Charlene Spretnak has been intrigued throughout her life as a writer, speaker, and activist with dynamic interrelatedness. She has written nine books on various subjects in which interrelatedness plays a central role, including its expression in the arts. She is particularly interested in 21st-century discoveries indicating that the physical world, including the human bodymind, is far more dynamically interrelated than modernity had assumed. Such discoveries are currently causing a “relational shift” in our institutions and systems of knowledge, as she suggests in Relational Reality (2011). Several of her books have also proposed a "map of the terrain" of emergent social-change movements and an exploration of the issues involved. She has helped to create an eco-social frame of reference and vision in the areas of social criticism (including feminism), cultural history, and religion and spirituality. Since the mid-1980s, her books have examined the multiple crises of modernity and furthered the corrective efforts that are arising. Her book Green Politics was a major catalyst for the formation of the U.S. Green Party movement, of which she is a cofounder. Her book The Resurgence of the Real was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the Best Books of 1997. In 2006 Charlene Spretnak was named by the British government's Environment Department as one of the "100 Eco-Heroes of All Time." In 2012 she received the Demeter Award for lifetime achievement as "one of the premier visionary feminist thinkers of our time" from the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology. She is a professor emerita in philosophy and religion.
Her most recent book is on cultural history: The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art: Art History Reconsidered, 1800 to the Present (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, (2014; paperback edition, 2015). The history of modern art has generally been understood as a grand leap away from tradition, religion, and conventional norms, yielding decidedly secular art. Yet a majority of the prominent modern artists in every period had strong interests in the spiritual dimension of life, which they expressed in the new art forms they created. The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art draws on direct statements by scores of leading artists—cited from little known historical documentation as well as contemporary interviews—to demonstrate that spirituality, far from being inconsequential in the terrain of modern art, is generative. This book was favorably reviewed in the February 2016 issue of Art in America. For further information, please see the page about The Spiritual Dynamic of Modern Art under Selected Works.
In addition to many articles, op-ed pieces, and reviews, she has written the following books:
The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art: Art History Reconsidered, 1800 to the Present (2014)
Relational Reality: New Discoveries of Interrelatedness That Are Transforming the Modern World (2011)
Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her ReEmergence in the Modern Church (2004)
The Resurgence of the Real: Body, Nature, and Place in a Hypermodern World (1997)
States of Grace: The Recovery of Meaning the Postmodern Age (1991)
The Spiritual Dimension of Green Politics (1986)
Green Politics: The Global Promise (principle coauthor, 1984)
The Politics of Women's Spirituality: Essays on the Rise of Spiritual Power within the Feminist Movement (editor, 1982)
Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths (1978)