About Feminism in Religion Forum

The FEMINISM IN RELIGION FORUM is a place where studies regarding the intersections between feminism and religion are shared with a wide audience. More >

Posted by Mary E. Hunt on Jul 23, 2014

If I were a member of Congress (now there’s an idea for a second career) I would hire a religion major on my staff. Actually, I would hire someone trained in feminist studies in religion because I think such people have a strong handle on what is happening around the globe.

Consider recent world events, admittedly refracted through an inside-the-Beltway lens. Who better than a student of religion to sort out the difference between Shias and Sunnis to make sense of Iraq? What econ major could understand the depths of the Hobby Lobby case in all of its evangelical complexity, much less see how the Conestoga part reflects certain Mennonite views? Gaza is a conundrum with deep religious roots that are so tangled not even the most sophisticated scholars can pull them apart. The struggle between Russia and the Ukraine has some religious dimensions as well. And what about President Obama’s Executive Order that protects gender identity as well as sexual orientation when it comes to federal contractors? With the predictable religious exemptions crowd breathing heavily, it takes someone with knowledge of what constitutes a religious organization and what does not to see how... more

Posted by FiR on Jul 21, 2014

Call for Papers: Digital Diversity 2015: Writing/Feminism/Culture

Organization/Host: University of Alberta and MacEwan University

Contact: digdiv2015@gmail.com

Deadline: 15 September 2014

Official Posting (via http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/node/57587): 

How have new technologies transformed literary and cultural histories? How do they enable critical practices of scholars working in and outside of digital humanities? Have decades of digital studies enhanced, altered, or muted the project to recover and represent more diverse histories of writers, thinkers, and artists positioned differently by gender, race, ethnicity, sexualities, social class and/or global location?

This conference examines the trajectory of feminist digital studies, observing the ways in which varied projects have opened up the objects and methods of literary history and cultural studies. It marks the twentieth anniversary of the start of the Orlando Project, an ongoing experiment in digital methods that produces... more

Posted by Guest Author on Jul 18, 2014

By Jacqueline Small

The Church of England’s decision this week to permit women to become bishops is a welcome change from recent news stories about the contentious relationship between Christian hierarchies and women of faith. With the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints excommunicating Kate Kelly last month because she has advocated for the ordination of Mormon women, and Pope Francis’ joking suggestion that Catholic women have all the power they need as priests’ housekeepers, the Church of England comes across as nearly progressive. Of course this decision is commendable, of course women are called to act as influential leaders in their communities, of course we who are feminists with religious convictions celebrate with our Anglican sisters. But this move, and the centuries that it has taken for the Church to approve it, highlights why it is not enough for Catholic or Mormon women to work simply for the ordination of people of all genders.... more

Posted by Guest Author on Jul 15, 2014

By Patricia Miller

The best part working on my book Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church was learning about the “foremothers” of the Catholic reproductive rights movement. Some of these women, like Rosemary Radford Ruether and Mary Daly, are well known. Others less so. One of these women, Elizabeth “Betty” Farians (1923–2013), passed away recently, leading me to reflect on the contributions of this pioneering woman.

Farians’ commitment to social justice was the thread that ran through her life. Her family knew poverty during the Depression and she was deeply influenced by the Catholic Worker Movement, with its call for reaching out to the marginalized. A talented athlete as well as a gifted student, she became a physical education teacher after college, determined to use sports to help boost girls’ self-confidence in a world that told them not to play or think too hard. She founded the first community sports league for girls in Cincinnati and insisted that it be racially integrated, a first for the area. She also took part in some of... more

Posted by FiR on Jul 11, 2014

Call for Applications: Fellowships for Threatened Scholars

Organization: Institute of International Education's Scholar Rescue Fund

Deadline: 1 August 2014 (N.B. Applications can be taken at any time in cases of emergency)

Official Posting (via http://www.awid.org/Get-Involved/Calls-for-Participation2/Fellowships-fo...):

The Institute of International Education's Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) announces an August 1 deadline for its next round of applications from scholars facing threats to their lives or academic work. Fellowships support temporary academic positions at colleges, universities, and other research institutions outside the scholars' home countries anywhere in the world.

IIE-SRF formalizes an unwavering commitment to preserve the lives, voices, and ideas of scholars around the globe. Since IIE-SRF's founding in 2002, the program has provided academic fellowships to scholars from 50 countries, placing them at over 300 host partner institutions in 40 countries.

