Gender and Religion

Course Description: 

The theme of gender and religion preoccupies increasingly academic research as well as the public sphere, in institutional, national and global contexts. The seminar will examine some of the domains in which gender-religion issues have become central to religious institutions, communities, and discourses as they appear, for example, in debates about the Muslim veil in secular institutions, the ordination of female bishops, or in neo-conservative discourses on new morality and the role of women in the Eastern Orthodox Church and elsewhere. In order to understand how the question of gender and religion has entered modern discourses and the social world, the seminar will provide both topical and historical approaches to the theme.

The course will raise questions about a) the forms and functions of gender and gendered discourses in religion and religious traditions, b) the current challenges to the secular nature of the public sphere and the state, and c) the centrality of gender in current and historic religious discourses, theology, and dogma as well as to social and cultural practices. The seminar will approach these questions in general and comparative terms and will place special, albeit by no way exclusive, emphasis on gender regimes in Islam.

The course will approach the theme of gender and religion topically and through cross-disciplinary perspectives, while offering at the same time a historical compass and comparative religious approach. The course is divided in a 2-Credit seminar and an accompanying 2-Credit tutorial, in which special attention will be given to selected case studies and close reading of foundational texts. 

Learning Outcomes: 

• Achieve familiarization and engagement with foundational concepts of religion and gender and with key debates and trends in the field, including comparative study.
• Critically evaluate and assess modern scholarship as well as primary sources on relevant topics.
• Compare and assess different methodologies and approaches to religion and gender
• The ability to raise questions and lead discussions in specific topics and cases as well as in the larger framework of women, gender and religion.
• Apply terms and concepts in a number of various disciplinary and comparative perspectives.