Feminisms Beyond the Secular

Emerging Epistemologies and Politics in the 21st Century

The Feminisms Beyond the Secular conference at Lehigh University in March 2016 will explore the post-secular turn in feminist thought. Feminist thought has long recognized the relevance of religion to accounts of gendered violence and inequality, but scholars and activists have also recently pointed to the need for revitalized feminist accounts the relationship between women and religion. Given its intellectual debts to secular humanism, liberal feminism has often had difficulty separating itself from a Western Enlightenment tradition. This tendency can pit feminist policy against women's active participation in religious institutions and movements and elide the ways in which different religious traditions shape gender norms. Non-Western and radical feminists have critiqued the oppressive aspects of this liberal tradition, deconstructed the boundaries between religion and secularism, and offered alternative models for knowledge production and policy- making that are more compatible with women's piety while critics of post secular feminism see it as a form of political correctness that serves to re-inscribe religious and patriarchal authority over women's bodies and lives. Through lively exchanges among scholars about the promises and perils of post secular feminism, this conference hopes to clarify the terms of debate in this emergent area of feminist theory and politics. This is a multi- and interdisciplinary international conference to be held over three days on Lehigh University’s campus in Bethlehem, PA. The conference will include keynote speakers Srimati Basu, Professor of Anthropology and Gender and Women's Studies, University of Kentucky; Neera Chandkoke, Visitng Professorial Fellow, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India; and Jasbur Puar, Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers University and more than 15 paper presenters as well as interactive working sessions providing scholars the opportunity to connect.


Welcome and Opening Remarks

Keynote, Srimati Basu - The Trouble is Marriage, The Afterlife of Feminist Legal Reform in India

Panel - What's Religion Got to Do With It? Gender, Sexuality and Techniques of Sacralizing/Secularizing Difference

Panel - Humanism in a Post-Human World? On Making Lives Matter In Transnational and Postcolonial Contexts

Keynote, Neera Chandhoke - The Crisis of Secularism and its Aftermath 

Panel: Democratic Desires in a Secular Age: Global Politics, Nationalism, and the Promise/Peril of Religion


Panel: Spirituality and Materiality: Putting Bodies, Minds, and Spirits Together


Panel: Righteous Text: Religion, Performance and Visual Culture

Panel: Advancing a Feminist Agenda Across the Religious/Secular Divide: Reports on Acitivism and Theory

Panel: Reflections - Feminisms Beyond the Secular

A Livestream Presentation: "The Future of Black Feminisms"