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					                            RS 3FF3 GENDER AND RELIGION
                                  Summer Term II 2009
                                     DSB –AB 102
Instructor: Tinamarie Jones
Office: University Hall, B112

A study of gender in several religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity,
Judaism and Islam. Important female religious figures and feminist theology will also be studied.

This three unit course will introduce students to the power that perceptions and constructions of gender
exert upon religious belief, narrative, and practice. By studying examples from various religious
traditions, students will observe how an individual or cultural understanding of gender not only
determines gender roles within society, but also determines the degree of one’s participation in religion
as well.

By the end of this course, the successful student will be able to:
   • Produce a working definition of the term ‘gender’
   • Outline examples of religious persons and roles which fall outside current gender categories
   • Describe how gender constructs are reflected in liturgy, ritual, and religious art
   • Describe ways in which the gendered body determines full or partial religious participation
   • Observe, analyze and critique definitions of gender which have emerged in light of recent
       feminist and queer theorists, and suggest the impact this changing definition may have upon
       religious participation.

Weekly Quizzes (10% each)                    40%
Term paper (5 pgs )                          20%
Final exam                                   40%

All readings for this course can be located electronically, via the JSTOR database, accessible through
Mills library.

  • Students are expected to conduct themselves in a courteous and respectful manner at all times.
  • Submit your written work on time. Late papers will lose 5 marks per day, weekends inclusive.
  • Electronic submissions will not be accepted.
  • Please ensure that all cell phones are turned off prior to entering the classroom.
  • Students registered with the Centre for Students Development should inform me as soon as
    possible in order to facilitate and expedite accommodation.
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process.
Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned
academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero
on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (Notation reads: “Grade of F assigned
for academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the University.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the
various types of academic dishonesty, please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been
2. Improper collaboration in group work.
3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

At certain points in the course, it may make good sense to modify the schedule outlined below. The
instructor reserves the right to modify elements of the course and will notify students accordingly.

  • This course highlights the intersection of gender and religion. In doing so, emphasis will be
    placed upon various theories and theorists, as well as examples drawn from a wide range of
    religions. To that end, although you will encounter a considerable number of terms which are
    likely new to you, the most significant terms will always be highlighted in lecture. This is
    important to keep in mind, especially as you are doing the reading. It is easy to feel
    overwhelmed by the new terms at first. I will make my expectations regarding terms clear
    during each class meeting.
  • Readings: Your readings are outlined on the course syllabus. It is important to keep up with
    your readings and take steps not to fall behind. Please make every effort to have the material
    for each class read before we meet.
  • The reading material for the course will be expanded upon and enriched in lecture. To this end,
    your consistent attendance in lecture is very important.
  • Keep in mind that weekly quizzes are always scheduled for our Monday class meetings.
    Quizzes will be held at the beginning of the class. Please be prompt. Missed quizzes cannot be
    made up. It is your responsibility to be present for quizzes.

Week 1 – Background to the Study of Gender and Religion
Monday, June 22
  • Welcome and Introduction to the Course

Wednesday, June 24
  • Conceptualizing and Measuring Gender Ideology as an Identity. Amy Kroska, Gender and
     Society, Vol. 14, No. 3 (June 2000), pp. 368-394

Week 2 – Religion and ‘Traditional’ Gender Roles
Monday, June 29
  • Lived Regulations, Systemic Attributions: Menstrual Separation and Ritual Immersion,
      Tova Hartman and Naomi Marmon. Gender and Society, Vol. 18, No. 3, (June 2004), pp. 389-
  • Good Wives, Family Protectors: Writing Jain Laywomen’s Memorials. M.Whitney
      Kelting. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 71, No. 3 (Sept. 2003), pp. 637-
  • Localising the Universal: Women, Motherhood and the Appeal of Early Theravada
      Buddhism. Barbara Watson Andaya, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Feb.
      2002), pp. 1-30

Wednesday, July 1

Week 3 – The Body as Religious Site
Monday, July 6
  • Where Text Meets Flesh: Burning the Body as an Apocryphal Practice in Chinese
      Buddhism. James A. Benn. History of Religions, Vol. 37, No. 4 (May 1998), pp. 295-322
  • Literary Fat Rabbis: On the Historical Origins of the Grotesque Body. Daniel Boyarin.
      Journal of the History of Sexuality. Vol. 1, No. 4 (Apr. 1991), pp. 551-584
  • Catholic Priests and Their Experience of Celibacy. Anne M. Hoenkamp-Bisschops. Journal
      of Religion and Health, Vol. 31, No. 4 (Winter, 1992), pp. 327-336
  • QUIZ #1

