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3. Workshop: Rethinking the Religious Body (October 6, 2009 / IWH)

This workshop focusses on the central importance of religion in shaping and conceiving of bodies and sexualities. It is to be asked how the fe/male body carries and/or escapes the burden of representing the family/community/nation. Aspects of purity, chastity, and cleansing, but also of veiling and wrapping bodies and of diverging ideas of salvation of wo/man are some of the aspects dealt with. Some pertaining questions are:

  • How do religious concepts and practices shape fe/male bodies and in which ways do they inscribe themselves in these bodies?
  • In which ways can we identify and define the links between body on the one hand and concepts of individuality and family/community on the other?
  • Of what importance is the role of ritual for individual or collective strategies of shaping bodies and to what extent can rituals be used as instruments of subversion?

Speakers (Tuesday, October 6):

Bernard Faure, Columbia University, New York

Keynote: "Incorporated Buddhism: Organic and Symbolic Bodies in Medieval Japanese Buddhism"  

Loriliai Biernacki, University of Colorado, Department of Religious Studies

Talk: "Rethinking the Religious Body: Tantric Models of Embodied Divinity"  

Bettina Dennerlein, University of Zürich, Department of Islamic and Gender Studies

Talk: "Religion, the State, and the Body. Recent Debates on Family Law Reform in Egypt and Marocco"

Liz Wilson, University of Miami, Department of comparative Religion/Women’s Study

Talk: "Didactic Bodies in Indian Buddhist Story Literature"

Related Readings are to be found here
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Precirculated Conference Papers are currently being prepared for publication