Alka Arora Charlene Spretnak

Professor Emeritus
Women's Spirituality
Philosophy and Religion Department
School of Consciousness and Transformation

Charlene Spretnak has been intrigued throughout her life as a writer, speaker, and activist with dynamic interrelatedness. She has written nine books on various subjects in which interrelatedness plays a central role, including its expression in the arts. She is particularly interested in 21st-century discoveries indicating that the physical world, including the human bodymind, is far more dynamically interrelated than modernity had assumed. Such discoveries are currently causing a "relational shift" in our institutions and systems of knowledge, as she suggests in Relational Reality (2011). Several of her books have also proposed a "map of the terrain" of emergent social-change movements and an exploration of the issues involved. She has helped to create an eco-social frame of reference and vision in the areas of social criticism (including feminism), cultural history, and religion and spirituality. Since the mid-1980s, her books have examined the multiple crises of modernity and furthered the corrective efforts that are arising. Her book Green Politics was a major catalyst for the formation of the U.S. Green Party movement, of which she is a cofounder. Her book The Resurgence of the Real was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the Best Books of 1997. In 2006 Charlene Spretnak was named by the British government's Environment Department as one of the "100 Eco-Heroes of All Time." In 2012 she received the Demeter Award for lifetime achievement as "one of the premier visionary feminist thinkers of our time" from the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology. She is a professor emerita in philosophy and religion.

Her most recent book is on cultural history: The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art: Art History Reconsidered, 1800 to the Present (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, (2014); the paperback edition will come out in October 2015. The history of modern art has generally been understood as a grand leap away from tradition, religion, and conventional norms, yielding decidedly secular art. Yet a majority of the prominent modern artists in every period had strong interests in the spiritual dimension of life, which they expressed in the new art forms they created. The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art draws on direct statements by scores of leading artists-cited from little known historical documentation as well as contemporary interviews-to demonstrate that spirituality, far from being inconsequential in the terrain of modern art, is generative. For further information, please see the page about The Spiritual Dynamic of Modern Art under Selected Works.

Visit Charlene's website here.


  • Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her Re-Emergence in the Modern Church (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004; paperback, 2005)
  • The Resurgence of the Real: Body, Nature, and Place in a Hypermodern World (Addison-Wesley, 1997; paperback published by Routledge in 1999) -- chosen by the Los Angeles Times as one of the Best Books of 1997
  • States of Grace: The Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age (HarperCollins, 1991)
  • The Spiritual Dimension of Green Politics (Bear & Company, 1986; the text of the annual lecture of the E. F. Schumacher Society of America, 1984)
  • Green Politics: The Global Promise, with Fritjof Capra (E. P. Dutton, 1984; Bear & Company, 1986)
  • The Politics of Women's Spirituality: Essays on theRise of Spiritual Power within the Feminist Movement, editor (Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1982) 
  • Reissued in Fall 1994 with a new preface ("The First Twenty Years"),updated bibliography, and new subtitle ("Essays by Founding Mothers of the Movement")
  • Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths (Beacon Press, 1981 [1978]; new ed., 1992)
  • Relational Reality, a book on the relational nature of physical realityArticles: "Plus ca Change: The Politics of Science and the Campaign against Marija Gimbutas,"Women's Studies International Forum, forthcoming in 2006


