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This talk examines the important if overlooked esoteric and feminist contributions of three American women: Alice Bunker Stockham (1833-1912), Ida C. Craddock (1857-1902), and Eleanor Kirk (1831-1908). Building on their experiences struggling for women’s suffrage and women’s rights, all three developed unique practices which sought to perfect human relationships and sexual intercourse–and in so doing, to perfect the world. These three thinkers demonstrate the complex relationships between women’s rights, sex reform, and then emerging esoteric religious ideas. In so doing, they can enrich our understanding of both American history and contemporary spirituality.

Speaker Bio

Christa Shusko holds a PhD in Religion from Syracuse University. She has published numerous scholarly book chapters on American esotericism ranging from Fin de siécle Martian romances to séance spiritualism in the Oneida Community to the importance of beauty in Eleanor Kirk’s newspaper columns. She currently serves as a co-chair for the Western Esotericism Unit of the American Academy of Religion.

Curated and hosted by Dr. Amy Hale

Dr. Amy Hale is an Atlanta-based anthropologist and folklorist writing about esoteric history, art, culture, women and Cornwall in various combinations. Her biography of Ithell Colquhoun, Genius of the Fern Loved Gully, is available from Strange Attractor Press, and she is also the editor of the forthcoming collection Essays on Women in Western Esotericism: Beyond Seeresses and Sea Priestesses from Palgrave Macmillan. Other writings can be found at her Medium site https://medium.com/@amyhale93 and her website www.amyhale.me.