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Christine Downing Papers
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  • Descriptive Summary

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Christine Downing Papers
    Physical Description: 32.5 linear feet (68 boxes)
    Opus Archives and Research Center
    Santa Barbara, CA 93108
    Language of Material: English

    Scope and Content Note

    The Downing collection includes memento folders from 1955 through 2006, manuscripts, personal and professional correspondence, lecture outlines and notes, syllabi, and recordings of many of the courses she has taught over more than four decades.

    Biography/Organization History

    Christine Downing (1931-) is a scholar of religion, mythology, depth psychology, and feminist studies. She married while attending college and was the first married woman to graduate from Swarthmore. She wrote her dissertation on Martin Buber and became the first woman upon whom Drew University bestowed a doctorate. Downing began her exemplary teaching career at Rutgers University in 1963. She moved to California in 1974 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 what was then the newly established Mythological Studies program at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
    Throughout her professional career, Downing published nine books and edited five others, mapping the changes in the field of religious studies over the last half century. Significant works include The Goddess: Mythological Images of the Feminine (1981), The Myths and Mysteries of Same Sex Love (1989), and Psyche's Sisters: Reimagining the Meaning of Sisterhood (1988). See the Opus Archives and Research Center website for a bibliography of Downing’s works.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Depth psychology
    Women's studies