Gender and Everyday Life in Contemporary Religion, Reading Group 1, Lent 2019
Over the past thirty years, the field of gender and religion has transformed from an almost invisible category to a vibrant, nuanced and flourishing field of study (Abu-Lughod, 1986, 1998; Avishai, 2008; Davidman, 1991; El-Or, 2010; Fader, 2009; Fishman, 2008; Griffith, 1997; Mahmood, 2005; Stadler, 2009). Inspired by pioneer works such as Saba Mahmood (2005), Marie Griffith (1997) and Lila Abu-Lughod (1986, 1998), the works that followed, examined the emergence of creative readings of traditional texts (Sonbol, 2015; Stadler, 2009; Taragin-Zeller, 2014), the growing models of female literacy, leadership and clergy (Avishai, 2008; El-Or, 2010; Hammer, 2012) as well as ritual practices (Koren, 2006; Ochs, 2007), legal issues in marriage and divorce (Joffe & Neil, 2012; Mir-Hosseini, 2013), and historical re-readings of women's literary (Umansky & Ashton, 2008).
Now that the field has been established, various critiques of this theoretical framework have emerged (e.g. Schielke, 2015; Sehlikoglu, 2016). This term, we will reread some of the 'watershed moments' in the study of gender and religion as we address some of the following questions:
- What analytical tools have been developed to study the nexus of gender and religion?
- How have key concepts and main theoretical trends advanced our understandings and how have they limited them?
- What types of methods and theoretical horizons could further assist the scholarly understanding of gender and religion?
Throughout Lent, we will explore these questions during two brown bag lunchtime reading groups and a special guest panel.
The first of two Reading Groups on 'Gender and Everyday Life in Contemporary Religion' will take place between 1-2pm on January 16 2019 at the Woolf Institute. The text for discussion:
- Anna Stewart (2016) Quiet beauty: problems of agency and appearance in evangelical Christianity, Religion, 46:1, 32-52, DOI: 10.1080/0048721X.2015.1042990
Read the article.
The text will be presented by Malcolm McLean (Doctoral Candidate, Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge) who will reflect on agency, voice and the analytic place of power relations in ethnographic research.
Details of the second Reading Group can be found here.
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