Christine Downing (1931) is a scholar of religion, mythology, depth psychology and feminist studies. Unusual for a woman of her generation, she married while attending college and was the first married woman graduate from Swarthmore.
Downing wrote her dissertation on Martin Buber and was the first woman upon whom Drew University bestowed a doctorate. She began her exemplary teaching career at Rutgers University in 1963. In 1974 she moved to California to teach at San Diego State University where she remained for eighteen years, ten of which she served as chair of the Department of Religious Studies.
In 1974, when Dr. Downing became the first woman president of the American Academy of Religion, she gave her presidential address on “Sigmund Freud and the Mythological Tradition,” a presentation which marked an important early public expression of her life-long scholarly emphasis on Freud.
During her years in San Diego, Dr. Downing also served as a core faculty member at the California School of Professional Psychology. This assignment led her to return to school to pursue a master’s degree in family therapy. In 1994 she was asked to assist in the development of the curriculum for the newly established Mythological Studies program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, the program that is now at the center of her professional life.
Christine Downing has forged a career in the academy and in the evolution of feminist thought through the unique blending of rigorous scholarly work with the personal voice of biographical writing and self reflection. Throughout her professional career in which she published ten books and edited five others, she mapped the changes in the field of religious studies over the last half century.
Throughout her collection evidence of the ground-breaking contribution she has made to feminist thought and writing is revealed. The breadth and incisiveness of her inquiry and the directness and openness of her voice through years of personal and cultural exploration is unparalleled. See Christine Downing’s bibliography of published works.