This page lists the chapters that Dr Alison Woolley has contributed to edited collections of academic essays and provides a link to each of these books.
'Beyond Words: "The Voyage Out"', in From the Shores of Silence: Conversations in Feminist Practical Theology, edited by Ashley Cocksworth, Rachel Starr and Stephen Burns (SCM Press, 2023), 212-227.
Written for a festschrift celebrating the academic career of Professor Nicola Slee, this chapter springs from engagement with Slee's book, Sabbath: The Heartbeat of Our Lives (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2019), itself deeply rooted in the 'Sabbath' poems of Wendell Berry. Inviting readers to glimpse into the abyss of silence, this chapter explores the wisdom of mystics through the ages, from the anonymous fourteenth century English author of The Could of Unknowing to the contemporary Anglican solitary, Maggie Ross. Setting the idea of 'rewilding' silence within a much wider orbit of our response to God, it explores a 'disposition towards kenosis' that develops through sustained engagement in silence as a spiritual discipline that tends towards the apophatic.
'Silent Gifts: An Exploration of Relationality in Contemporary Christian Women's Chosen Practices of Silence', in The Faith Lives of Women and Girls, edited by Nicola Slee, Fran Porter and Anne Phillips (Ashgate, 2013), 147-159.
This chapter illuminates the richness of women's chosen engagement in silence as prayer or meditation, depicting their understanding of this form of spiritual discipline as a space of nurture and encounter. Offering a rich account of the meanings that women ascribe to such practices and demonstrating how silence is full of presence for them, it highlights women's experience and perception of silence as a place of relationality, not only with God and with themselves, but also with other people and with the whole of creation.
'Wholly Sound: A Feminist Reframing of the "Problem" of Interview Silence', in Researching Female Faith: Qualitative Research Methods, edited by Nicola Slee, Fran Porter and Anne Phillips (Routledge, 2017), 155-170.
This chapter focuses on the place of silence in analysing transcripts of in-depth qualitative research interviews about women's chosen practices of silence. It particularly addresses the theological, methodological and substantive significance of silences in the interviews themselves, detailing an approach to silences that rather than viewing them as problematic null spaces views them as an intrinsic part of meaning-making. Interview silences are portrayed as being offered to the interviewee as spaces for recognition, reflection and new understanding, and as a way of being more fully present to other, in a method that stands as a significant corrective to interview analysis that focuses on words alone as carriers of meaning.