CFP: The Centrality of Gender in Religious Transformation from the Late Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century | Call for GSA Seminar Participants

Maria Mitchell Discussion

The Centrality of Gender in Religious Transformation from the Late Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century

Call for Participants: The 47th German Studies Association (GSA) Conference in Montréal, Canada, from October 5 to October 8, 2023

Seminar Format and Membership: Seminars will meet October 6, 7, and 8 during one of the scheduled morning sessions to "foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual exchange, and intensified networking" (GSA).  Seminar participants will come from all ranks and include graduate students. 

Application Information: Applications for participation should be submitted via the GSA website by Friday, March 3; membership in the GSA for 2023 is required to apply.  Please do not hesitate to contact either or both conveners with questions.


Abstract: Scholars of religion have recently recognized the influence of gender on processes of religious transformation since the late 18th century. Changes in understandings of faith, forms of piety, religious attendance, and participation in ancillary organizations went hand-in-hand with shifting gender roles. These changes frequently unleashed impassioned debates about women’s roles in their religious institutions as well as broader constructions of womanhood and sexuality, highlighting the degree to which ensuing discourses of religion, faith, and politics were gendered. Were the religious transformations of this era cause or effect of changing understandings of gender and sexuality? To what degree were movements promoting secularism and secularization gendered? This seminar will analyze debates over the roles of sexually-defined identities in 19th- and early 20th-century religious institutions, how religious and secularist movements in the interwar and postwar eras were gendered, and religious upheavals since the 1960s, including controversies over birth control, abortion, secularism, queerness, and clerical sexual abuse.

Format: This seminar is structured around questions focused on seminal texts and recent publications. Discussion questions and readings – no more than six essays and book chapters – will be announced in June 2023. In advance of the seminar, all participants will pre-circulate a 2-3 page reflection on methodological questions.