This week I will be attending the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature (AAR/SBL) Conference in Baltimore Maryland. In celebration of the second anniversary of Feminism and Religion and the continued efforts of feminists in the field within the digital world, Xochitl Alvizo and I will lead a roundtable discussion on the intersection of feminism, religion, and technology – or what I refer to as the new feminist revolution in religion.
Reflecting on two years of blogging and engaging in dialogue within a global community reveals how powerful a platform social media can be. Small gatherings in living rooms, classrooms and coffee shops have grown into global conversations. Borders are being expanded and new frontiers are being built as the feminist revolution in religion continues to grow and evolve.
The concept of this blogging project – Feminism and Religion – was inspired by Mormon feminism, The Exponent, and the work of Caroline Kline. With a mission of “exploring the f-word in religion and the intersection between scholarship, activism, and community,” Xochitl Alvizo, Cynthia Garrity-Bond, Caroline Kline, and I collaborated to weave together a space where dialogue on such issues would be welcome. The project raised many interesting questions between the four of us. Initially, as the co-founders of FAR, we were faced with real dilemmas about feminist leadership, inclusion, and dialogue. From leadership responsibilities to our logo, to writing styles and qualifications, to technological positives and limitations, we found that feminist praxis proved far more challenging than our theorizing in graduate school.
All this said, with the encouragement and support of foresisters and the enthusiasm of the next generation of feminist scholars and activists, FAR has flourished. Its second anniversary is celebrated with a community that extends across 181 countries and every continent around the world. No doubt, FAR has allowed significant conversations to ensue that might not otherwise taken place. Likewise, the contributions of The Feminism in Religion Forum, The Exponent, Ordain Women, and other sites have been instrumental in expanding borders in the field. Because of this, barriers – at the very least – are being cracked and perhaps even broken and the new feminist revolution in religion has advanced.
There are certainly limitations to technology, however I think the many positives that have resulted must also be acknowledged. Where women’s participation in religious traditions has generally been suppressed because of patriarchy, the digital world has offered tools of liberation. Women are sharing their own stories, challenging tradition, and calling for change on a platform that offers them a voice that reaches around the globe.
While we must acknowledge limitations, we must also celebrate the great strides technology has enabled and continue to examine possibilities to further feminist dialogue in religion and overall. Engaging in a roundtable discussion at the national AAR/SBL Conference seems a great way to continue the conversation. If you are available, I hope you will join us.
The session will be held Sunday, November 24, 2013 from 2:00:00 PM to 4:00:00 PM in the Camden Room at the Sheraton Inn Harbor.
Please also consider attending Women and Religion at 40 #aarwr40 on Saturday, November 23, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM at the Hilton Baltimore Key-4. You can join the conversation through the media project here.
Articles of interest: AAR/SBL Tips for Feminists and Others by Mary E. Hunt