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3. Women in Gender-Conservative Forms of Religion
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the question of why it is that women living in liberal democracies such as Western Europe and the United States might be attracted to gender-conservative forms of religion. In particular, we think about: (i) Lynn Davidman's book 'Tradition in a Rootless World' (1991), which explores a group of women in the United States who convert to orthodox Judaism; and (ii) Nancy Ammerman's book 'Bible Believers' (1987), which explores the lives of women in a fundamentalist Christian church in the United States.
In this course, Professor Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University) explores religion through the lens of feminism/gender studies. In the first module, we explore some classic feminist critiques of Christianity, including the work of Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) and Mary Daly (1928-2010). In the second module, we think about why women appear to be more religious than men, before turning in the third module to consider why some women living in gender-liberal societies choose to convert to gender-conservative forms of religion. In the fourth and fifth modules, we look at the work of two religious reformers – Fatima Mernissi and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza – before turning in the sixth modules to a range of women who took a more radical approach to the problem of misogyny in the religion they were brought up in. Finally, in the seventh module, we move beyond the major, institutionalised religions (e.g. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.) to consider more 'everyday' religious beliefs and practices, e.g. checking one's horoscope in the newspaper, visiting a psychic or medium, etc. and exploring the extent to which these too are patterned by gender.
Professor Linda Woodhead is Distinguished Professor of Religion and Society at Lancaster University. She has written widely on religion in modern society. Her recent publications include That Was The Church That Was: How the Church of England Lost the English People (2016) (as co-author), Christianity: A Very Short Introduction (2014), and Everyday Lived Islam in Britain (2013) (as co-author).
Cite this Lecture
Woodhead, L. (2021, August 23). Women, Gender and Religion - Women in Gender-Conservative Forms of Religion [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/women-gender-and-religion/women-in-gender-conservative-forms-of-religion
Woodhead, Linda. "Women, Gender and Religion – Women in Gender-Conservative Forms of Religion." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Aug 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/women-gender-and-religion/women-in-gender-conservative-forms-of-religion