Religion and Gender is the first refereed online international journal dedicated to the systematic study of gender and religion in an interdisciplinary perspective. The journal explores the relation, confrontation and intersection of gender and religion, taking into account the multiple and changing manifestations of religion in diverse social and cultural contexts. It analyses and reflects critically on gender in its interpretative and imaginative dimensions and as a fundamental principle of social ordering. It seeks to investigate gender at the intersection of feminist, sexuality, queer, masculinity and diversity studies.


The library contains articles from Religion and Gender as of vol. 1(2011) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Religion, Migration and Gender Strategies: Brazilian (Catholic and Evangelical) Missionaries in Barcelona

    Marcos de Araújo Silva; Donizete Rodrigues (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2013-04-01)
    This article reflects on gender strategies developed by Brazilian Pentecostalmissionaries linked to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the evangelicalUniversal Church of the Kingdom of God/United Family, in the city of Barcelona,Spain. From a comparative study of the daily life of the missionaries, thepaper discusses how ‘feminized’ and ‘manly’ character, respectively, defineimportant boundaries between Catholic charismatic and Evangelical groups.The ethnographic data demonstrate how certain religious particularitiesof immigrants can act as a source of social differentiation that highlightsopportunities and specific doctrinal strategies for women and men, in thecontext of diaspora.
  • Deference or Interrogation? Contrasting Models for Reconciling Religion, Gender and Equality

    Moira Dustin (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2012-01-01)
    Abstract Since the late 1990s, the extension of the equality framework in the United Kingdom has been accompanied by the recognition of religion within that framework and new measures to address religious discrimination. This development has been contested, with many arguing that religion is substantively different to other discrimination grounds and that increased protection against religious discrimination may undermine equality for other marginalized groups – in particular, women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This paper considers these concerns from the perspective of minoritized women in the UK. It analyses two theoretical approaches to reconciling religious claims with gender equality – one based on privileging, the other based on challenging religious claims – before considering which, if either, reflects experiences in the UK in recent years and what this means for gender equality.
  • The Body Politic(s) of the Jezebel Spirit

    S. Jonathon O'Donnell (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2017-12-01)
    ‘Third wave’ neo-charismatic evangelical discourses of spiritual warfare envision the world as caught within a struggle between good and evil, in which demonic forces play an active role in shaping the lives of individuals, institutions, and nations. In contemporary American spiritual warfare discourse one demonic spirit has gained particular notoriety: the Jezebel spirit. Through a close reading of American spiritual warfare manuals, this article explores constructions of the Jezebel spirit and her place in third wave demonology. Constructed as a spiritual force reigning over an errant United States, the figure of Jezebel facilitates a discursive conflation of personal and social bodies in which the ‘present absences’ of ‘deviant’ (gendered, sexualised, racialised) bodies within the nation become figured as threatening to both national and spiritual survival. Drawing on poststructuralist, postcolonial, and queer theory, the article unpacks how Jezebel is constructed as a figure of feminised absence and multiplicity, whose ‘illegitimate’ possession of ‘deviant’ places and persons renders them as territories of absence that must be restored to normative presence through the reinscription of God’s will.
  • The Ghosts of Performance Past: Theatre, Gender, Religion and Cultural Memory

    Abimbola Adelakun (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2017-12-01)
    This article studies the phenomenon of ghosting in religious performance through an examination of a famous Yoruba actress, Iyabo Ogunsola (Iya Efunsetan). Ogunsola once played the role of a 19th century historical character, Efunsetan Aniwura, on stage at a remarkable period of Yoruba history thus embedding her life and career trajectory with that of the culture. Iya Efunsetan has currently transited to an Aladura church leader and a gospel performer. Building on works by theatre/performance scholars who have studied how previously staged performances haunt the re-enactment of performances in another place, time, and context, I examine the religious aspect of the phenomenon ofghosting as it relates to Ase, Yoruba concept of metaphysical force. While Iya Efunsetan cannot shake off the ghosts of her theatrical past, I note that she mobilizes the Ase of her embodied theatrical history fame to authenticate herself as a religious leader.
  • Introduction: Religion and Masculinities – Continuities and Change

    Björn Krondorfer; Stephen Hunt (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2012-04-01)
  • God’s World Is Not an Animal Farm—Or Is It? The Catachrestic Translation of Gender Equality in African Pentecostalism

