortified when, while touring BC when I was high school student, he asked the tour guide why there weren’t any buildings named after women! More recently, as a Catholic ethicist I’m in a field committed to universal human dignity and liberation from oppression—both deeply in sync with feminist values.
5. Who or what inspires you?
My family inspires me with their life-giving love and daily reminders of what matters most. Cherished friends and colleagues inspire me to choose courage over fear and keep at it. My students inspire me with their curiosity and compassion.