October 15, 2019
CPS’ intrepid Social Media Director, Valerie Young, brought to our attention a Facebook comment from partnership leader Jen Taylor: “I’m guest-teaching four sections of philosophy on Partnership Studies this spring  and my UConn students (60 total) all ordered The Chalice and the Blade as part of the required reading. First time I was able to get the book on the syllabus after 6 years! So happy it’s getting the recognition it deserves. Congrats & thank you.”
Congratulations to you, Jen, for creatively introducing Riane Eisler’s work and partnership values to your university students! With her husband Justin Good, Jen taught a four part Philosophy lecture series based on The Chalice and the Blade for the Spring and Fall 2019 semesters at University of Connecticut, Middlesex Community College, and Wesleyan College (approx. 120 students total). We were so excited by this news that we invited Jen to share her teaching experience at the June, 2019 Partnership Community Online Gathering.
“Like many, finding & reading Chalice was an earth-moving event for me. The book is one of the loves of my life along with my first rescue dog & my husband! As a philosophy undergrad, the Pre-Socratics resonated most deeply with me, Homeric Hymns and Greek Tragedy, as well—though pieces of them nagged at me. The lightning bolt of my experience at age 25 was that I had just finished studying everything Eisler critiques in chapters 4-8 of Chalice (a monumental undertaking & if she missed something, I haven’t found it yet). Her contribution in unveiling the shift to domination systems thinking as documented in pre-Classical scholarship cannot be underscored.
I teach directly from The Chalice and the Blade, and just discovered Eisler’s book The Partnership Way and plan to integrate it this Fall 2019. I am glad that I initially developed my own materials, approach, lists, etc…I am teaching from my own voice and experience. I also led two students in an independent study of The Chalice & The Blade at Middlesex, and we are dropping the 4-part module ‘Dominator Problems & Partnership Solutions’ into an Environmentalism class at Wesleyan this fall.
My experience teaching/sharing this material is that the students are hungry for the information. Many are shut down to begin with and, at the heart of the matter, my sense is that they are relieved to gain the ability to digest the troubling nature of our times with the knowledge that we are capable of acting differently in the world. Without this lens, it is too difficult for most humans to look at.
“This class was such an eye-opener on the current global and national issues in the world…the way we treat women in society is not okay.”
I received some wonderful feedback, here is a student evaluation:
“When I first signed up for this class, I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy it, I only took it because I needed the class to fill up my schedule. Now it’s the end of the semester and thinking back on this class, I’ve come to realize that I enjoyed it very much. This class was such an eye-opener on the current global and national issues in the world right now. I learned about many new issues our civilization is facing today and ways we can improve our lifestyle to help our future generations. One of my favorite parts of this class was Jen Taylor came in to teach us a few lessons. I have no words. She was such an inspiration to not only me but my fellow classmates. She taught us so much about women’s struggles in the world right now and how we need to open our eyes to these issues and help others see that the way we treat women in society is not okay. I really appreciated her teaching style and her passion for the subjects she talked about. Overall, I think taking this class was one of the best decisions I made this semester and I look forward to taking more philosophy classes in my future here at UConn. I’ve found that I’ve gained a liking to hearing and discussing these very relevant topics and would like to continue doing so.” —Shreena Naran / Philosophy 1104 / UConn
Jen comments: “Back in 1994, I eschewed classical academia post-undergrad school in heartbreak/disgust at what was missing. All these years later (age 47) I am pursuing a degree at California Institute for Integral Studies beginning Fall 2019 in the Philosophy/Women’s Spirituality program, very soon now!”
Jen serves as Artistic Director for OmFly, a circus teaching & performance troupe. “I view circus, fused with yoga, as a kind of re-wilding medicine for domesticated times.” With her husband she manages a non-profit called The Sanctuary, a 40- acre land trust & retreat center promoting environmentalism, sustainability & self-exploration. Jen is also a certified caring economy and partnership leader. We agree with Jen’s self-assessment: “…as Xena Warrior Princess says, “I have many skills”.”
We would not be surprised to see Riane Eisler’s new book, Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future, included in Jen’s future university teaching. Thank you Jen for the inspired work you do as a university partnership educator, and we look forward to hearing about the next leg of your leadership journey.
Note from Jen:
“My teaching partner/husband, Justin Good Ph.D., is a philosophy professor and I’d like to share a letter from him on how Partnership Studies folds into (and has transformed) his philosophy curriculum”. Read Good’s Teaching Partnership, Partnership Teaching.
Contact Jen: firstname.lastname@example.org