  • "The Triumph of Luther? The Dwindling Divide between Catholics and
  • Protestants," a review of Is the Reformation Over? by Mark A. Noll and
  • Carolyn Nystrom, National Catholic Reporter, February 10, 2006
  • "Anglicans Make Room for Mary," National Catholic Reporter, September
  • 9, 2005.
  • "Finding Forgiveness within the Family," a review of Pearl by Mary
  • Gordon, National Catholic Reporter, May 20, 2005
  • "Questioning Modernity," Resurgence, November/December 2001
  • -- also published in Norway as "Islam or det glitrende moderne liv,"
  • Flux, January 2003
  • -- also forthcoming in a social science journal in Beijing
  • "Participating in the Living World: Ecological Postmodernism,"
  • conference proceedings from "Toward a Participatory Worldview," 
  • ReVision, Winter 2001, vol. 23, no. 3, and Spring 2001, vol. 23, no. 4
  • "A Living Memorial," op-ed piece, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 October
  • 2001
  • "Gaia Hypothesis," Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women's 
  • Studies, 2001
  • "The Public Safety Deficit in Bush's Budget," op-ed piece, San Francisco
  • Chronicle, 11 May 2001
  • "Participating in One Another's Lives and Disciplines," ReVision, "Toward
  • a Participatory Worldview, Part 2," vol. 23, no. 4, Spring 2001
  • "Participating in the Living World," ReVision, "Toward a Participatory
  • Worldview, Part I," vol. 23, no. 3, Winter 2001
  • "A Green Perspective," Tikkun, vol. 16, no. 1, January/February 2001
  • "How Gore Lost the Green Vote," op-ed piece, San Francisco Chronicle,
  • 19 November 2000
  • "Sacred Cosmos," Resurgence (U.K.), no. 201, July/August 2000
  • "How About that Green Option?," Whole Earth, Summer 2000
  • "The Rise and Fall of Modern Ideologies of Denial," Lapis, New York Open
  • Center, Issue 5, 1997 
  • "The Spiritual Dimension of New Thinking about Development," keynote
  • address to a World Council of Churches conference, ReVision, Spring 1997
  • "Review of This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment, edited by
  • Roger S. Gottlieb," Whole Earth, Winter 1997
  • "Radical Nonduality in Ecofeminist Philosophy," in Ecofeminism: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, ed. by Karen J. Warren (Indiana University Press, 1997)
  • "Beyond the Backlash: An Appreciation of the Work of Marija Gimbutas,"
  • Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Harvard Divinity School, vol. 12, no. 2, Fall 1996
  • "The Disembodied Worldview of Deconstructive Postmodernism," in Radically Speaking: Feminism Reclaimed, ed. by Diane Bell and Renate Klein (Spiniflex Press, 1996)
  • "Embodied, Embedded Philosophy," Open Eye, California Institute of
  • Integral Studies, vol. 12, no. 1, June 1995
  • "A Living Memorial" (Afterword) and "For Women Who Dare" (Postscript to the Afterword), in Thinking Green!: Essays on Environmentalism, Feminism, and Nonviolence by Petra K. Kelly (Parallax Press, 1994)
  • -- also in Peace Review, 5:1 (1993) as "The Political Legacy of Petra
  • Kelly"
  • "The Spiritual Dimension of Green Politics," excerpted in Ecology, ed. by
  • Carolyn Merchant, Key Concepts in Critical Theory Series (Humanities Press,
  • 1994
  • "Green Electoral Strategy" (with Laura Livoti), Green Consensus, Spring 1994
  • "Critical and Constructive Contributions of Ecofeminism," in Worldviews and Ecology, ed. by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John A. Grim (Bucknell University Press, 1993; Orbis Books, 1994)
  • "Holy Writ," an essay and review of eleven books on spirituality, Ms. magazine, March/April 1993
  • Foreword in Blood, Bread, and Roses by Judy Grahn (Beacon Press, 1993)
  • "Personal Body and Earthbody as Sacred," in Ecofeminism and the Sacred, ed. by Carol J. Adams (Orbis Books, 1992)
  • "Abortion and ‘Natural Law': An Ecofeminist Perspective," Utne Reader,
  • May/June 1992
  • paper invited for response to Gaia and God by Rosemary Radford Ruether, 
  • American Academy of Religion, annual conference, San Francisco, Nov. 1992
  • paper invited for panel on studies of mysticism, American Academy of Religion, annual conference, San Francisco, Nov. 1992
  • "Gaian Spirituality," Woman of Power: A Magazine of Feminism, Politics, and Spirituality, Spring 1991
  • "Grounds for an Ecophilosophy," The Ecology Center Newsletter, The Ecology Center, Berkeley, CA, July 199l
  • "The Deep Roots of the Ecological Crisis," ReVision, Fall 1991
