Special Issue "Feminisms and the Study of “Religions”"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Darlene Juschka

Women's and Gender Studies and Religious Studies Department, University of Regina, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: feminist methods, theories, and epistemologies; popluar culture; globalization; feminist history; gender and sexuality studies (ancient and modern); approaches to the study of religion; symbol, myth, and ritual (ancient and modern); folk religions, shamanism, and possession; cross cultural study of religion, ancient Greek and Roman religions; ritual associated with death and burial (ancient and modern)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue is comprised of multiple essays that engage the work of feminisms in the study of “religion”. Spanning history and geopolitical location this special issue thematically presents the work of feminists as they critically analyze and transform their areas of study. Feminist themes covered are: theories, textual analysis, comparison, representation, power and social construction, conceptualizing being, experience, dystopia and utopia. Examining and applying feminist tools of analysis to and in the study of systems of belief and practice, the essays in this special edition make apparent the work that has been and is being achieved by feminists in the last several decades.

In particular, the topics of interest include:

feminist theories, textual analysis, comparison, representation, power and social construction, body, experience, dystopia and utopia

Submission Format and Guideline       

All submitted papers must be clearly written in excellent English and contain only original work, which has not been published by or is currently under review for any other journal or conference. Papers should be between 5,000 and 10,000 words. A detailed submission guideline is available as “Guide to Authors” at: Most rules given in this style guide are collected from “The Chicago Manual of Style (16thEdition!)”. For more details and more examples, see Chapters 14 and 15 of The Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago Press 2010) (Please note the MDPI Chicago layout guide is an adapted version of The Chicago Manual of Style, some changes were made to cooperate with the online publishing method).
http://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions/instructions

Manuscripts for Religions should be submitted online at susy.mdpi.com. The submitting author, who is generally the corresponding author, is responsible for the manuscript during the submission and peer-review process. The submitting author must ensure that all eligible co-authors have been included in the author list (read the criteria to qualify for authorship) and that they all have read and approved the submitted version of the manuscript. To submit your manuscript, register and log in to the submission website. Once you have registered, click here to go to the submission form for Religions. All co-authors can see the manuscript details in the submission system, if they register and log in using the e-mail address provided during manuscript submission. All papers will be peer-reviewed by independent reviewers. Requests for additional information should be addressed to the guest editors.

Prof. Dr. Darlene Juschka
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • feminisms
  • study of religion
  • feminist theories
  • representation
  • gender
  • sex
  • sexualities
  • heteronormativity
  • intersectionality
  • racialization
  • feminist epistemologies
  • ritual
  • myth
  • dominant masculine hegemonies
  • ontology
  • deities

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Women’s Circles and the Rise of the New Feminine: Reclaiming Sisterhood, Spirituality, and Wellbeing
Religions 2018, 9(1), 9; doi:10.3390/rel9010009
Received: 11 November 2017 / Revised: 23 December 2017 / Accepted: 30 December 2017 / Published: 1 January 2018
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Abstract
This paper draws on the results of ethnographic research on ‘women’s circles’; women-only spaces that celebrate sisterhood and the ‘feminine’, including the increasingly globally popular ‘Red Tent’. Women’s circles are non-institutionalized, often monthly gatherings, for women to come together and relax, meditate, share
[...] Read more.
This paper draws on the results of ethnographic research on ‘women’s circles’; women-only spaces that celebrate sisterhood and the ‘feminine’, including the increasingly globally popular ‘Red Tent’. Women’s circles are non-institutionalized, often monthly gatherings, for women to come together and relax, meditate, share stories, partake in rituals, heal, nourish, and empower themselves. Based on fieldwork and in-depth interviews with founders and organizer-practitioners of women’s circles in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, the study shows how they offer a growing number of women from diverse backgrounds a space that they find lacking in secular-liberal society, out of a desire to ‘re/connect’ with each other, their bodies, their inner selves, and sometimes with the sacred. Women’s circles are indicative of women’s heightened participation in the realm of subjective wellbeing culture, including both elements of spirituality and more secular ‘personal growth’. Against the presumption that circles would be merely expressive of neo-liberal individualist consumer culture or retrograde gender essentialism, the paper argues they can be viewed as sites of sisterhood, solidarity, and dissent, cultivating a new type of femininity grounded in both affirmative and more oppositional forms of emerging feminist consciousness. In response to the so-called ‘post-secular turn in feminism’ and the growing interest for religion and, more recently, spirituality in (secular) feminist theory, the paper pleads for a re-consideration of the rise of women’s spirituality/wellbeing culture in the West as a form of post-secular agency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminisms and the Study of “Religions”)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Some Gender Implications of the ‘Civilising Mission’ of the Anglican Church for the Acholi Peoples of Northern Uganda
Religions 2017, 8(11), 245; doi:10.3390/rel8110245
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 24 September 2017 / Accepted: 2 October 2017 / Published: 6 November 2017
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Abstract
Anglican missionaries arriving in Uganda’s Acholiland in 1903 saw the local peoples as in need not just of Christianisation but also of civilising. This last consisted primarily of inculcating western notions of gender identities for both men and women, with an emphasis on
[...] Read more.
Anglican missionaries arriving in Uganda’s Acholiland in 1903 saw the local peoples as in need not just of Christianisation but also of civilising. This last consisted primarily of inculcating western notions of gender identities for both men and women, with an emphasis on the wearing of gender-appropriate clothing and terminating the practices of polygyny and bride-price payment. The first missionaries considered the Acholi to have high levels of gender equality but they still believed conversion would improve women’s status through domesticating them and instilling the notion of male superiority, despite the fact that local customary rituals did not distinguish on grounds of gender. Over decades, the population gradually converted to various Christian denominations, mainly Anglicanism and Catholicism, but without abandoning their customary rituals, using them as and when required, to ward off evil or ask for rain, for instance. The most significant impact of the civilising process was arguably the institutionalisation of the notion of masculine superiority now legitimised by appeals to what happened in the Garden of Eden. The paper is based on historical documents, both published and from the missionary archives, as well as on ethnographic research into gender in the region today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminisms and the Study of “Religions”)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Hopeful Dissonance: Religious Activism by Indigenous Women and Muslim Feminists

