2nd IARG International Conference ‘Sexual and Gendered Moralities’

The international conference ‘Sexual and Gendered Moralities’ under the auspices of the International Association for the study of Religion and Gender (IARG) will take place in Ghent, Belgium, from 26-27 November 2018. This is the second biennial IARG conference after its founding in 2016.

Taking disciplinary diversity towards the religious and non-religious into account, this conference wishes to focus on the broadly conceived realm of contemporary gendered and sexual ethics and moralities.

Throughout the world, new moralities with regards to sexual, gender and reproductive rights, identities and expressions; alternative kinship forms and family arrangements; and creative post-patriarchal and anti-racial practices, life-ways and communities have emerged. Yet, in the wake of neo-conservative resistance that often appeals to religious (or religiously-sanctioned) moralizing discourses on gender and sexuality, these have shown to be fragile. Meanwhile, the daily ‘art of living together’ in conditions of growing cultural and ethnic diversity, social inequality and existential precariousness is also challenged by frictions between different moral frames and sensibilities. We conceive of ‘moralities’ in a very open and broad sense, as the expression of the values and affects characteristic of contemporary societies and relate to the question, ‘how to live a meaningful life?’. The conference aims to bring together scholars from different disciplines researching the relationship between sexuality, gender and ethical life in contemporary society. In particular, we aim to focus on theoretical and empirical approaches at the intersection of religion, non-religion and the secular.

The objective is to bring scholars from different disciplines together presenting and exchanging on their research results with regards to the conference theme. Interdisciplinary research on the relationship between sexuality, gender and morality 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 arenas or battle fields 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 conference aims to stimulate further exchange and cooperation 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. By focussing on the realm of the moral and ethics, we believe this is a novel and timely area of study, that has not yet been addressed in relation to the relationship and interaction between religious, non-religious and secular norms and life domains.

The organizing committee is located within the Alliance research group ECSO (Ethics, Culture & Society) and brings together expertise between RHEA (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and the Centre for Research on Culture and Gender (Universiteit Gent). ECSO was launched in 2017 and has drawn up a plan to cooperate, exchange, organize and stimulate research. Both research groups share an interest in the study of difference, diversity, identity and inequality – particularly in intersections of gender, ethnicity, religion and sexuality.

More information, conference programme and registration: https://ecso.be/


Impression conference “Women, religions and gender relations” Turin

Impression of the international conference “Women, religions and gender relations” in Turin, November 9-11, 2016

By Marianna Zanetta

PhD, Cultural Anthropology and Far Eastern Studies, Università degli Studi di Torino

On november 9th, 10th and 11th the international conference “Women, religion and gender relations” took place at the University of Turin (Prof. Stefania Pamisano and Prof. Alberta Giorgi). Interest in the subject of “Women, Religions and Gender Relations” has intensified especially from the mid-1990s in Europe – more recently in Italy – spreading beyond the borders of the sociology of religion and gender studies. Specifically, attention has been focussed on three critical points that we shall address: first, the study of transformations of religious expression within traditional religions and, at the same time, the analysis of contemporary forms of spirituality demonstrate a “feminine specificity” which raises various questions and highlights the necessity to dedicate more attention to the different religious experiences of men and women and to re-interpret critically the basic analytical categories of the sociology of religion; secondly, comparison with non-Christian traditions reveals the importance of a critical reading of women’s role in various forms of religion and spirituality; finally, the development of a gender lens in religion allows analysis of the variegated constructions of the male and the female in different religious traditions.

The conference was articulated over three days for a total of eight panels, two round tables and one keynote speech by Kristin Aune. The first day of the conference was dedicated to Italian speaking speakers with the presentation of the project conducted by Stefania Palmisano (Turin University) and Alberta Giorgi (Coimbra University), followed by the first roundtable entitled “Donne, Religioni e relazioni di genere”, that officially opened the works. The afternoon was consecrated to the first two panels; “Per una religiosità (al) femminile: esperienza spirituale, immaginari alterntivi ed empowerment” with a in-depth analysis of the goddess spirituality and new interpretations of classical female figures, and “Identità religiosa e cambiamenti di status” where the speakers presented a varied landscape of women’s spirituality within established churches.