  • "Dinnertime" in Gary Snyder: Dimensions of a Life, ed. by Jon Halper (Sierra Club Books, 1991)
  • "Entering the 1990s," Earth Ethics, Winter 1990
  • "Improving the Debates," Green Synthesis, Feb. 1990
  • "The Spiritual Dimension of Gandhi's Activism," The Acorn, Sept. 1990 / March 1991
  • "Ecofeminism: Our Roots and Flowering," a keynote address at the international conference on "Ecofeminist Perspectives," USC, March 1987; published as the lead essay in Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism, ed. by Irene Diamond and Gloria Orenstein (Sierra Club Books, 1989)
  • "Dhamma at the Precinct Level," in The Path of Compassion: Writings on Socially Engaged Buddhism, ed. by Fred Eppsteiner (Parallax Press, 1988)
  • "Postmodern Directions," in Spirituality and Society, ed. by David Griffin (SUNY Press, 1988)
  • "Diversity in Ecofeminism," The Nation, 2 April 1988
  • "A Catholic Exploration of Post-Modern America," in American and Catholic: The New Debate, (Pillar Books, 1988)
  • "Is Spirituality Becoming Feminized?," Yoga Journal, Jan./Feb. 1988
  • "Knowing Gaia," ReVision, Spring 1987; also in Anima, Spring 1988
  • "Postmodern Populism: The Greening of Technocratic Society," in The New Populism, ed. by Harry C. Boyte and Frank Reissman (Temple University Press, 1986)
  • "Why Green?," a review of Fighting for Hope by Petra Kelly, Building the Green Movement by Rudolf Bahro, and Dwellers in the Land: The Bioregional Vision by Kirkpatrick Sale, Utne Reader, Feb./Mar. 1986
  • "Is the Future Feminist for the West Germany Green Party?," Woman of Power: A Magazine of Art, Feminism, and Spirituality, Summer 1985
  • "Naming the Cultural Forces that Push Us toward War," Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Summer 1983
  • A review of The Anatomy of Freedom: Feminism, Physics, and Global Politics by Robin Morgan, Boston Review, Feb. 1983
  • A review of The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture by William Irwin Thompson, San Francisco Review of Books, September/October 1981
  • "Problems with Jungian Uses of Greek Goddess Mythology," Anima, Fall 1979; also in Lost Goddesses of Early Greece, Beacon Press, 1981
  • Print and Filmed Interviews with Charlene Spretnak
  • Interviewed for "Behind the Cult of Mary," Women of the Bible, a Special
  • Collector's Edition published by US News & World Report, January/February
  • 2006
  • Interviewed in the film Signs Out of Time about the work of the archaeologist 
  • Marija Gimbutas, Belili Productions, 2004
  • Interviewed in Visionaries: People and Ideas to Change Your Life by Jay
  • Walljasper and Jon Spayde (Gabriola Island, B.C.: New Society Publishers,
  • 2001)
  • "A Cosmos of Grace: A Relational Universe, An Embodied Cosmology," 
  • interview by Linda Gibler, Open Eye (California Institute of Integral Studies),
  • Fall 2000
  • Televised interview by Jeffrey Mishlove about The Resurgence of the Real, on Thinking Allowed, shown on PBS stations, 1999
  • "Green Evolution: A Conversation with Charlene Spretnak," by Morgan
  • Vierheller, Green Horizon, vol. 6, no. 1, March 1998
  • Interview by Casey Walker about The Resurgence of the Real in Wild Duck Review: Literature Looking Home & Toward the Future, vol. IV, no. 1, Winter 1998 (is posted on
  • "A Conversation with Charlene Spretnak," by Gail Holland, Connections, 
  • Institute of Noetic Sciences, Issue 1, Sept. 1997
  • Interview by Derrick Jensen in Listening to the Land: Nature, Culture, and Eros (Sierra Club Books, 1995)
  • "Tillbaka till kroppen: For ekofeministen Charlene Spretnak ar kvinnans fysik borjan till det goda," by Pascale Montardet and Lars Tragardh, Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm, Sweden, 3 June 1993
  • Televised interview by Jeffrey Mishlove about States of Grace, on Thinking Allowed, shown on PBS stations, filmed in December 1991
  • Televised interview by John Parrot, Frontiers, a radio and television program produced by the Christian Science Monitor, November 1991
  • "Spretnak on Meditation, Economics, and Resistance," by Diane Sherwood and Susan Butler, National Catholic Reporter, 22 November 1991
  • "Reclaiming Meaning: A Conversation with Charlene Spretnak," by Michael Toms, New Dimensions, Sept./Oct. 1991 (cover story of their magazine)
  • "Women's Spirituality: An Interview with Charlene Spretnak," by Catherine Maclay, Yoga Journal, March/April 1983

