Expert Meeting: Postsecular Perspectives

Organizers: The network Interdisciplinary Innovations in the Study of Religion and Gender (Utrecht University, The Netherlands), the project Post-Secular Culture and a Changing Religious Landscape (Åbo Akademi University, Finland), and the Centre of Gender Research (University of Oslo, Norway).

Aim: The workshop wants to raise critical interdisciplinary discussion concerning the topical and debated issue of post-secular society and research with regard to gender. For this purpose, we organize a one and a half day intensive workshop which brings together selected scholars from different fields (religious studies, theology, social sciences and gender studies). The topics of the workshop will touch upon the issue of post-secularity and gender in particular from the perspectives of multiculturalism, human rights, post-institutional religion, media, and consumer culture.

Focus: ‘Post-secularity’ conceptually refers to a range of observations and debates that address the changing position and understanding of religion(s), in particular in their public presence and impact within contemporary societies. Its main stance is critically related to 20th-century secularization research and theory. This emerging investigative stance, though novel and timely, often operates without any reference to issues of, and research on, gender, as for instance developed in the study of religion and gender. This is a remarkable constraint 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 on women’s veiling, abortion, or homosexuality). 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.