Editor’s Note

At the edge of campus within Fisher Hall, the Women’s Center is a room from the past. Its dusty shelves are stuffed with minutes from long-ago meetings and mass-market paperbacks of The Feminine Mystique, while leather photo albums and vintage covers of Ms. magazine are strewn beside 70s-inspired decor. In the fall of 2019, our editor-in-chief stumbled across the archival copies of the long-lost literary journal VOICE when visiting the Women’s Center during her first week on campus. This journal aimed to tell women’s stories through the lens of their own experiences. Its issues, dated 1996-2002, each differed in size and visual aesthetic, but they all had one thing in common: they were written “for women and by women.” 

This discovery coincided with the beginning of “50WomenAtYale150,” a celebration of Yale’s coeducation anniversaries. At Yale Divinity School, “50WomenAtYale150” remembered and retold stories of trailblazing women from Yale’s past and sought to inspire meaningful conversation about the future of women in theological teaching, doctoral research, ministerial formation, and community leadership. Lectures and exhibits transposed these memories of adversities and achievements into the present, kindling resistance against the sexist, misogynistic, and heteronormative underpinnings of Yale’s educational institutions while, at the same time, acknowledging that business is unfinished and the fight for equality is not over. The power of these memories to reconnect us with the lives of those who struggled before us is what makes them so dangerous: they break through to reveal pre-existing injustices and recommit us to our shared mission of restoring justice in the future. Together, this year-long commemoration and the finding of the VOICE archive marked an unavoidable solidarity with the “dangerous memory” of the women of Yale.

In the case of VOICE, the danger lies not in remembering that women did not have a space for their voices, but in recognizing that they did in a remarkable way that no longer exists today at YDS. Its past issues manifested the previous existence of a feminist forum for women in which creative exchange through self-exploratory writings and talking circles appeared to be alive and vibrant. Coming into contact with the “dangerous memory” of prior student contributors to VOICE and the Women’s Center has moved us to recreate a space for women at YDS and in the larger Yale community. We the editors feel called to uplift the voices of women in the present through our resurrection of VOICE.

In this inaugural issue, our writers and artists speak to what it means to come from somewhere and have that location shape and inform you. Each of our pieces highlight the embodiment of self as inseparable from the intersectionality of women’s identities. Underscoring the unearthing of their voices, as expressed by Dr. Kate Ott in her introduction, is an ever-evolving understanding of reciprocity and accountability. Through a variety of mediums and vantage points, VOICE is an emblem of feminist reflection within the religious domain. By engaging with past narratives of those left unheard, rendered invisible, emptied of power, and laid to waste by memory’s neglect, it is our hope that the revival of VOICE will reignite a space at YDS for women’s momentous expression.