Critical Works that Include Discussions of Charlene Spretnak's Books

  • Nini Zhang, "Body, Nature, and Place," Philosophical Trends, Beijing,
  • no. 7, 2001.
  • Zhihe Wang, "Spretnak and Ecological Postmodernism," Journal of Social Sciences Abroad, Beijing, no. 6, 1997
  • Starrett, Shari Neller, "Critical Relations with Hegel: Woman, Family, and the Divine," in Feminist Interpretations of G. W. F. Hegel, ed. by Patricia J. Mills (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996)
  • Kathleen M. Sands, Escape from Paradise: Evil and Tragedy in Feminist Theology (Fortress Press, 1994)
  • Catherine Albanese, Nature Religion in America (Chicago University Press, 1990)

Interviews by Charlene Spretnak

  • "Reflections on the Green Politics Movement: A Conversation with Sara Parkin," Annals of Earth, vol. XII, no. 1, Summer 1994
  • "Conversations with Pragmatic Visionaries" series in Creation Magazine, 1986-1988

Women's Spirituality Faculty

Alka Arora Alka Arora
Assistant Professor, Women's Spirituality
PhD, University of Washington,
BA, University of Southern California,
Asoka Bandarage Asoka Bandarage
Adjunct Distinguished Professor, Women's Spirituality
PhD, BA, Yale University,
BA, Bryn Mawr College,
Jennifer Berezan Jennifer Berezan
Adjunct Professor, Women's Spirituality
MA, Holy Names College,
BA, University of Calgary,
Carolyn Brandy Carolyn Brandy
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
BA, Holy Names College,
Susan Carter Susan Carter
Adjunct Professor, Women's Spirituality & Transformative Inquiry
PhD, MA, California Institute of Integral Studies,
BA, Lewis and Clark College,
Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum
Professor Emeritus, Women's Spirituality
PhD, MA, BA, University of California, Berkeley,
Carol P. Christ Carol P. Christ
Adjunct Professor, Women's Spirituality
PhD, MA, Yale University,
Lisa Christie Lisa Christie
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
PhD, California Institute of Integral Studies,
MBA, Santa Clara University; BA, Coleman College,
Jen Cross
Program Coordinator, Women's Spirituality
Cheryl Dawson Cheryl Dawson
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
MDiv, Graduate Theological Union,
MA, New College of California; BA, California State University, Hayward,
Vivian Dzyak Vivian Dzyak
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
PhD, MA, California Institute of Integral Studies,
BA, California State University, Hayward,
Riane Eisler Riane Eisler
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Women's Spirituality Program
Philosophy and Religion Department, School of Consciousness and Transformation
JD, University of California, Los Angeles,
Heide Goettner-Abendroth Heide Goettner-Abendroth
Adjunct Distinguished Professor, Women's Spirituality
PhD, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat of Munich,
Susan Griffin
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
MA, BA, San Francisco State University,
Miri Hunter Haruach Miri Hunter Haruach
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
PhD, California Institute of Integral Studies,
MA, University of New Mexico; BFA, University of Tampa,
Mara Lynn Keller Mara Lynn Keller
Professor, Women's Spirituality Program
PhD, MPhil, Yale University,
MA, Purdue University; BA, Gettysburg College,
Anne Key Anne Key
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
PhD, California Institute of Integral Studies,
MA, BA, Stephen F. Austin State University,
Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman
Adjunct Instructor, Women's Spirituality
MAHL, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College,
MA, Hebrew Union College; BA, University of California, Berkeley,
Mary Mackey Mary Mackey
Adjunct Professor, Women's Spirituality
Phd, University of Michigan,
BA, Harvard University,
Reanae McNeal Reanae McNeal
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
MA, Texas Woman’s University,
BA, Western Illinois University,
Mytrae Meliana Mytrae Meliana
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
MA, California Institute of Integral Studies,
MA, MM, Ball State University,
Arisika Razak Arisika Razak
Professor Emeritus, Women's Spirituality
MPH, University of California, Berkeley,
Sara Salazar Sara Salazar
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
PhD, California Institute of Integral Studies,
Charlene Spretnak Charlene Spretnak
Professor Emeritus, Women's Spirituality
Starhawk Starhawk
Adjunct Professor, Women's Spirituality
MA, Antioch West,
Elizabeth Ursic Elizabeth Ursic
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
PhD, Arizona State University; MDiv, Yale University,
BA/MA, BA/BS, University of Pennsylvania,
Karen Nelson Villanueva Karen Nelson Villanueva
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
PhD, California Institute of Integral Studies,
MA, George Washington University; MA, Holy Names University,
Afia Walking Tree Afia Walking Tree
Adjunct Lecturer, Women's Spirituality
M.Ed, Bank Street College of Education,
Sara Webb Sara Webb
Adjunct Professor, Women's Spirituality
BA, University of California, Berkeley,
Annette Williams Annette Williams
Program Chair and Assistant Professor, Women's Spirituality
PhD, California Institute of Integral Studies,

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