What happens when the study of women, gender, sexuality and feminism encounter—or clash with—religion and the academic study of religion? Scholars bring a variety of disciplinary concerns to the challenges of bridging discussions of gender and feminist theory with discussions of religion. Harvard faculty in the humanities and social sciences joined faculty of Harvard Divinity School and past and present scholars in the Women's Studies in Religion Program (WSRP) at the Divinity School for a one-day conversation to address these questions.
This conference was co-sponsored by the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University.
The 130 Research Associates who have participated in the Women's Studies in Religion Program have helped create a new field of scholarship shedding light on a host of issues concerning intellectual categories, public policies, and personal understandings. To celebrate the work of both past and future scholars in the program, the 25th Anniversary Conference, on February 3, 2006, focused on how their work both complicates and clarifies categories of gender, nation, and disciplinary studies in the context of globalization.
The Women's Studies and Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School was pleased to host a conference focused on the interconnections between religion and second wave feminism. It was a first effort to elicit and document the collective narratives of the religious women who have advanced a movement that continues to transform modern America. Activists for whom religion is the primary arena of feminist transformations came together with those whose religious roots have inspired commitments to women's liberation in other venues. These participants, in turn, were joined by historians, scholars and theological students who contribute to interpreting their legacy.
A companion book of essays by the conference speakers, Transforming the Faiths of Our Fathers: Women Who Changed American Religion, edited by Ann Braude, was published in June 2004. See the publisher's website for additional information.
Generous funding for this conference was provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.