The second day, fully in English, began with the very interesting keynote speech of Kristin Aune, about the representation of religions on a British feminist webzine, and it continued with the central panel sessions, dedicated to the exploration of the female role, figures and attitude within different religious background, from mysticism and spiritualism to the central topic of Gender, Islam, religion and migration, with a parallel roundtable about Hindu spirituality. In the afternoon, a two-hours session was dedicated to the IARG meeting.

The last day of the conference offered two final panels, about womanhood and manhood in religions, the changing roles of women within religious organizations, and the connection between Religion and Female Sexuality. The concluding remarks, with the discussion about publication plans and possible future collaborations, were conducted by Alberta Giorgi.

This three-days conference was significant under different points of view; first of all, the significant number and quality of participants from all over Europe, which showed the relevance of the debate in the academic world also outside Italy

Secondly the scope of the topic and its declination in different specific context and cultural landscape, which allowed a better comprehension of the significance of the debate in the different areas.

Finally, it has been an incredible opportunity for a concrete network among scholars, researchers and professors from different fields, academic background and research interest, which allowed to widen the debate and to create effective space for further cooperation and contact.


Marianna Zanetta

PhD, Cultural Anthropology

Dipartimento di Culture, Politica e Società, University of Turin


CfP Conference: Sacred Texts and Human Contexts: Women and Gender in Religions

Sacred Texts and Human Contexts: Women and Gender in Religions

The Sacred Texts and Human Contexts conferences bring together scholars from the United States, Canada, and around the globe to share research on contemporary issues in religion and social sciences. We invite you to join us.

When: July 30 – August 1, 2017

Where: Nazareth College, Rochester, New York

This international symposium will elaborate on how religions have viewed and interpreted their sacred texts throughout their histories with reference to women and gender relations. It will also reveal how experts in religious studies and social studies are reconsidering their religious and spiritual teachings about this very important topic.

Some of the issues that presenters will consider exploring are:

  • Sacred texts and religious rights and obligations, especially in leading worship services and holding key positions in religious hierarchy
  • Sacred texts and reproductive rights such as birth control, abortion, and access to health services
  • Sacred texts and equal opportunities such as equal employment, equal pay, and social security irrespective of color and race
  • Sacred texts and marriage including women’s consent to marriage, divorce, custody of children, and inheritance
  • Sacred texts and social relations such as family dispute, conflict resolution, and other interrelated factors
  • Sacred texts and sexual orientation including issues around rights of the LGBTQ community
  • Sacred texts and constitutional rights such as equal political and social opportunities
  • Sacred texts and equal educational opportunities at all levels

Submitting Proposals

Presenters are selected based on the order in which the Committee accepts their abstracts.

We look forward to your proposals for papers and/or panel presentations. Send the proposal (attachments in Word doc format is preferred) to hickeycenter.conference@gmail.com orinterfaith@naz.edu with the subject line “Proposal Submission.” Selected papers will be published.

Requirements and Deadlines:

All proposals are due by March 15, 2017. However we encourage early submissions.

  • The proposal should be no more than 550 words.
  • Send a 225-word resume that presents expertise in the area of your presentation.
  • Include your address, telephone number, and email address.
  • All proposals will be reviewed together soon after the deadline.
  • Notice of acceptances will be sent soon after evaluation with guidelines for the full presentation. Guidelines for the full presentation will be sent with the proposal’s acceptance. Guidelines also may be obtained by emailing nkollar@yahoo.com.
  • Your full paper will be due by July 15, 2017.

If you wish to offer your paper for peer review and possible inclusion in the Sacred Texts and Human Contexts book series, send it by noonon October 30, 2017. Acceptances will be sent November 30, 2017.

We encourage submissions from scholars in religion, theology andwomen’s studies as well as from social scientists and historians on these and other related topics on women and gender relations in religions:

* What do our religions teach about women and gender relations?

*  What do our religions teach about procreation and managing the growth of human populations?

*  How have the teachings of religions in their respective sacred textsbeen interpreted in time and space?.

* How do scholars in our modern times interpret those verses in their respective religious traditions that may support male superiority andpatriarchal structure in family, community, and places of worship?

* How do scholars respond to LGBTQ issues?

* How do female scholars in faith communities respond to the contemporary issues regarding women’s rights?

The Symposium is open to your suggestions of topics to be included.

More information on: https://www2.naz.edu/interfaith/programs/academic-conferences/sacred-texts-human-contexts/