C A L L F O R P A P E R S
L A U D - Symposium, University of Duisburg, April 7 - 10,
on "Women Theologies and Religious Discourses"
An interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach.
Historically monotheist religions have tended to give
privilege to masculine or male attributes in their
conceptions of God, and at the same time, to give women a
lower status in religious life. To begin to confront this
historical exclusion there have been serious attempts in
the last few decades to reconceive theologies and religious
practices in the light of the new understanding brought
about by the increasing emancipation of women in today's
It should be stressed that the scope of work done by women
theologians in particular is far broader than a focus upon
gender or sex. From a variety of backgrounds, feminist
theologians can be found variously supporting the cause of
social oppression, including discrimination by race, class,
ethnicity, age, health, sex and gender.
The theoretical redefinition of theology by women and men
in the light of feminism involves a new look at language
and its relation to reality.
Crucially this also implies new definitions of ethics and
knowledge which recognize the decisive influence of
relations of power on language including religious
On the basis of similar and different experiences, women
are creating new religious discourses or giving new
meanings to traditional discourses.
In particular the 1999 LAUD symposium aims to reflect upon
the impact that feminism and the new voices of women have
had during the past forty years upon religious discourse.
It will focus upon the reformulation of exegetical and
hermeneutical methods, and of patterns of argumentation in
theology, especially, but not exclusively, by women.
Paper proposals from various disciplines such as religious
studies, linguistics, literary studies, gender studies,
psychology, psychoanalysis and social anthropology are
invited for the following areas or themes:
PART ONE: THE DOMINANCE OF MALE DISCOURSE IN THEOLOGY AND
Does religious discourse have a part to play in the
construction of categories such as masculine and feminine?
To what extent have religious discourses created boundaries
for women in their performance of rituals in Jewish,
Christian, and Muslim traditions?
In what way(s) have these discourses also set women apart
In the light of the traces in the texts and traditions of
female devotion, one could ask: How has male religious
discourse failed women? And why?
Does this male discourse simply fail to express vital
aspects of the lives and experiences of women?
To what extent does the conception of God as a male
protector discriminate against women?
How is that conception - articulated through metaphors such
as Father, Lover, King - to be explained and why are these
metaphors so pervasive?
PART TWO: WOMEN THEOLOGIANS TODAY AND FEMINIST THEOLOGIES -
NEW THEORETICAL AND EXEGETICAL APPROACHES TO THEOLOGY
WHICH EMPLOY INSIGHTS FROM GENDER STUDIES.
Can women in theology give linguistic expression to a
possible 'female dimension' of religious experience
through the re-reading and re-thinking of sacred texts and
Is a more radical reconception of traditional theologies
and religious discourses necessary?
Should certain religious and liturgical traditions which
have been excluded by mainstream theologies be retrieved
for the transformation of gender exclusive religious
Should the worship of mother goddesses be revived, as some
feminists argue? What are the dangers of such a 'revival'
of the past?
Can women’s views of God help us to focus on divine
attributes such as “love” or “mercy”?
In what way(s) can men offer constructive criticisms of
feminist theology without being or sounding sexist?
How might gendered discourse involving both men and women
be successfully elaborated?
PART THREE: WOMEN, POETIC SPACE AND RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
Poetic forms of discourse may offer the space necessary for
a partial, yet fundamental and deliberate distancing of
oneself from more systematized and institutionalized forms
To what extent can poetic language enable non-male modes of
Can poetic language render possible new conceptualizations
of religious experience, by women and men who differ
according to race, class, ethnicity and sexual
PART FOUR: WOMEN AND RELIGIOUS DISCOURSE IN PRACTICE: THE
DEVELOPMENT OF FEMINIST ETHICS, NEW STYLES OF PASTORAL CARE
AND NEW FORMS OF LITURGY IN RELIGIONS GENERALLY
To what extent, if any, has community life been changed by
female rabbis, priests and pastors? Or have these religious
women simply had to conform to male roles - as 'honorary
What changes might still be envisioned?
What continuing problems do female religious leaders face
daily in traditional religions?
Can religious communities be transformed so that they are
more just and less oppressive of all other non-mainstream
Could - or does - addressing God as mother or in
gender-neutral terms, make any fundamental difference at
all to the ethics, pastoral care or liturgy of women and
men in traditional forms of religion?
This call for papers addresses scholars from all religions
denominations within monotheism, as well as from all
If you are interested, send an one-page abstract by 15th
FEBRUARY 1998 to LAUD (Linguistic Agency University of
Duisburg), University of Duisburg, D-47048 Duisburg
(Germany). E-mail: [log in to unmask]
May we also ask you to mention your academic degrees and
major publications, your university affiliation and/or
ministry (if any) and to mention your religious or
For further information please contact LAUD or one of the
members of the organizing team.
Dr. Pamela Anderson: [log in to unmask]
Dr. Benjamin Biebuyck: [log in to unmask]
Dr. Ralph Bisschops: [log in to unmask]
Dr. Lieven Boeve: [log in to unmask]
Dr. Kristien de Troyer: phone & fax: +3216 290881
Dr. René Dirven: [log in to unmask]
Dr. Kurt Feyaerts: [log in to unmask]
Dr. James Francis: [log in to unmask]
Mrs. Chia Longman, M.A.: [log in to unmask]
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Diotima's address: http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/gender.html