Who can apply:

... more

Posted by Katharina von K... on Jul 9, 2014

Since a German regional court in Cologne ruled in the summer of 2012 that the circumcision of a Muslim boy constituted “grievous bodily harm,” a movement was born that calls on governments across Europe to legislatively protect “genital autonomy.” The European debate is characterized by the fact that, unlike in the U.S., the majority of Christian and secular men are not circumcised. Depending on national context, the circumcision rate ranges between 0% (Finland), 1.5% (Spain, Denmark), 10% (Germany), up to a high of 15% (U.K.). Across Europe, circumcision is considered a ritual practice limited to Muslim and Jewish religious minorities. The German Bundestag was caught off guard by the Cologne court’s decision and sprang into action, mindful of the ominous consequences of this criminalization for Jewish (as well as Muslim) communities in the country of the Holocaust. By December 2012, German lawmakers passed a law defending the right of Jewish and Muslim religious communities to circumcise their sons—though not their daughters.

Posted by FiR on Jun 27, 2014

Call for Papers, Poetry, and Prose: WSQ Special Issue, Fall 2015: The 1970's.

Deadline for Abstracts: 1 August 2014.

Deadline for Final Essays: 2 October 2014.

Guest Editors: Shelly Eversley and Michelle Habell-Pallán.

Official Posting (http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=214568):

The 1970s was a revolutionary moment for women. It transformed the very notion of female power regarding their bodies, their pleasure, and their work. In addition, women’s activisms in the decade shaped new paradigms for thinking about race, sexuality, reproductive rights, labor, colonialism, technology and the environment. Inaugural moments in film, music, television, sports, visual arts, and computing remain crucial landmarks in debates and interventions concerning pornography, sex work, sound studies, digital feminism, legal theory, and religion.

The decade witnessed congressional passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (1972), with ratification by 35 states by 1977—just 3 states shy of a formal change to the US Constitution. The rise of oral contraception, the landmark Supreme Court... more

Posted by Guest Author on Jun 24, 2014

By Claire Miller Skriletz

Last year I was fortunate enough to present a paper on The Book of Margery Kempe at a local conference. The version of the paper I presented focused on the gendered roles Margery's contemporaries attempted to assign to her, her resistance or reconfiguration of those roles, and how her self-defined roles were ambiguously (rather than strictly) gendered.

This was my first serious attempt at casting a feminist eye towards a religious studies source, and I was both excited to have an opportunity to delve into Margery’s world and nervous about presenting since my degree area wasn’t Women’s Studies or Gender Studies. A deeper concern – one that I didn’t realize until later – was my level of discomfort with the word feminist and the unfortunately negative stereotypes and intolerance the idea of feminism can evoke within the academy and in general.

In the... more

Posted by Kate Ott on Jun 15, 2014

In the past, I've shared my thoughts about celebrating Mother's Day. Today, I find myself considering very similar gender based issues on Father's Day. In a single thought, I'm not a fan of Hallmark Holidays that reinforce gender divisions. Instead, I hope we can use these moments to reflect more deeply on the moral act of parenting and raising children. Parenting, as a moral act, is best characterized as stewardship. Parents are called to (and sometimes by law required) to steward our children toward the greater goods of society. From an ethical perspective, I hope that is a collective common good, but in other cases, the "greater good" is determined by corporations, government interest, or social constructions of oppression. Parenting in a heterosexual family structure often contributes to "stewarding" children right into gender based divisions and norms.

Today, on Father's Day, I want to ask "dads" to consider how gender constructions while often providing benefits to men, deeply restrict the full range of parenting... more

Posted by Mary E. Hunt on Jun 11, 2014

How fitting that we gather here at Grailville, the center that Janet Kalven helped to found, in this lovely barn turned Oratory on the land that Janet Kalven loved. As was evident in the “Circle of Remembrance,” we come not to mourn a tragedy, but to rejoice in the goodness of a life well lived. It is a life that each of us had the luck to touch whether we were Janet’s relative, friend, neighbor from Loveland or Northside, Grail companion, and/or colleague. So it is Janet who brings us together today, perhaps modest proof, even to those of us who are doubtful, that there is some life after death.

I met Janet here at Grailville in the summer of 1975, when I arrived for the Seminary Quarter program that she and a committee had crafted so creatively. I returned the next year, with Janet’s encouragement, to work on the summer team in the garden and in the kitchen, all the while hanging around that year’s Seminary Quarter to imbibe its richness. We became friends, working together on projects and publications, visiting the Grail in the Netherlands, and spending time with my family.

When I met Janet in 1975, she was the age I am now. That means that everything I... more