Congress of Wo/men: Religion, Gender, and Kyriarchal Power
Religion is a space of struggle, resistance, and social transformation. In Congress of Wo/men: Religion, Gender, and Kyriarchal Power, leading feminist scholar Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza challenges the tendency in feminist theory to leave behind religion as a place for feminist politics. She also confronts the tendency of religious feminists to still think about women as if they are all the same, or to limit them to complementary roles with men. In the face of neoliberal theories of globalization, Congress of Wo/men proposes a feminist political the*logy that is deeply intersectional and widely participatory. Presenting an alternative vision for global justice in the landscape of neoliberal kyriarchy, Schüssler Fiorenza calls upon religious and non-religious feminists to envision transformation in struggle, friendship, and community.
"First, I must admit that my preferred definition of feminism can be summed up by a well-known bumper sticker a friend gave me on my birthday years ago, which proclaims that “feminism is the radical notion that wo/men are people.” The tongue-in-cheek statement alludes to the US constitution’s democratic assertion of “We the People” and thus insists that wo/men are fully entitled and responsible citizens not only in society but also in religion. Consequently, one would assume that such politically oriented feminist theoretical endeavors—whether situated in society or religion—would be compelled to engage with each other both agonistically and collaboratively. However, if one surveys the feminist theoretical literature on gender and feminist political theory, this has rarely been the case. In dominant feminist political-theoretical discussions, the modern binary between secular and religious has not been sufficiently deconstructed.READ MORE
Because this binary has not been thoroughly problematized, hegemonic and feminist political theory continues to label kyriarchal structures of domination as “hierarchical” (in other words, as holy or sacred structures). Yet, the framework..."COLLAPSE
Maria Pilar Aquino wrote:
"Congress of Wo/men is an original contribution to critical feminist the*ologies and studies in religion as the*political sites of struggle for radical democracy and justice. The great value of this book is its witness to the striving of ekklesia wo/men for the kosmopolis of wo/men in an age of kyriarchal globalization. Congress of Wo/men is at the cutting edge of feminist the*logical work and will be crucial reading for those dreaming of a world of love for all, without domination, poverty, or oppression."
Namsoon Kang, Professor of Theology and Religion, Brite Divinity School
"Amidst neoliberal globalization, Schussler Fiorenza declares that the social force of religions must be devoted to promoting hope, justice, and well-being for all. She sees religion as an ethical-political space for imagination and change and rightly advocates for closer collaboration between feminist the*logy, theory, and movements. More expansively, Congress of Wo/men offers an exciting vision of feminism working in greater solidarity with social justice activists, religious leaders, and community builders to transform global kyriarchal powers."
Maria Pilar Aquino, Professor of Theology and Religion, University of San Diego
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza is the Krister Stendahl Professor at Harvard Divinity School and founding coeditor of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. She is past President of the Society of Biblical Literature, and was elected to the Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001. Her influential works include: In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins; Jesus: Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet: Critical Issues in Feminist Christology; Rhetoric and Ethic: The Politics of Biblical Studies; and Democratizing Biblical Studies: Toward an Emancipatory Educational Space.