Iroquoian Women: Power Held and Shared by Carol P. Christ

According to Barbara Alice Mann, author of Iroquoian Women, women were at the center of a matrilineal Iroquoian society that could be called (though she does not call it that) an “egalitarian matriarchy.” As in other egalitarian matriarchies, including those of the Mosuo and the Minangkabau, women both hold power and share it with men. According to Peggy Reeves Sanday who studied many societies in the anthropological records, female power does not mean female domination.

In attempting to reconstruct the role of women in Iroquois society, Mann first had to engage in a painstaking deconstruction of the scholarly consensus that men ruled among the Iroquois. Believing that male dominance is universal, scholars ignored or explained away a great deal of evidence that Iroquoian women were and are at the center of Iroquoian society. Those who believe that academic scholarship is objective or relatively objective may have to revise their opinions after reading the masses of evidence of witting and unwitting distortion of Iroquois society that Mann uncovers. In order to reconstruct the role of women in Iroquoian society, Mann also had to deal with the fact that the American government destroyed much of Iroquoian oral tradition through policies of forced assimilation that removed children to government schools and forbade the speaking of native languages. Continue reading “Iroquoian Women: Power Held and Shared by Carol P. Christ”

Have You Seen These Muslim Women? by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente

Shia Women AshuraThe photo that accompanies this article, or others similar, have been posted, shared and commented through social networks as expression of the inherent misogyny of Islam, with descriptions such as “DAESH taking women to sell in the concubine’s market” or “Muslim women being carried to forced marriages”. I’ve also seen this picture being used by some feminists in academic conferences to illustrate their presentations on the “Status of Women in Islam.”

This photo has been misused. This image is taken from a religious event which is celebrated for Shiite Muslims to describe the terrible events that took place in Karbala 1,200 years ago. This act recalls the occasion when the family of the Prophet Muhammad, formed mostly by women, was taken prisoner, including children and forced to walk chained. History records and praises the courage of women who bear this painful pilgrimage instead of submit themselves to their captors.

 “Muslim Women” is a Hoax Continue reading “Have You Seen These Muslim Women? by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente”

A Short Lesson in Subjugated Knowledges

“We” can give many answers for how to colonize someone; but for many of us, it often takes special training, years of education, reconstructive projects, task forces, books upon book of reading, listening through the loud and ever present static of dominant culture, constant vigilance, one’s own liberation, the liberation of others, etc. to learn how to think otherwise.

Sara FrykenbergIn her Presidential Address at the national meeting of the American Academy of Religion in 2011, Dr. Kwok Pui-lan outlined a history of Religious Studies and its relationship to colonial projects, challenging the membership to apply post-colonial theory and analysis to our scholarship and teaching, think with and relate to our global colleagues, and start asking questions about what studying religion does for us, “rethink[ing], reimagin[ing] and recreat[ing] our discipline.”[1] Responding to this call, I have been slowly working to include postcolonial discourse in each of my classes, lower division, upper division, graduate and undergraduate.

Continue reading “A Short Lesson in Subjugated Knowledges”

Postcolonial Feminist Theology and… Deep Space Nine by Sara Frykenberg

Sara FrykenbergIt’s no secret here that I am a big fan of science-fiction and fantasy. Discussing the NASA Space Program, the shuttle Curiosityvideo gaming and cosplay is fun for me, and I assert that there is transformative and hopeful potential in these kinds of imaginative fictions. I also find that when done well, science fiction offers soci-political critique and encourages us to critically engage our own world without (no pun intended) alienating some part of its audience completely, as many political debates are apt to do. For example, I use a clip from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) in my ethics classes to discuss issues of motivation, intention and end result–as these concepts relate to war and violence. (The clip is from the episode In the Pale Moonlight, and you can see it here.) Episodes like this one can be used to refigure issues we struggle with today, projecting them into a future struggle from which we can draw comparisons to our own time.

Recently I have been reading Kwok Pui-lan’s book Postcolonial Imagination & Feminist Theology; at the same time, I have been re-watching some episodes of DS9. Powerfully addressing the ways in which Western theology helps to reinscribe colonial ideology and practice, Pui-lan argues for (and exemplifies) the creation of new, emancipatory, postcolonial feminist theological discourses. Reading these “texts” together, I was struck with how powerfully DS9 illustrates many of the postcolonial politics and tensions Kwok Pui-lan considers in her book. She describes a “contact zone” as “the space of colonial encounters where people of different geographical and historical backgrounds are brought into contact with each other, usually shaped by inequality and conflictual relations.”[i] DS9 explores this place of contact, imagining how the different parties involved are changed by the encounter. Continue reading “Postcolonial Feminist Theology and… Deep Space Nine by Sara Frykenberg”

The Hidden Curriculum in Evangelism: Patriarchy by Erin Lord Kunz

Erin kaylaspic12

A good evangelist, especially in college ministries, acts as if there is no agenda to his or her evangelism. It’s very, “Do you want a cup of coffee? How are your classes going?” with a lot of understanding head nodding. The goal is to stay cool and not seem threatening (even though eternal damnation is at stake). A good evangelist then finds the opportunity to advance on whatever personal problem the interlocutor divulges, and the solution from the evangelist remains constant: “You need to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.”

A ‘good evangelist’ does not believe this interaction is an agenda at all, as evidenced by new slogans popping up in evangelist circles. There is “Jesus without Religion,”“I am Second,”“H20,”“Freedom Churches,” etc. All of these evangelist slogans attempt to portray “real” Christianity as something other than doctrine, simply a relationship with God, a freeing experience, a nonthreatening choice.  Continue reading “The Hidden Curriculum in Evangelism: Patriarchy by Erin Lord Kunz”

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