Lise Weil, PhD

Affiliated Faculty

Teaching Philosophy

I used to call myself a “recovering academic” but after decades of teaching at Goddard, there is not much of the traditional academic left in me. My formal training is in comparative literature, but I’ve been shaped far more by the myriad forms of deep mycelial exploration my students have undertaken over the years and the brave hard work they’ve done to piece themselves and the world back together again. I am grateful to be teaching in a program where overseeing and shepherding students through this work is our primary role as faculty. It is both a great joy –and also, I believe, critically important work in the world. In 2017 I edited, together with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg, a collection of essays by Goddard Graduate Institute faculty about our pedagogy: Teaching Transformation: Progressive Education in Action. You can find more about my teaching philosophy there.

My teaching is informed by my meditation practice, in both Zen and Vipassana, which dates back to 1986, as well as my decades-long Tai Chi practice. For twenty years I studied with an exacting Chinese master who once boasted that he had done “forty years of research” in Tai Chi. As far as I know he never once cracked a book, and I am just beginning to understand how such a thing is possible. Though I get as excited as ever by good writing, and I believe radical ideas need to be grounded in rigorous and disciplined thinking and scholarship, my teachers now are just as likely to be whales, cats, trees—or my own body. I bring the knowledge I draw from all of these teachers to the Individualized MA Studies’ concentration in Embodiment Studies, which has served as a container for truly groundbreaking and compelling student work.


PhD in Comparative Literature, Brown University
MA in Comparative Literature, Brown University
BA in Comparative Literature, Cornell University

Areas of Expertise

  • Creative writing: fiction, nonfiction, hybrid forms
  • Embodiment studies
  • Feminist studies; lesbian/queer studies
  • Ecology
  • Buddhist psychology and spirituality
  • Literature and translation

Meaningful Action in the World

Uppermost in my mind most days is our relationship as humans to the nonhuman world, which is going to have to change radically if we’re to have a liveable future. We white nonindigenous folk are going to have to start listening to voices we’ve exiled or ignored until now, including those of animals, plants and the earth herself. These concerns drove me to found the journal Dark Matter: Women Witnessing in 2014. Dark Matter is a home for writing and artwork created in response to an era of massive species loss and ecological collapse. The 15th issue has just launched and I am very proud of and moved by the writers we have published—who happen to include GGI students and alums and faculty across programs.

Feminist passion drove most of my thinking and writing in the 80s and 90s. In 1982 I founded Trivia: A Journal of Ideas, an award-winning feminist literary and political magazine, which I edited for nine years. I was also editor of its online relaunch, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, from 2004 to 2011. The feminism I was and still am committed to is not just about women’s rights, but about subverting a toxic system of domination and fragmentation that is increasingly putting all sentient life in jeopardy. If I had to reduce it to a two-word bumper-sticker it would be: WITCHES HEAL.

Since 2005 I’ve been hosting day-long and weekend-long retreats for women and nonbinary writers. The retreats center around dreams and tuning in to beyond-human intelligences.


In Search of Pure Lust: a Memoir, Inanna Publications, She Writes Press, 2018

Teaching Transformation: Progressive Education in Action, Introduction by Elizabeth Minnich. Ed. with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. Goddard Graduate Institute, 2017.

Beyond Recall: Mary Meigs. Compiled and edited, with editor’s introduction. Talonbooks, 2005 Website

Affiliation Goddard Graduate Institute
Individualized Master of Arts

Location Plainfield, Vermont

Important Announcement

The Board of Directors for Goddard College have made the difficult decision to close the college at the end of the 2024 Spring term.  


Current Goddard students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate through a teach-out with like-minded institution, Prescott College. Updates and scholarship funds will be available in the coming weeks and months. Information will be posted to

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