Wednesday, July 8
  • Philo and the Rabbis on Sex and the Body. David Winston. Poetics Today, Vol. 19, No. 1,
     Hellenism and Hebraism Reconsidered: The Poetics of Cultural Influence.
  • Woman, Bodhisattva, and Buddha. Reiko Ohnuma. Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.
     Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring 2001), pp. 63-83

   •   Monastic Masturbation in Pali Buddhist Texts. J. Duncan M.Derrett. Journal of the History
       of Sexuality, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Jan 2006), pp, 1-13
Week 4 – Religion and Gender – Changing Roles
Monday, July 13
  • From Goddess Spirituality to Irigaray’s Angel: The Politics of the Divine. Penelope
      Ingram. Feminist Review, No. 66, Political Currents (Autumn 2000), pp. 46-72
  • Beneath the Status Characteristic: Gender Variations in Religiousness. Edward H.
      Thompson, Jr. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Vol. 30, No. 4 (Dec. 1991), pp. 381-
  • Seeing Through the Gendered “I”: The Self Scrutiny and Self Disclosure of Nuns in Post
      Asokan Buddhism, Liz Wilson, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Vol, 11, No. 1
      (Spring, 1995), pp. 41-80
  • QUIZ #2

Wednesday, July 15
  • Gendered Religious Organizations: The Case of Theravada Buddhism in America. Wendy
     Cadge, Gender and Society, Vol. 18, No. 6 (Dec. 2004), pp. 777-793
  • The Other Side of the Veil: North African Women in France Respond to the Headscarf
     Affair, Caitlin Killian, Gender and Society, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Aug. 2003), pp, 567-590
  • Interpreting Gender in Islam: A Case study of Immigrant Muslim Women in Oslo,
     Norway. Line Nyhagen Predelli, Gender and Society, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Aug, 2004), pp. 473-493

Week 5 – Gender and Religious Leadership
Monday, July 20
  • In the Same Voice or Is It Different? Gender and the Clergy. Rita J. Simon and Pamela S.
      Nadell, Sociology of Religion, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Spring 1995), pp. 63-70
  • Changing Issue Agendas of Women Clergy. Laura R. Olson, Sue E.S. Crawford and James
      L. Guth. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Jun. 2000), pp. 140-153
  • Rabbis and Ministers: Women of the Book and the Cloth. Rita J. Simon, Angela J. Scanlan
      and Pamela S. Nadell, Sociology of Religion, Vol. 54, No. 1, Religion and Gender
      Relationships (Spring, 1993)
  • QUIZ #3

Wednesday, July 22
  • Probing the Politics of Difference: What’s Wrong with an All-Male Priesthood? Christine
     E. Gudorf. The Journal of Religious Ethics, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Fall, 1999), pp. 377-405
  • The Stained Glass Ceiling: Career Attainment for Women Clergy. Paul Sullins. Sociology
     of Religion, Vol. 61, No. 3 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 243-266
  • Gender Difference in the Professional Orientations of Protestant Clergy. Elaine M.
     McDuff and Charles W. Mueller. Sociological Forum, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Sept 2002), pp, 465-491

Week 6 – Resistance to Gender Categories
Monday, July 27
  • Coming to Terms with Navajo ‘nadleehi’: A Critique of ‘Berdache,’ ‘Gay,’ ‘Alternate
      Gender,’ and ‘Two Spirited’ Carolyn Epple. American Ethnologist, Vol. 25, No. 2 (May
      1998), pp. 267-290
  • Queer Lives of Saints: Jerome’s Hagiography. Virginia Burrus. Journal of the
      History of Sexuality. Vol. 10, No. ¾, Special Issue: Sexuality in Late Antiquity)
   •   Sex Without Sex, Queering the Market, the Collapse of the Political, the Death of
       Difference, Brett Levinson, Diacritics, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 81-101
   •   QUIZ #4

Wednesday, July 29
  • Transsexualism, Gender, and Anxiety in Traditional India. Robert P. Goldman. Journal of
     the American Oriental Society, Vol. 113, No. 3 (Jul-Sept 1993), pp. 374-401
  • Not This, Not That: The Hijras of India and the Cultural Politics of Sexuality. Vinay Lal.
     Social Text, No. 61, Out Front: Lesbians, Gays, and the Struggle for Workplace Rights (Winter,
  • Home, Homo, Hybrid: Translating Gender. Geeta Patel. College Literature, Vol. 24, No. 1
     Queer Utilities: Textual Studies, Theory, Pedagogy, Praxis

Week 7 – Summing Up
Monday, August 3

Wednesday, August 5
  • Final Exam (in class)