    Adriaan S. van Klinken (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2013-10-01)
    Building on scholarly debates on Pentecostalism, gender and modernity in Africa, this article engages a postcolonial perspective to explore and discuss the ambivalent, even paradoxical nature of African Pentecostal gender discourse. It analyses the conceptualization of gender equality, in particular the attempt to reconcile the notions of ‘male–female equality’ and ‘male headship’, in a sermon series delivered by a prominent Zambian Pentecostal pastor, and argues that the appropriation and interruption of Western notions of gender equality in these sermons can be interpreted, in the words of Homi Bhabha, as a catachrestic postcolonial translation of modernity. Hence, the article critically discusses the Western ethnocentrism in some scholarly debates on gender and Pentecostalism in Africa, and points to some of the fundamental questions that Pentecostalism and its ambivalent gender discourse pose to gender-critical scholarship in the study of religion.
  • Transgender Identity, The Sex-Reassignment Surgery Fatwās and Islāmic Theology of A Third Gender

    M Alipour (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2017-12-01)
    Although in the late 1980s, transgender sex-reassignment surgery was legalized (made halāl) in sharīʿa and/or in state law by the Fatwās of Āyatullāh Khomeini in Iran and Shaykh al-Ṭanṭāwī in Egypt, the issue of whether Islamic theology accepts transgender people as third gender remains underdeveloped. The traditional Islamic line on gender divisions has been criticised for being established on the basis of the binary logic of male and female gender which leaves no capacity to accept a third gender in traditional Islāmic theology. Therefore, the fatwās of both Khomeini and al-Ṭanṭāwī were issued on the basis of the binary logic of male and female gender. However, this article argues that although al-Ṭanṭāwī’s fatwā was vague and clearly built on a gender binary logic, Khomeini’s fatwā was issued on other grounds that may allow for a discussion on transgender Muslims as third gender. Moreover, the article argues that there is a discursive space within Muslim juridical texts which one may justifiably use to underpin an interpretation of a third gender in Islāmic legal and theological debates.
  • The Sin of Turning Away from Reality: An Interview with Father Krzysztof Charamsa

    David Paternotte; Mary Anne Case; Sarah Bracke (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2016-12-01)
  • The Normative Power of Images: Religion, Gender, Visuality

    Stefanie Knauss; Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2015-10-01)
    In this introductory article to the special issue of Religion and Gender on gender, normativity and visuality, we establish the theoretical framework to discuss the influence of visual culture on gender norms. This introduction also provides a reflection on how these norms are communicated, reaffirmed and contested in religious contexts. We introduce the notion of visuality as individual and collective signifying practices, with a particular focus on how this regards gender norms. Two main ways in which religion, gender and normativity are negotiated in visual meaning making processes are outlined: on the one hand, the religious legitimation of gender norms and their communication and confirmation through visual material, and on the other hand, the challenge of these norms through the participation in visual culture by means of seeing and creating. These introductory reflections highlight the common concerns of the articles collected in this issue: the connection between the visualisation of gender roles within religious traditions and the influence of religious gender norms in other fields of (visual) culture.
  • Catachresis: Religion, Gender, and Postcoloniality

    Sîan Melvill Hawthorne; Adriaan S. van Klinken (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2013-08-01)
  • Interview with Ekaterina Samutsevich

    Katya Tolstaya; Heleen Zorgdrager; Anne-Marie Korte (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2014-12-01)
    Interview with Ekaterina Samutsevich, member of Pussy Riot.Translated into English by Katya Tolstaya and Stella Rock.
  • Sexual Politics and Religious Actors in Argentina

    Mario Pecheny; Daniel Jones; Lucía Ariza (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2016-12-01)
    This article examines the role of religious actors in sexual politics in Argentina. Sexual politics has become a critical battlefield when it comes to the role of religion in the Argentinean liberal-democratic regime, while gender and sexuality have been the main political targets of religious institutions since the 1980s and 1990s. In this context, progressive legislation on gender, sexual, and reproductive rights was passed, including same-sex marriage and the recognition of transgender identities, despite the opposition of the Catholic Church. Paradoxically, abortion remains largely illegal, allowed only in exceptional circumstances.
  • Representations of Religion on the British Feminist Webzine <i>The F Word</i>

    Kristin Aune (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2015-12-01)
    In 21st century Europe, where religion is a more visible focus in local, national and global politics, how do feminist organisations and groups approach religion? This article explores this through analysis of representations of religion on a prominent British feminist webzine, The F Word. In academic literature and public debates, two dominant viewpoints are articulated in debates on women’s rights, religion and secularism: feminist secularism and religious inclusion. In the context of these debates, the study asks how The F Word writers approach religion, and whether and how their representations of religion reflect these academic and public debates. The analysis identifies four dominant approaches to religion, and two underlying themes, and sets these approaches in their wider social context.
  • Judicial Activism in the Context of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution: Emerging Conceptions of Femininity and Masculinity

