Religion, Gender and Activism

Religion, Gender, Sexuality and Activism

Fourth expert meeting of the International Research and Network project Religion and Gender

15-16 December 2014, Ghent University, Belgium

Organizers: The network Interdisciplinary Innovations in the Study of Religion and Gender: Postcolonial, Post-secular and Queer Perspectives (Utrecht University, the Netherlands).

Hosted by the Centre for Intercultural Communication and Interaction (Ghent University, Belgium).

Co-organizers: RHEA Centre for Gender and Diversity (University of Brussels, Belgium), Centre for Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium).


Aim: This international expert meeting aims to discuss the study of religion and gender in relation to social movements and activism. For this purpose, a one and a half day intensive meeting will bring together scholars from different fields, such as religious studies, theology, sociology, anthropology and gender and women’s studies. The topics of the keynote lectures, the roundtable discussion and the workshops will address the study of religion and gender from multiple critical postcolonial, postsecular and queer perspectives. The thematic focus is social movements and activism in contemporary multicultural societies, related to contemporary debates on multiculturalism, human rights, and social inequalities and exclusions. The meeting will discuss the complex dynamics of religion and gender in our contemporary world with regard to the perspectives of activists and at the level of autonomous movements, civil society and critique within the institutions. Activism is broadly conceived as the critique of forms of inequality experienced or articulated by autonomous groups as well as by civil society actors and social movements and actors within the institutions in order to work towards progressive change.


Application and participation:

All participants are requested to write a very short paper (max 2 pages) in preparation of this meeting to be submitted at latest on 15 November 2014. This paper should address one of the four themes mentioned below. The questions raised below serve as an example and you are free to add other points to the conversation related to your own interests and research. The proposed topics will enable a more focused discussion in the second part of the meeting, in the afternoon of 16 December. So when choosing to address theme 1, you will be asked to participate with the roundtable that discusses theme 1.

If you are interested to participate, please register before 31 October 2014 by sending an e-mail to An Van Raemdonck, Please also indicate in this mail your preferred theme and your second choice regarding the roundtable discussions. We will aim to create balanced groups for all four topics. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


The four themes of the roundtable discussions:

1.Dynamics between (new) forms of activism and (new) religious/secular profiling in multicultural societies

For example: What types of activism emerge in the face of changing religious and secular landscapes in various locations, as well as new forms of religious and secularist profiling, confrontation and (identity) politics in public debates? How do activists’ concerns, argumentation, and styles and forms of activism respond to new challenges in contemporary multicultural societies?

2.Religion, gender and activism in a context of globalization: postcolonial critique and international solidarity

For example: How do issues of gender and sexuality shape global religious and secular politics? What causes the growth of homo-nationalism, how is it related to constructions of religion and secularism, and how does it affect activism? What is the meaning of international solidarity? What are the conditions of possibility to reach and practice international solidarity through activism? Do religious-secular differences between movements and activists play a role in building international solidarity?

3.Emergence of new religious/secular and sexual/”sexularist” normativities and subjectivities

For example: Do activisms in various locations produce different kinds of religious, secular, racial, ethnic and sexual normativities? What kind of religious and gendered subjectivities do various kinds of activisms contest, produce or enable?

4.Doing feminist research on religion, gender & activism: methodological/ethical challenges

For example: How do we produce, criticize, correct, rearrange and/or renew knowledge about religion and gender when starting from activist engagements and studying social movements? What ethical issues and questions may emerge from researching religion, gender and activism?


Anne-Marie Korte (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

Chia Longman (Ghent University, Belgium)

Drs. Nella van den Brandt  (Ghent University, Belgium)

Drs. An Van Raemdonck (Ghent University, Belgium)