Research Highlight

International Summer School “Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion and Gender: Postcolonial, Post-secular and Queer Perspectives”

In May 2017, an international group of twenty-seven senior and junior scholars and PhD. students joined the 1st international summer school of the International Association for the Study of Gender and Religion (IARG). This event was organised in collaboration with the Centre for Gender and Diversity at Maastricht University.

The aim of this advanced summer school was to explore the current major challenges to the study of religion and gender by focusing on three contemporary critical perspectives in the humanities: postcolonial, post-secular and queer theory. It targeted scholars and students whose research is situated in the interdisciplinary study of gender and religion. The participants came from diverse fields of research, such as masculinity studies, disability studies, theology, anthropology, history, literature, and media studies. This diversity contributed immensely to our interdisciplinary approach in generating new and critical research questions and methodologies in the study of religion and gender.

The summer school provided an advanced programme consisting of keynote lectures and master-classes led by senior scholars. The event included a one-day conference allowing participants to present and discuss their research, and to receive feedback from their peers as well as from senior scholars. In addition to these research-targeted sessions, it offered two skills-workshops. One workshop on academic writing was led by John Harbord, Academic Writing Advisor at UM, and a second on academic publishing by Mariecke van den Berg and Nella van den Brandt, editors of the international journal Religion and Gender.
The summer school was concluded with a World Café session. Participants discussed four main topics: 1) joint publication, 2) future steps of IARG, 3) developing the field of religion and gender, and 4) joins grant/research proposal.

The summer school was very positively evaluated by the participants. They especially appreciated the opportunity for equal dialogue between senior scholars and PhD. students, the diversity of participants, the levels of the master-classes and workshops, and the networking opportunities.
An outstanding outcome is a project of a joint publication. The exchange of knowledge and ideas and the discussions held during the event, led several participants, together with the editors of the journal, to set up a special issue for the journal Religion and Gender. The special issue includes peered-reviewed articles written by these participants, and senior scholars will be invited to write a response to the articles. The special issue is planned to be published in Autumn 2018.