»Religious Genderings: The Socio-Spiritual [Dis-]Empowerment of Women and Men. Interdisciplinary Conference - February 27-28, 2014

Call for Papers: The deadline for proposals is November 15, 2013.

Interdisciplinary Conference - February 27-28, 2014
Religious Genderings: The Socio-Spiritual [Dis-]Empowerment of Women and Men

The Department of Religious Studies at Chapman University invites scholars working in the area of religion, gender and sexuality from a variety of religious perspectives including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism and with diverse academic disciplinary training to submit proposals for papers for presentation and consideration for subsequent publication. Proposals should include contact information, a title, and an abstract of 300 words, sent to Prof. Nancy M. Martin via e-mail at nmartin@chapman.edu or mailed to her at the Department of Religious Studies, Chapman University, 1 University Drive, Orange, California 92866.

This interdisciplinary conference will focus on religion as a powerful force in shaping our conceptions of gender, a force which can be simultaneously liberative and oppressive, its institutions more often than not mirroring but also reinforcing patriarchal social structures and oppressive definitions of gender and sexuality even as its teachings may call for equality and/or androgyny in the pursuit of spiritual transformation and for compassionate individual action. The religious traditions of the world have had to begin to confront their complicity in often violent oppression of women in the twentieth century. This has included self-critique but also the recovery of women’s voices and exemplary figures from the past as well as re-readings of scriptural traditions, reinvention of rituals and practices, and re-envisioning of institutions, leadership and teachings. This process is by no means complete. The twenty-first century brings the additional but related challenge of confronting religious attitudes toward sexuality, magnified for LGBT individuals.

Studies of the relationship between religion and gender have often fallen into bifurcated camps, some focusing on religion as a source of empowerment, others seeing it as a source of repression and control. Social critiques and movements of liberation are also often portrayed as wholly separate from spirituality and the oppression and/or empowerment of women as separate from that of men. This conference is designed to call these sharp contrasts into question, with presenters challenged to address religious genderings in a more holistic and comprehensive way, one that takes into account their impact on both men and women, the effects of shifting notions of identity in the context of globalization, and the intersection of constructions of gender with attitudes toward sexuality.

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