Interdisciplinary Innovations in the Study of Religion and Gender: Postcolonial, Post-secular and Queer Perspectives
09 / 2011 - 08 / 2014
This project wants to make an innovative contribution to the further development of the interdisciplinary study of religion and gender from a range of contemporary critical perspectives in the humanities: postcolonial criticism, post-secularism and queer theory. This is urgent because in contemporary multicultural and postcolonial societies, religious profiling, confrontation and (identity) politics at local, national and international levels often focus on themes of sexual difference, sexuality and reproduction (e.g. the recurrent heated debates over women's veiling, abortion, homosexuality and similar issues). Gender and sexuality seem to have become the arena or battle field of religion/s in our modern world, not at least in Western Europe. In order to break new grounds in the understanding of these complex dynamics of religion and gender in our contemporary world, this research cooperation project aims to explore the current major challenges to the study of religion and gender, to identify the fundamental critical issues, and to address these in innovative ways and from an interdisciplinary perspective. To this end the project brings together a selection of leading scholars from internationally renowned research institutions with excellent programs in the field with the objective of developing a research project proposal and establishing a structural research network. A number of outstanding academic research centres in Europe and in the United States of America have agreed to participate in this project. These centres belong respectively to Humboldt University (Berlin), University of Oslo, University of London, Columbia University (New York), Ghent University, Radboud University (Nijmegen) and Utrecht University. All these centres have thoroughly interdisciplinary programmes in gender studies with a focus on religion. The participating institutions complement each other in their specific expertise in the study of religion and gender from feminist, queer, postcolonial and/or post-secular perspectives. They represent Nordic, Continental and Anglo-Saxon traditions in gender studies, which are brought into a critical conversation. The surplus value of this project is that the participating scholars and centres together form an interdisciplinary group strongly committed to further developing the study of religion and gender from innovative theoretical perspectives in the humanities. The participants have agreed to organize in the period 2011-2014 in cooperation with each other three explorative expert meetings and one international conference, to held regularly scholarly exchanges, to publish cooperatively at least three times in outstanding publication media, and to develop a comprehensive research proposal. Concretely, the project aims at developing a proposal for an international research project, to be submitted to the European Science Foundation and at establishing a structurally embedded research network in the form of an International Association for the Study of Religion and Gender. Additionally, the project aims at further strengthening the academic community of the recently established e-journal Religion and Gender which is part of the infrastructure for the type of study of religion and gender the project envisions. As the project is initiated and coordinated by the chair of Religion, Gender and Modernity of Utrecht University in collaboration with fellow senior researchers associated with Radboud University, it will strengthen the research collaboration in the study of religion and gender within the Netherlands as well as the contribution and visibility of Dutch research in the international arena.