»Religious Genderings: The Socio-Spiritual [Dis-]Empowerment of Women and Men. Interdisciplinary Conference - February 26-28, 2014

Featured Plenary Speakers Include:

This interdisciplinary conference will focus on religion as a powerful force in shaping our conceptions of gender, a force which can be simultaneously liberative and oppressive, its institutions more often than not mirroring but also reinforcing patriarchal social structures and oppressive definitions of gender and sexuality even as its teachings may call for equality and/or androgyny in the pursuit of spiritual transformation and for compassionate individual action. The religious traditions of the world have had to begin to confront their complicity in often violent oppression of women in the twentieth century. This has included self-critique but also the recovery of women’s voices and exemplary figures from the past as well as re-readings of scriptural traditions, reinvention of rituals and practices, and re-envisioning of institutions, leadership and teachings. This process is by no means complete. The twenty-first century brings the additional but related challenge of confronting religious attitudes toward sexuality, magnified for LGBTIQ individuals.

Studies of the relationship between religion and gender have often fallen into bifurcated camps, some focusing on religion as a source of empowerment, others seeing it as a source of repression and control. Social critiques and movements of liberation are also often portrayed as wholly separate from spirituality and the oppression and/or empowerment of women as separate from that of men. This conference is designed to call these sharp contrasts into question, with presenters challenged to address religious genderings in a more holistic and comprehensive way, one that takes into account their impact on both men and women, the effects of shifting notions of identity in the context of globalization, and the intersection of constructions of gender with attitudes toward sexuality.

The conference is free and open to the public.  All events with be held in the Wallace All Faiths Chapel. Please contact Jennifer Heatley (Assistant to the Dean of the Wallace All Faiths Chapel) for information regarding direction, parking, etc. at heatley@chapman.edu.

The program includes five extraordinary scholar-activists who will deliver plenary addresses and 15 paper presentations across two full days, Thursday and Friday, February 27 & 28, with an afternoon of undergraduate student papers Wednesday, February 26, co-sponsored by Chapman’s chapter of the National Religious Studies Honor Society, Theta Alpha Kappa. Additional co-sponsors of the conference include the Huntington and Francis Memorial Lectureship Funds, the Fish Interfaith Center, the Office of the Chancellor, Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Women’s Studies, LGBT Studies, and Asian Studies Programs.

+-Plenary Sessions

"The Glory of the Princess is Within:'The Strange History of Modesty in Jewish Tradition."
Rachel Adler
David Ellenson Professor of Modern Jewish Thought
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Jack Skirball Campus, Los Angeles, CA
Author of Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics (1999)

"The Ambiguous Heritage toward Women in Christianity"
Rosemary Radford Ruether
Carpenter Emerita Professor of Feminist Theology, Pacific School of Religion, GTU
Georgia Harkness Emerita Professor of Applied Theology, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary
Visiting Professor of Feminist Theology, Claremont School of Theology
Author of Sexism and God Talk (1983) and Integrating Ecofeminism, Globalization, and World
Religions (Nature's Meaning) (2004)

"Gender, Animal, Sacrifice: Biblical Roots and Contemporary Challenges"
Ken Stone
Professor of Bible, Culture and Hermeneutics and Academic Dean Chicago Theological Seminary
Author of Practicing Safer Texts: Food, Sex and Bible in Queer Perspective (2005)

"Gender Dynamics: Negotiating Theory, Ethnography, and Social Change"
Karma Lekshe Tsomo
Professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego
President, Sakyadhita: International Association of Buddhist Women (www.sakyadhita.org)
Director, Jamyang Foundation (www.jamyang.org)
Author of Innovative Buddhist Women: Swimming Against the Stream (2000)

“Muslim Women Meet the New Millennium”
Amina Wadud
Retired Professor of Islam, Gender and Qur’anic Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University
Research Scholar, Starr King School for the Ministry, GTU
Co-founder of Sisters in Islam (www.sistersinislam.org.my)
Author of Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective (1992) and Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam (2006)

+-Paper Panel Presentation Abstracts

“Mobilizing Muslims: The Gendering of Islam in Urban Slum Development”
Danielle Widmann Abraham, James Madison University

“Code of the (American) Penetrator': U.S. Evangelicals and Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill”
Darren Arquero, University of California, Berkeley

“Problematizing Women’s Religious and Social Authority: An Ethnographic Study of a Madrasha (Women’s Muslim Center) in Mombasa, Kenya”
Carole Barnsley, Transylvania University

“Betrothals, Brides, and Babies: Women’s Religious Rituals in the Ancient Near East”
Julye Bidmead, Chapman University

“Re-imagining Communities of Justice and Peace:The Nuns on the Bus”
Rosemary P. Carbine, Whittier College

“Jesus, Paterfamilias, and Masculinity”
Anthony Le Donne, University of the Pacific

“From Amy Grant to Mary, Mary: Gender, Race and Christian Pop Singers"
Mildred Lewis, Chapman University

‘My wife converted me’: Gender relations, personhood and value in Pentecostal Households in Honiara, Solomon Islands”
Rodolfo Maggio, University of Manchester, UK

“Who's telling my life?: Life Writing and the Re-signification of Culturally Contested (Queer) Subjectivities”
Victor Marsh, University of Queensland, Australia

