Booking and CFP for Religion and Rape Culture Conference, 6th July 2018

Booking is now open for our Religion and Rape Culture Conference. Places are limited so book your ticket fast!

Please note that we have small travel bursaries to contribute to travel costs for UK students who wish to attend the conference. These bursaries will be awarded on a needs basis, and speakers/those with poster submissions will also be prioritised.

The deadline for submission of proposals for our Religion and Rape Culture Conference is fast approaching! Get your proposals in by 19th March 2018. See the CFP below for more details.

Email [email protected] for more information.

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Call for papers! Religion and Rape Culture Conference, 6th July 2018

Religion and Rape Culture Conference

  • The University of Sheffield, 6th July 2018
  • We are thrilled to confirm that one of our key-note speakers will be Professor Cheryl Exum.

We are delighted to announce a one day interdisciplinary conference exploring and showcasing research into the phenomenon of rape culture, both throughout history and within contemporary societies across the globe. In particular, we aim to investigate the complex and at times contentious relationships that exist between rape culture and religion, considering the various ways religion can both participate in and contest rape culture discourses and practices.

We are also interested in the multiple social identities that invariably intersect with rape culture, including gender, disabilities, sexuality, race and class. The Shiloh Project specialises in the field of Biblical Studies, but we also strongly encourage proposals relating to rape culture alongside other religious traditions, and issues relating to rape culture more broadly.

This conference is open to researchers at any level of study, and from any discipline. We invite submissions of abstracts no more than 300 words long and a short bio no later than 19th March. Please indicate whether your submission is for a poster or a presentation. We particularly welcome abstracts on the following topics:

  • Gender violence and the Bible
  • Gender, class and rape culture
  • Visual representations of biblical gender violence
  • Representations of rape culture in the media and popular culture
  • Teaching traumatic texts
  • Methods of reading for resistance and/or liberation
  • Sexual violence in schools and Higher Education
  • Religion, rape culture and the gothic/horror genre
  • Spiritualities and transphobia
  • Familial relations and the Bible

For more information, or to submit an abstract, email [email protected]

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Using religious imagery in popular culture to explore and challenge everyday sexism, sexual harassment and abuse together with secondary school students

Our White Rose Collaboration Fund project will begin soon and the webpage is already live!

Revelations of pervasive sexual harassment and abuse are emerging from numerous settings. Moreover, educational research shows that such is prevalent already among school pupils. Children as young as 7 experience sexualized name-calling, unwanted touching and appearance-related bullying. Teachers report witnessing such practices and feeling ill-equipped to respond (Women’s and Equalities Committee Report, 2016).

Our multi-disciplinary collaboration brings together academics from Education, English, Biblical and Religious Studies to explore sexism and sexual harassment in secondary school settings using one discrete focus and lens: the role of religious imagery in popular culture (particularly advertising and music videos).

Religious imagery (e.g. the veil, the Cross) is widely used in popular culture both to represent and reinforce ideologies about such complex concepts as ‘sexuality’, ‘purity’, ‘virginity’, or ‘im/morality’. This imagery also conveys notions that casualize or glamourize sexual harassment or violence, reinforce the normativity of heterosexuality, and perpetuate racist associations between Blackness and certain sexual characteristics/desires. Such representations can be regarded as problematic in relation to young people’s understandings of gender, sex and sexualities.

In consultation with secondary schools from all three White Rose regions and a third-sector organization offering gender equality training for school-age girls (Fearless Futures), the network will conduct three pilot workshops with secondary school students (girls and boys) to investigate interactions with religious imagery in popular culture and the ways in which these representations shape understandings of gender, sex and sexualities.

Professor Vanita Sundaram (University of York) will lead the project with Dr Johanna Stiebert (University of Leeds) and Dr Katie Edwards (University of Sheffield), working alongside colleagues Dr Valerie Hobbs (University of Sheffield), Dr Sarah Olive (University of York), Dr Jasjit Singh (University of Leeds), Dr Caroline Starkey (University of Leeds), Ms Sofia Rehman (University of Leeds) and Dr Meredith Warren (University of Sheffield).

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16 Days of Activism – Day 16: Beatrice Lawrence

To mark the final day of UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism campaign, we profile Beatrice Lawrence, an Assistant Professor at Seattle University. Beatrice works closely with fellow academic activists Rhiannon Graybill and Meredith Minister on religion and gender-based violence. Look out for their forthcoming edited volume Rape Culture and Religious Studies: Critical and Pedagogical Engagements (Lexington Books).

Tell us about yourself: who are you and what do you do?

I’m an assistant professor at Seattle University, where I teach courses on the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies, often cross-listed with Women and Gender Studies. I love my job; I think the material at the heart of my career is fascinating and important, and it’s wonderful to see students realize that as well. My research is eclectic, ranging from rabbinics to rape culture. A consistent thread, however, is that of pushing boundaries.

What’s your involvement with gender activism? Does your work intersect with gender activism? How?

 I grew up in a staunchly feminist household. My mother was an activist, going on marches and serving as the president of Idaho’s National Organization for Women. (Yes. Idaho.) She would take us with her, she would talk about it with us, and my father was just as engaged. Feminism was and is an integrated and central element of our family dialect, and I’m incredibly grateful: I have always been motivated to see and name gender-based injustice and violence. It is only natural that it would be a part of my work, and the way I parent my daughters.

I’ve always been involved in community and pedagogical work around sexual assault, by creating workshops, engaging in mindful teaching practices, and supporting activist groups. But a few years ago, I was blessed to meet my colleagues and friends, Rhiannon Graybill and Meredith Minister, at a Wabash workshop. We came to realize we shared a concern about sexual assault on college campuses, as well as the conviction that the culture surrounding it needed to be identified and named. Its intersection with our work in Bible and theology fueled our desire to create sophisticated yet accessible means to discuss it. Thus was born our work together, writing and teaching about rape culture.

How does or could The Shiloh Project relate to your work and activism?

 I’m grateful for the chance to connect with the wonderful people at The Shiloh Project to mutually promote each other’s work. We share a commitment to relevant, rigorous scholarship on gender-based inequality and violence, and a desire to have an impact in the academy as well as outside it. We are publishing a volume on rape culture and religious studies (due out late 2018), and look forward to sharing it in this context as well. The feminist ethic of collaboration and care is present in the work of The Shiloh Project: let’s work together, support each other, and make a difference.

How are you going to get active to resist gender-based violence and inequality?

I’m loud, angry, and active—and I plan to continue being thus.

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