Monday, June 19: Making Alliances
Morning Panel Discussion:
Melanie Harris, Chair
Mary Churchill, Panelist
Rachel Harding, Panelist
Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Panelist
This opening panel of the conference invites reflections on alliances that you have sought to nurture in your scholarship and activism, as well as successful feminist alliances that you have observed over the years in the academy, in global activist communities and in your own communities. As we work to construct new ways of being feminist scholars and activists, you are also invited to speak directly about your vision of building successful alliances among feminist communities in light of recent global trends of increasing misogyny, religious fundamentalism, right wing populism and ethnocentric nationalism. Questions to consider might include: What frameworks or concepts that have been normative in feminist theory need to be reimagined to work well in the current political and interreligious global context? How does your work reflect the creation of alliances? Were welcoming alliances created for you, or did you find yourself crafting your own path and making alliance for and with others?
Afternoon Panel Discussion:
Nayereh Tohidi, Chair
Geraldina Cespedes, Panelist
Fulata Moyo, Panelist
Elaine Nogueira-Godsey, Panelist
The panel discussion in the afternoon session on the theme of Making Alliances will emphasize the possibilities of action, praxis and activism. Panelists will consider and expand on strategic, practical and pedagogical aspects of the questions addressed from a more theoretical perspective in the morning panel discussion. We will be paying special attention to pedagogy and political strategies, and contemplate, question and re-imagine ways in which teaching and activist environments can be enriched by the content of the conference. Panelists will be sharing reflections on activist and teaching practices that assist or reflect feminist alliances, as well as the building of such alliances in the current political context. Questions to consider might include: In your work, on what bases and criteria have you negotiated successful alliances and coalition building? What have been lines of demarcation, convergence or divergence in trying to make alliances?
Monday, June 19: Keynote Lecture
7:15pm, Drew University Chapel
Tuesday, June 20: Breaking Taboos
Morning Panel Discussion:
Judith Plaskow, Chair
Rebecca Alpert, Panelist
Juliane Hammer, Panelist
Traci West, Panelist
Feminist work in religion has been breaking taboos in the academy and in the field of religious studies since its beginnings. Yet the concept of breaking taboos has become more ambiguous in the current political climate. When is it necessary and creative, and when does it begin to destroy the social fabric? Is the distinction always clear? Panelists will talk about issues that continue to feel taboo in feminist studies itself, addressing several questions. What would you identify as the key issue or issues that remain taboo in your tradition, culture, or area of religious studies and that are difficult to take up without censure? Who do the taboos benefit, and what kind of feminist work might they impede or make more difficult? Why are these issues important and what new possibilities for feminist work and activism might be opened by addressing them?
Afternoon Panel Discussion:
Elizabeth Pritchard, Chair
Sarah Azaransky, Panelist
Eboni Marshall Turman, Panelist
Cara Rock-Singer, Panelist
Feminist teachers and activists have long worked to develop pedagogies and political strategies that facilitate open discussion and coalition building. Such work requires that participants be willing to identify and work through taboo topics. That which is taboo, however, elicits feelings of danger, fear and threat. How can we proceed with this work given the increasingly recognized imperative of making students and colleagues feel “safe” in classrooms and on campuses? How do we negotiate the competing demands to break taboos, yet make participants feel safe? How might we reflect on the imperative of safety given a contemporary context marked by variations of a politics of fear amidst tightened borders, heightened surveillance and militarized policing of immigrants, refugees and persons of color? How do we facilitate critical assessments of fear and danger within classroom and activist contexts?
Wednesday, June 21: Transforming Religions
Nami Kim, Chair
Jacqueline Hidalgo, Panelist
Mary Hunt, Panelist
Debra Majeed, Panelist
Drawing on discussions in previous panels and plenary sessions, this panel seeks to set forth ideas on how to engage the notion of “transforming religions” through making alliances and breaking taboos. Reflecting on what has been raised across the previous panel discussions, panelists are asked to share how they, as feminist teachers, activists, and scholars, envision the work of transforming religions and the ways their insights can be deployed in a manner that considers the implications for activism theory, praxis, and pedagogy. Some of the questions to consider include: How would the creation of alliances enhance or challenge the work of transforming religions in the current U.S. political and global geopolitical situation? What are the implications of addressing key issues that remain taboo in transforming religions? What theoretical frameworks, pedagogies, and political strategies should be developed in the work of enhancing and transforming religions? What future work is necessary in order to empower people to move forward?
For more information on the panelists, click here.
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