Smith Writes Memoir of Being Black and Catholic

Written by Laura Paskin
October 10, 2013

Professor Mary-Antoinette Smith, director of the Women and Gender Studies program, published "It Takes a Village to Rear a Word Weaver: Memoirs of a Black Catholic Girlhood" in Unruly Catholic Women Writers (SUNY Press, 2013). The collection of short stories, poems, personal essays, and drama describes women’s struggles with Catholicism and Catholic women’s relationships to their faith.  In her chapter, Smith describes her experiences growing up black and Catholic.
Smith also presented "Three Rhetorics of Feminist Solidarity: Bathsua Makin, Mary Wollstonecraft, and John Stuart Mill (1673-1869)" at the Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference held at Stanford University in September. In her paper, she posited that these three feminist credos use reasoned, persuasive rhetorical appeals to expose the abject status of Englishwomen.

"They dismantled the oppressively confining strictures reflected in the “fair sex” and the “angel in the house” phrases that defined the condition of women during these writers-advocates lived," Smith said.
In addition to teaching in the English Department and directing the Women and Gender Studies program, Smith is the executive director of the National Association for Women in Catholic Higher Education and co-director of the Patricia Wismer Center for Gender, Justice, and Diversity on the Seattle University campus. Her research and scholarship focus on British and American literature, cultural pluralism in literature and film, and the intersection of race/class/gender/sexuality in feminist studies.
The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 42 undergraduate major degrees and 37 minors, including a BA and minor degree in Women and Gender Studies, and 6 master's degrees.