Women, Identity and Religion in Wales

Theology, Poetry, Story

Manon Ceridwen James

Women, Identity and Religion in Wales

Manon Ceridwen James

Distributed for University of Wales Press

256 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2017
Paper $40.00 ISBN: 9781786831934 Published June 2018 For sale in North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand only
Women, Identity and Religion in Wales is a groundbreaking study in a Welsh context of practical theology, a field within theology that has grown internationally in recent years. With the first book on Welsh feminist theology, Manon Ceridwen James explores the impact of religion on Welsh women’s identity, provides empirical evidence for the ways women construct their identities, and closely examines the current roles that religion play in it. To achieve this, James used an eclectic methodology: narrative interviews with women aged between thirty and fifty-five living in all areas of Wales; a case study looking at the works of influential Welsh poet Menna Elfyn; and her own reflections, experiences, poetry, and engagements with writings by a range of Welsh women.
 
Ultimately, James contradicts the established mythology that there is a strong contemporary relationship between nonconformity and female Welshness. Instead, she conceptualizes a Welsh identity that is changing rapidly from respectability and commitment to community to self-fulfillment and globalism. Her research points to the need for cultural change within Welsh churches—one more compatible with the true values and expectations of women (and men) in Wales today.
 
Review Quotes
D. Densil Morgan, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
"In this highly thought-provoking study, Manon James has considered the way in which gender stereotypes have impacted not only traditional religious practice in Wales but the way in which religion has been perceived in society at large. The blend of sober academic analysis and creative response through poetry and story is wholly excellent. This is a book to be savoured by those within the churches and beyond."
James Woodward, Sarum College, Salisbury
"Practical theology takes human experience with utmost seriousness, and this book of narrative theology is an important and significant contribution to our understanding of how religion shapes and distorts the identity of women. The author skilfully enables a range of Welsh women to articulate their identity with moving, insightful honesty and courage … and provides a model for doing practical theology and the mechanics of ethnographic research."
 
Jennie Hurd, District Chair, Synod Cymru, The Methodist Church in Wales
"This very readable book engages its theme with a wide range of conversation partners. The resulting dialogue is rich, stimulating and fascinating, and it offers a valuable and challenging contribution to our understanding of womanhood, Welsh identity and faith at a time of significant societal change."
Enid R. Morgan, former Director of thr Board of Mission of the Church in Wales
"This is a silence-breaking, ground-ploughing piece of work on women’s experience of nationality and religion in Wales. It is written from inside knowledge and will evoke both cheers and sighs of recognition. It knits together stories of individuals with observation, academic theory and theology in a rigorous framework, while crystallising the argument in poignant poems – a method both feminist and rootedly Welsh. Diolch yn fawr iawn, Manon."
Dawn Mannay, Cardiff University
"Women, Identity and Religion in Wales is a captivating read for anyone interested in Welshness, faith and the everyday lives of women. The author engages with different conversation partners including women interviewed in the fieldwork, writers of literature, theology and sociology, and herself through reflexive poetry, to offer important insights into the complexities and multiplicities of identity."
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