    Monika Lindbekk (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2017-06-01)
    This article investigates gender implications of judicial activism within the context of the 2011 revolution. Relying on analysis of a sample of judicial decisions in the field of divorce and child-rearing, I argue that individual judges used the family courts as a platform to articulate alternative legal discourses prior to the 2011 revolution. During the period between February 2011 and the military coup in July 2013 family legislation emerged as a controversial point. The period witnessed the mobilisation of small but vocal fathers’ rights groups that called for a revolution in Egyptian family law and formed strategic alliances with a handful of judges. The latter became members of a legislative committee formed under the presidency of Muhammad Mursi. I investigate the gender implications of their activism against a background where old and new actors and institutions competed over the right to interpret shari’a in an authoritative way.
  • Seeking the Image of ‘Unmarked’ Sikh Women: Text, Sacred Stitches, Turban

    Doris R. Jakobsh (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2015-10-01)
    With the inauguration of the Khalsa in 1699 by the tenth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, a new understanding of ‘being Sikh’ was put in place. In examining the earliest prescriptive texts of the Khalsa, manifestations of Sikh religio-cultural identity and visual distinctiveness were deeply connected to the male Sikh body. This study locates Sikh women within a number of these early ritual and textual ordinances while also exploring how Sikh female religio-cultural materiality is contradistinct to the normative Khalsa male body. The production of phulkaris, a form of embroidered head covering (but having other uses as well) was historically associated with Sikh women and are here examined as alternate forms of religious belonging, ritual production and devotion. This study concludes with an examination of how the turban, for a small number of diasporic Sikh women, can be understood both as a rejection of traditional Sikh female ideals, as well as a novel form of Sikh women’s identity construction that is closely aligned with Sikh masculine ideals.
  • Gender Equality in Death? The Normative Dimension of Roman Catholic Ossuaries

    Anna-Katharina Höpflinger (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2015-10-01)
    Gender seems to be so important for social orientation that it does not end with death, but forms practices and ideas around death. In Roman Catholic regions across Europe we find charnel houses and ossuaries, where the bones of the deceased have been collected. The exposed mortal remains reminded the living of death and warned them to live a ‘good’ life. To explain the interrelation between such normative demands and the material representation of death, a gender-based perspective is useful: in their material representations, ossuaries offer gendered ideas of death. For example we find murals of masculine and feminine personifications of death as the Reaper. But ossuaries also posit the ungendered equality of all humans in death: girls, boys, women and men are nothing more than bones, arranged side by side. I argue that ossuaries can be understood as in-between spaces for gender concepts: they support a gendered social order, but they also blur gender differences.
  • Girls by the Church: Construction of a Pussy Riot Event in Finland as a Threat to Russian Gender Roles and Sexual Norms

    Teivo Teivainen (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2014-12-01)
    In August 2012, pro-Kremlin media in Russia reported widely about an alleged attempt to replay the Pussy Riot stunt at an Orthodox cathedral in Finland. According to the reports, also reproduced by the Russian Foreign Ministry, a Finnish professor was facing several years’ prison sentence in Finnish courts for having attacked the cathedral, carried urine containers, spread homosexual propaganda and committed various acts of blasphemy. Even if the Finnish media, eyewitnesses and state authorities repeatedly denied the claims, the story became a useful way for pro-Kremlin forces to normalise the Pussy Riot trial in Russia. The episode was an example of the recent politicisation of religion, gender and sexuality in the Russian public sphere.
  • Mater Nostra: The Anti-blasphemy Message of the Feminist Punk-Prayer

    Elena Ivanovna Volkova (Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals (Publishing Services), 2014-12-01)
    In this essay I develop a blasphemy counter-discourse arguing that it was ecclesial and state authorities who committed blasphemies, which were condemned by Pussy Riot’s punk-prayer. Thus, the performance in this respect may be interpreted as an anti-blasphemy protest. The blasphemy list includes the collaboration of the church with the authoritarian state, known as heresy of Sergianism; Caesar and Temple idolatry, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Virgin Mary and Folly for Christ’s sake. The punk-prayer may be interpreted as a feminine version of the Lord’s Prayer – Mater Nostra. Several corporeal narratives in the background – women’s dress code and rape debates, Virgin Mary’s belt, and its alleged miraculous ability to help women to deliver a baby – may be seen as allegories of feminist vs. patriarchal opposition in Russian religious and political culture.

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