An ecological model for religious education in Latvia: An ecofeminist perspective

Dzintra Ilisko, Fordham University


This study presents an ecological model for religious education designed for Latvia that incorporates the principles and insights of ecofeminist theologians and religious educators. It is not only concerned with reclaiming women's place in the educational realm of the school through teaching religion, but with presenting a wider ecological perspective that is inclusive to women, men, and the Earth. Therefore the study presents a view of women's role and place in the school and considers the influences of larger ecological, political, economic, educational contexts on defining women's place. The research contends that when women have no place in polics, education and religion, the devaluation of women's lives and experiences occurs, and the whole field of educational thought is diminished. The study presents an analysis of women's place in the current models of religious education in Latvia, and proposes the principles of an ecological model for religious education. The choice of an ecological and, particularly, ecofeminist perspective for this study was determined by the following factors: First, an ecological perspective has impressed itself upon a contemporary understanding of the world. It has become difficult to think of persons and events as disconnected. The world is an interconnected web of life that is better understood by reference to complex relationships rather than by detailed description of its isolated components. Second, feminism is a movement which originated in discontent with patriarchal and hierarchical relationships and which has emerged as the constructive imagining of new forms of relating towards God, Earth, others, and self. An ecofeminist ecological model for religious education is crucial for liberating domineering relationships in all spheres of society and for building interrelating and interdependent patterns of partnership relationships. Third, ecofeminism is a movement that recognizes and makes explicit the interconnections between all systems of oppression. Fourth, ecofeminism, as a political movement encourages the building of a sustainable and inclusive classroom community that extends towards a sustainable model of society that honors the self-determination of women, as well as men, and locates the well-being of human societies within the well-being of the entire Earth community. It seeks to transform political and social orders that promote human oppression embedded in social practices.

Subject Area

Religious education

Recommended Citation

Ilisko, Dzintra, "An ecological model for religious education in Latvia: An ecofeminist perspective" (2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3061346.