Interfaith Event: Gender & Religion International Seminar – Newcastle, Australia


KATHLEEN McPHILLIPS (Newcastle University, Australia)

LISA ISHERWOOD (Winchester University, UK)

The new visibility of religion that has emerged since Sept 11 has led to a re-assessment of the role of religion in the contemporary world by numerous scholars. Yet, there has been little attention paid to the experiences of women as both citizens and adherents of religious groups. State and Church have historically excluded women from positions of authority and power. But the radicalizing of religious traditions, particularly Islam, and the development of religious institutions into public fora has had significant impact on the ability of women to participate as religious and political citizens. Do the new global power arrangements in both State and Church re-enforce this or offer women new forms of participation?

This conference (the first of two) will bring together feminist and gender scholars working across disciplines of religious studies and theology, to examine such developments in their areas of interest. It will be a small seminar (15 -20 scholars) and we will meet over one weekend to workshop written papers. Peer reviewed papers will go forward to book publication in the Equinox Series “Gender, Religion and Spirituality” (Series Editor: Lisa Isherwood).

Topics will address the following areas: – The emergence of new articulations of feminist theology (queer theology, eco-feminist theology, Islamic/Jewish/Christian/Hindu/Buddhist, Indigenous/Womanist theology);  Feminist/gender theory in religious studies that addresses the new visibility of religion and in particular the erosion of secularization processes and the claims by women for inclusion in political decision-making processes;  Case Study accounts that document gender and change processes; The marginalization of women in new religious groups and state formations; The uses of feminist biblical scholarship in the understanding of contemporary women’s religious experience.

This conference is funded by a grant from the Faculty of Education and Arts at the University of Newcastle. It is part of the RIPL (Religion and Political Life research group) based at Newcastle University (

Please direct all enquires to: Kathleen McPhillips, Newcastle University


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