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Rising from Deep Places

Women's Lives and the Ecology of Voice and Silence


Elena Stone

Elena Stone’s provocative study of a diverse group of grassroots activists and artists gives new dimensions to a question that has long been an underlying theme in feminist scholarship: how do women find their voices? In this book that interweaves sociological analysis with personal experience, women’s history, and imagery from myth, religion, and the natural world, that question expands to encompass the very meaning of voice itself. Stone’s interviews, primarily with African-American, white working-class, and Jewish women, offer fresh and creative perspectives on gender, race, class, and culture. The resulting chapters explore the many faces of silence and examine the meaning of voice in relation to living in a body, building community, seeking justice, creating art, and affirming one’s connection with the earth. What emerges is a powerful new vision of women’s development that blends notions of personal and social transformation with a growing ecological and spiritual consciousness.

«Ecology is the perfect term for Elena Stone’s exploration of women’s voice, and perhaps a new paradigm for conceptualizing race, class, culture, and religious difference among women. Stone is first and foremost an expert listener. Though each woman’s story remains its own fascinating terrain, Stone’s open ear and heart keep us grounded in an interdependence waiting to be claimed and celebrated by us all.» (Donna Bivens, Co-Director, Women’s Theological Center; Co-Author of Living Between History and Hope: An Anti-Racism Manual for Small Groups)
«Elena Stone has written a remarkable book. Both accessible and scholarly, ‘Rising from Deep Places’ maps the realities of voice and silence in the lives of women, not as victims but as actors and agent – struggling, to be sure, but resilient, strong, and creative. At last we have a work on women’s voice that takes seriously both the spiritual and the political dimensions of women’s lives and that addresses and integrates fully the realities of culture, race, and class. Not only academics but anyone – male or female – concerned about human development, creativity, social change, and the compelling nature of personal narrative in a complex and pluralistic world, will savor and learn from Stone and the women whose voices she honors.» (Jane Redmont, Author of ‘Generous Lives: American Catholic Women Today’ and ‘When in Doubt, Sing: Prayer in Daily Life’)
«‘Rising from Deep Places’ makes a unique contribution to the literature on women’s voice. Drawing upon interviews of women as well as mining her personal experience, Elena Stone discovers two voices often in conflict: one that advocates for social change and one that seeks communion with the world through artistic expression. With immense heart, she calls for reconciliation between these equally compelling directions. Stone gives us a book that embodies a healing vision in this time of divisions and divisiveness – among multiple voices within oneself and within society.» (Robbie Pfeufer Kahn, Author of ‘Bearing Meaning: The Language of Birth’, Winner of the «American Sociological Association Jessie Bernard Award»)