Cristina Rose Smith Professor of Gender and Ethnic Studies

Higher Education

Cristina Rose Smith, Phd
The Women's Spirituality Program, Phd Alum

"One day in my mid-twenties, I realized violence was normal in my daily life" Cristina Rose, professor of Gender and Ethnic studies, says of the beginning of her womanist path. "I decided I had had enough. I left all of my abusive relationships -- with a partner, with a church family, with a belief in a deity that could never love me as I am -- and I moved to a farm with four other women, and I began my studies at CIIS in Women's Spirituality. I knew that women's space had already awakened me to true joy and freedom and healing, and at CIIS, I continued that journey in academia."

As a writer, artist, Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation Fellow, and mother of one, Cristina Rose celebrates her multiethnic motherline through the arts. Born in Los Angeles, her pedagogy engages with sustainable ecology, womanist art, and indigenous rooted communities throughout California and the Southwest. She has been nurtured by Xicanas, including Cherrie Moraga and Ana Castillo, as well as Pinays, including Leny Strobel and Ninotchka Rosca.

As an artist, she speaks to her Xicana-Pinay multiplicity in the sacred mango fruit and the golondrina. As a writer, she employs academic and literary tools to address multi-vocality. Her creative writing can be found in publications such as Regeneración Tlacuilolli: UCLA Raza Studies Journal, Label Me Latina/o Literary Review, Ofrendas of the Flesh with Mujeres de Maiz, and Verses Typhoon Yolanda: A Storm of Filipino Poets. An section of her dissertation was recently published in El Mundo Zurdo, an academic anthology published by the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldua. Cristina is developing her manuscript entitled Becoming a Woman of Color: A Travel Memoir as well as an art series entitled Sacred Heart of Mango.

"My five years in the Women's Spirituality program deepened my engagement with caring and abundant epistemologies and ontologies. With mentors and teachers at and connected to CIIS, I was nurtured and encouraged to seek out the gifts of my motherline -- women of color who survived and thrived because of their intuitive strength. The ‘mothering' I received at CIIS helped to develop my goals in my own classrooms. I see myself as part of the lineage of women who have come through Women's Spirituality and am now passing on my own intuitive strength to my students, most of which are women of color. The knowledge and wisdom of matriarchal and indigenous and POC perspectives is what I share, and it is my responsibility and honor."

She currently teaches in the Women's Studies program at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Follow her work at here.

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