In current debates, (fundamentalist) religions are often associated with aggressive masculinity, patriarchal hierarchies, and the violation of the rights of women. Despite these problematic ... read more
In current debates, (fundamentalist) religions are often associated with aggressive masculinity, patriarchal hierarchies, and the violation of the rights of women. Despite these problematic simplifications, gender studies have tended to ignore the role religion(s) play in the constructions of masculinities and femininities. The link between gender and religion is only slowly becoming a research question in contemporary scholarship.
The course has two aims: First, it seeks to offer an introduction to theorizing the connection between gender and religion in literary and cultural studies. Intersectional approaches in gender studies have stressed the necessity to think about masculinity and femininity in the plural, as informed by other social categories along the lines of race, class, sexual orientation, and also religion. Secondly, and on the basis of these theoretical discussions, the course will focus on the negotiations of gender in contemporary British literature dealing with the history of religions, religious identities, as well as faith (and faithlessness). Texts: Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (1988); Laila Abouela, Minaret (2005); Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question (2010); Colm Tóibín, The Testament of Mary (2012). Students should purchase these novels and have read Tóibín’s novel by the beginning of the semester. Further texts will be made available on Blackboard. Assessment will be on the basis of regular attendance, active participation in classroom activities (incl. presentation and response papers), and the submission of an essay of c. 7500 words.