Abstract: By comparing the themes of lived gender, lived citizenship and lived religion as expressed through the Indigenous, women-led Idle No More Movement and Canadian Muslim feminist responses to Islamophobia (including responses to the proposed Bill 62 in Quebec banning niqabi women from public services), I propose that creative disobedience percolates from the experiences of intersectionality, liminality and marginalization placed particularly upon women marked as minority. As active disruptors who are yet routinely and symbolically objectified as victims of their own “barbaric” or “savage” men, imagined first by Christian colonialists, then by secular, mainstream messages, we find hopeful dissonance as Indigenous and Muslim women alike contest these tropes through engaging in acts of resistance.  What does it mean to be a citizen of Canada as an activist Indigenous woman, as an activist Muslim woman?  How do Indigenous and Muslim women reinvigorate spiritual or religious beliefs (including notions of gender) in their activism against the attempted deep erasure of their agency?  And finally, what creative connections does this shared, intersectional citizenship in a colonialist nation offer in terms of collaborative resistance?  The works of Line Nyhagen and Beatrice Halsaa, Saba Mahmood and Sara Ahmed, and Emma LaRocque, Christine Walsh, Rima Wilkes and Alex Wilson supply this presentation with theory and data and hope.

Title: Walking Her-Stories: North-East Nigerian Women’s Resilience amidst the politicization of Religion and Violence – a feminist ethical perspective.
Abstract: The visit into North East Nigeria was part of the World Council of Churches’ pilgrimage of justice and peace initiative. As an expression of solidarity with women, the focus was active listening to women’s experiences survivors of male-initiated-violence in a context where religion, culture and armed conflict serve as instruments of the politics of patri-kyriarchal domination. What were the women’s stories? What examples of resilience and resistance as agents of transformation could they share? 

Using 4 town-hall-meetings, 10 focus-group-interviews and 50 short-individual-interviews, we listened and interrogated the role of religion and culture. With feminist ethics of care as our theoretical framework, we analyzed these accounts, especially the gendered aspects of violence and women’s agency in response. Since religious, cultural and political leadership is often male, listening to and dialoguing with men was a methodological imperative so as to ensure that our analysis and conclusions were ethically viable.

Though it is arguable that neither the Boko Haram’s ‘terrorism’ nor the herdsmen-versus-farmers conflict is about the religion or culture of the targeted communities, women’s stories unveil insights into the politics of patriarchal power and greed fueling most of the attacks. However the interviewed women use religion as the source of their agency for hope and healing.
Keywords: resilience; patri-kyriachal; Pilgrimage; town-hall-meeting-style; focus-group-interviews; Boko Haram; ethics of care.

Title: Understanding Compliance in Patriarchal Religions: Mormon Women and The LDS Church as a Case Study
Abstract: Defining compliance as acquiescence in situations of inequality, this article explores patterns of compliance to gender traditionalism from analysis of interviews with Mormon women. Analysis reveals that Mormon women face unique, context-specific mechanisms for stifling resistance. Additionally, many of the Mormon women interviewed who do not comply with traditional gender expectations regarding motherhood, still accept and defend gender traditionalism. I explain this pattern with a concept I call ideological compensation, which means that women in gender traditional religions defend gender traditionalism even if they do not live it as a way to compensate for their non-compliance. Finally, I find that some of the women frame their compliance to Mormon gender traditionalism as a statement of resistance against the broader society. I describe this phenomenon with a concept I refer to as anti-cultural resistance. Overall, this study sheds light on how Mormon women interpret traditional gendered expectations of their religion and how these expectations are accepted in the modern world.

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