While being religious and supporting gender equality are frequently depicted in popular discourses as mutually exclusive, a growing scholarship has shown that, in reality, the relationship between religion and gender equality is much more complex. This seminar proposes to disentangle this complexity by showing that religion can be both a barrier to and a driver of gender equal attitudes and politics. It does so by following three thematic lines. First, building on theoretical discussions on secularisation and integration, it explores a variety of quantitative studies asking how religion influences gender attitudes. Second, the seminar takes an ethnographic turn by introducing into the broad sociological and anthropological discussion on women’s agency within religious communities. We will see how religion – even if practiced in orthodox ways – can become a tool of resistance against certain forms of patriarchy. Third, we scrutinise the role of religion in political activism both against and for gender rights in transnational and national contexts by examining topics such as conservative Christians’ anti-feminist activism, liberal movements such as Maria 2.0 or Sisters in Islam. By drawing on both quantitative and qualitative methods and by building on insights from various theoretical traditions, the seminar brings into dialogue scholarships that usually remain fragmented.
- Lehrende/r: Lisa Harms