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," says Cristina Rose, professor of gender and ethnic studies, 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 mother-line 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, Cristina Rose 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 Journa;" "Label Me Latina/o Literary Review;" "Ofrendas of the Flesh with Mujeres de Maiz;" and "Verses Typhoon Yolanda: A Storm of Filipino Poets." A 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 titled 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 mother-line—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 I am now passing on my own intuitive strength to my students, most of whom 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."
Cristina Rose currently teaches in the women's studies program at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Follow her work here.