CFP: Gendering Labor in Contemporary Asian Religions

Gwendolyn Gillson's picture
October 15, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Asian History / Studies, Labor History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, Women's & Gender History / Studies

CFP: “Gendering Labor in Contemporary Asian Religions”

21-23 June 2022, in person (if feasible and safe)

Centre for East and Southeast Asian Studies, Lund University

Organizers: Paulina Kolata (Lund University) and Gwendolyn Gillson (Illinois College)

Abstract deadline on October 15, 2021


What is religious labor? How does it look and feel? How is it gendered and gendering? What does it produce, if anything? How is it valued and recognized? 


Processes of gendering labor within religious contexts are entangled with everyday moral economies and realities molded by local and global capitalistic networks. Gender often influences the ways work is organized, valued, and experienced. It shapes how people recognize and understand their own and others' labor while challenging individuals and communities to imagine alternative views for the processes of work. Religious frameworks provide opportunities for revealing how places, institutions, and people’s practices shape the complexities of how that labor is imagined and experienced. 


This workshop will investigate how worlds, individuals, collectives, and the things they produce are transformed through gendered/gendering realities by exploring labor at the intersection of religion and gender within contemporary Asian contexts. We invite contributors to consider labor as dynamic processes and practices that construct religious worlds. In doing so, we seek to include voices from diverse religious and non-religious contexts where gendered religious labor takes place and that recognize the fluidity of gender identities. 


We will consider how gendered/gendering labor shapes and is shaped by religion and people’s religious imaginaries and realities.


In order to broaden the theoretical, epistemological, and methodological aspects of such labor, we invite ethnographic contributions from across the religious breadth of Asia to address questions including, but not limited to, the following: 

  • What is “religious labor” and what does it do? How is labor valued and recognized within religious contexts? How do these processes of recognition relate to gender?
  • How do people’s understandings of their own circumstances offer diverse, and often unexpected, ways of thinking through labor in religious contexts?
  • How are constructions of gender identities articulated through labor in religious contexts?
  • What kind of labor does gender do in religious contexts?
  • How can labor help us make sense of people’s religious subjectivities/collectivities and the various socio-economic realities of contemporary capitalism they inhabit?
  • How can religion push conversations about labor and gender beyond capitalistic systems?

We welcome traditional written works as well as photo essays exploring the above questions and engaging with themes including, but not limited to, the following: 

  • Temporalities of religious labor and/or work
  • Gendered labor of human and non-human entities
  • Religious labor or labor in religious contexts as producing the social connections
  • The interplay of labor and work in religious contexts
  • Gendered labor as learned and reproduced
  • Formal and informal labor
  • Labor as a relational process or transformation
  • Intersectionality in labor and religion 
  • Precarity and precariousness
  • Emotional, affective, intimate, aesthetic, and/or caring labor

For more information and bibliography, please see the workshop website:


Guidelines for Submission:

Please submit a 250-word abstract via Google Form by October 15, 2021:

Invitations for participation will be sent out by November 1. Submission of maximum 2,000-word draft papers to pre-circulate among the participants is due on May 16, 2022. The workshop will take place in-person at Lund University in Lund, Sweden and focus primarily on collegiate discussions and peer-reviewing drafts. Alternative formats for the workshop will be adopted if necessitated by the global health situation.

Please direct all inquiries to Dr. Gwendolyn Gillson and Dr. Paulina Kolata at

Contact Info: 

Paulina Kolata (Lund University) and Gwendolyn Gillson (Illinois College)