“Women Speaking, Speaking in Women’s Voice: Breaking the Binary of Gender Complementarity in Hinduism”
Nancy M. Martin, Chapman University

“Ironically Alienated by Patriarchy, but Healing: Discerning and Reclaiming the Sacred Masculine….”
Daniel Moceri, Graduate Theological Union

“Canonizing Deviance and Defiance: Reading and Rereading Gender-Bending Texts.”
Rebecca Prichard, Chapman University

“Finding ‘Happiness’ through Meditation: Just another Gendered Construction?”
Gail Stearns, Chapman University

“The Asceticism of Self-Subjugation: How Evangelical Leader Henrietta Mears Both Submitted to and Subverted Patriarchy”
Melisa Ortiz Williamson, Claremont Graduate University

“Gender Justice: Girls’ Education and Women’s Work after the Arab Spring”
Ahmed Younis, Chapman University

+-Conference Schedule

Religious Genderings: The Socio-Spiritual [Dis-]Empowerment of Women and Men

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2:30-3:45             Undergraduate Student Paper Session I

                          “The Abject, Liminality, and the Mutable Identity: Esther, Judith, and Jezebel”
                           Marilyn Love

                          “If The Book Of Esther Were A Magazine, It Would Be Playboy”
                           Honah Thompson

                          “Rape in Esther: The Sexual Submission of Successful Queens”
                           Cristina Smith

                          “Eunuchs: Keepers of Thresholds and Transformations in Esther”
                           Rachel Stainton

 

4:00-5:00             Undergraduate Student Paper Session II
                         

                          “The Woman and Her Mistress:
                           Islamic Tradition and Lesbian Liberation Within Patriarchy”
                           Nick Toth

                          “The Truth About Arranged Marriages in Hindu Traditions”
                           Hannah Brown
                           Student Interfaith Council & TAK National Honor Society Presentations

 

Thursday, February 27, 2014
8:30                Registration & Coffee

9:00- 10:00    "Gender Dynamics: Negotiating Theory, Ethnography, and Social Change"
                      Karma Lekshe Tsomo

10:15-12:15    Paper Session I
                    “Women Speaking, Speaking in Women’s Voice:
                     Breaking the Binary of Gender Complementarity in Hinduism”
                     Nancy M. Martin, Chapman University

                     “Mobilizing Muslims:
                     The Gendering of Islam in Urban Slum Development”
                     Danielle Widmann Abraham, James Madison University

                     “Problematizing Women’s Religious and Social Authority:
                     An Ethnographic Study of a Madrasha (Women’s Muslim Center) in Mombasa, Kenya”
                     Carole Barnsley, Transylvania University

                     “Gender Justice:  Girls’ Education and Women’s Work after the Arab Spring”
                     Ahmed Younis, Chapman University

12:15-1:30      Lunch Break

1:30-2:30       “Muslim Women Meet the New Millennium”
                    Amina Wadud

2:45–4:45        Paper Session II

                     ‘My wife converted me’:  Gender relations, personhood and value
                     in Pentecostal Households in Honiara, Solomon Islands”
                     Rodolfo Maggio, University of Manchester, UK

                     “The Asceticism of Self-Subjugation:
                     How Evangelical Leader Henrietta Mears Both Submitted to and Subverted Patriarchy”
                     Melisa Ortiz Williamson, Claremont Graduate University

                     “Code of the (American) Penetrator’: U.S. Evangelicals and Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill”
                     Darren Arquero, University of California, Berkeley

                     “Re-imagining Communities of Justice and Peace:
                     The Nuns on the Bus”
                     Rosemary P. Carbine, Whittier College

5:00-6:00     "The Ambiguous Heritage toward Women in Christianity."
                     Rosemary Radford Ruether

Friday, February 28, 2014

8:30               Registration & Coffee

9:00-10:00     "'The Glory of the Princess is Within:' The Strange History of Modesty in Jewish Tradition."
                      Rachel Adler

10:15-12:15    Paper Session III

                    “Betrothals, Brides, and Babies:  Women’s Religious Rituals in the Ancient Near East”
                    Julye Bidmead, Chapman University

                    “Canonizing Deviance and Defiance:
                    Reading and Rereading Gender-Bending Texts”
                    Rebecca Prichard, Chapman University

                    “Jesus, Paterfamilias, and Masculinity”
                    Anthony Le Donne, University of the Pacific

                    “Who's telling my life?:
                    Life Writing and the Re-signification of Culturally Contested (Queer) Subjectivities”
                    Victor Marsh, University of Queensland, Australia

12:15-1:30      Lunch Break

1:30-2:30       "Gender, Animal, Sacrifice: Biblical Roots and Contemporary Challenges"
                      Ken Stone

2:45-4:15        Paper Session IV

                     “Ironically Alienated by Patriarchy, but Healing:  Discerning and Reclaiming
                      the Sacred Masculine in a Post-Modern Christian-Normative America”
                      Daniel Moceri, Graduate Theological Union

                      “From Amy Grant to Mary, Mary:
                       Gender, Race and Christian Pop Singers
                       Mildred Lewis, Chapman University

                       “Finding ‘Happiness’ through Meditation:
                        Just another Gendered Construction?”
                        Gail Stearns, Chapman University

4:30-5:30        Concluding Panel Discussion

 

 

 

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