Religious Transformation and Gender: Contestations in/and the study of religion, gender and sexuality
As our research project slowly draws to an end, we are currently working hard to organize our final conference in March of 2021. We hope to be able to welcome you all in Utrecht between 10 and 12 March 2021 for a three-day conference entitled “Religious Transformation and Gender
Contestations in/and the study of religion, gender and sexuality”. More information about the programme can be found here. We have invited several keynote speakers, who will be announced shortly.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, which is currently controlling all of our lives globally (not to mention transformative of lives, bodies, and religion as well), we are still working hard to organise the conference physically in Utrecht – although we are also investigating options to host the meeting online if that turns out to be the safest option and best solution to meet each other in March of next year.
We invite contributions from various fields, the … READ MORE
Disputes about the status and position of religions are increasing throughout the world. Conflicts about morals, national citizenship and public space are often interwoven with questions about religion and the secular, and many times interlinked with questions of gender, sexuality and race/ethnicity. This becomes apparent in, for example, recent discussions about women’s covering on French beaches; debates regarding the niqab in various European contexts; the recently signed ‘Nashville’ agreement in the Netherlands in which Evangelical and Calvinist pastors took an explicitly anti-homosexuality and anti-transgender standpoint; and the rise of ‘anti-gender’ movements across Europe. In these discussions and developments, understandings of belonging are often framed in terms of questions about religion gender/sexuality and race/ethnicity.
In this secular/religion binary, ‘secular’ tends to refer to modernity and progress, while ‘religion’ is – in its public image – often perceived as conservative and resisting change. This conference questions the assumption of the unchangeability of religion, by focusing on religious change and transformation instead. In this conference, we focus on the transformative and transforming aspects of religion in all its facets – as a way of life, in public perception or representations, in the social or legal sphere, as a theological-historical phenomenon, and at the level of individual subjectivity. In contemporary secularized societies, some religious transformations are, however, much more at the center of attention than others, and are also more contested than others.
Religions are often transforming – changing – due to being located in, and sometimes contested by, secular modernity. At the same time, religions have transformative impact on individual and collective subjectivity formation, especially when individuals or groups experience a significant change in religious or spiritual life. Such transformative experiences include, but are not limited to, phenomena such as conversion or moving away from religion, or processes of religious intensification, revivalism, or decline. This conference is particularly interested in how these two sides of ‘transforming’ religion (as adjective: religion as a phenomenon that changes the lives of individuals, communities and societies, or infinitive: religion as itself subject to transitions), relate to bodies, gender, and sexuality.