|Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection|
Call for Proposals
The overall theme for the Group this year is feminist theories and critical turns — continuities and departures. What do we mean by feminist theory today? How do we enact religious feminist theorizations in a global setting? What continuities and departures are imaginable? What are necessary? When feminist theory encountered the fields of religious studies and theology, it confronted one of the greatest conceptual and pragmatic minefields possible: the authorial “God,” the absence of women in positions of spiritual authority, the apparent marginalized status of women in many traditions, and the devotional persistence of religious meanings in women’s participation. As feminist theorists applied themselves to the tasks of incorporating women’s genealogies, centered on women’s experience, and addressed the androcentric biases of the field, they created monumental changes in the field. Furthermore, assuming religious traditions themselves were concerned with transformation, feminist theory’s concern with recovering and examining experience found a home in this nexus of transformation. Almost every session at the Annual Meeting integrates an analysis of gender, the roots of which can be traced to the critical insights carried into the field by feminist theory. To wit, scholarship was crippled by its androcentrism until it began to deal with women’s and men’s religious lives and the gendered symbolic order. Due to the intersections of gender, race, and Eurocentric hegemony in the academy, particularly the assumptions of Western feminist theorists regarding desirable norms for women’s social status, counter and critical discourses have arisen to challenge what is meant by categories such as women and women’s experience, championed by scholars from the margins of empire, race, and ethnicity, creating resistance to monolithic ideas about women’s power and desires within and without religious traditions. Bringing into relief crucial ideas, topics, and methodologies that reconstituted what the rigorous study of religions should entail, scholars have responded, opening innovative and important conceptual spaces where one can theorize lived experience and affirm the presence of otherness. Acknowledging our theme of continuity and departure, we seek papers that highlight this genealogy of feminist theorizations, activism, and strategic moves, while taking into account our complex global setting, for the following topics, and for a cosponsored session with the Men, Masculinities, and Religions Group:
We intend to invite senior scholars as expert respondents to our sessions, and will require that all accepted papers be sent to the senior scholar by November 1 to ensure that they have adequate time to prepare.
This Group has consistently provided programmatic space for a wide variety of feminist theory/theories, including feminist theology, queer theory, continental feminist theory, feminist political theory, etc., as these intersect with a broad understanding of “religious reflection,” including institutional religious settings, or intersections of religion and culture, religion and aesthetics, religion and the body, etc.
Anonymity of Review Process
Proposer names are anonymous to Chairs and Steering Committee members until after final acceptance or rejection.
Method of Submission