1st Edition

Transforming Bodies and Religions Powers and Agencies in Europe

    244 Pages
    by Routledge

    244 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book sheds an interdisciplinary light on ‘transforming bodies’: bodies that have been subjected to, contributed to, or have resisted social transformations within religious or secular contexts in contemporary Europe. It explores the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and religion that underpin embodied transformations. Using post-secularist, postcolonial and gender/queer perspectives, it aims to gain a better understanding of the orchestrations and effects of larger social transitions related to religion.

    This volume is the outcome of the intensive collaboration of the authors, who for years have been meeting regularly in Utrecht, the Netherlands, to discuss themes related to religion and ‘the challenge of difference’, with an added afterword by Prof. Pamela Klassen from the University of Toronto. The book is divided in three subsections that focus on particular types of embodiment: body politics in governmental and NGO organisations; the role of the body in literary and/or autobiographical narratives; and ethnographic case studies of bodies in daily life.

    Doing so, it provides an innovative exploration of contemporary religion and the body. It will, therefore, be of great interest to scholars of Religious Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Theology, and Philosophy.

    List of contributors

    Transforming Bodies and Religions: Introduction

    Part 1 – Governing Bodies; Introduction to Governing Bodies
    Jelle O. Wiering, An van Raemdonck, Anne-Marie Korte

    1 The Secular Body in the Dutch Field of Sexual Health
    Jelle O. Wiering
    2 SRHR, The Liberated Body and the Primacy of  Conscience: Probing Beyond The Secular/Religious Binary
    An van Raemdonck
    3 Blasphemous Popular Art, Queer Debate and the Religious/Secular Divide.
    Anne-Marie Korte

    Part 2 – Narrating Bodies; Introduction to Narrating Bodies
    Nella van den Brandt, Mariecke van den Berg, Megan Milota, Nawal Mustafa, Matthea Westerduin

    4 Negotiating Difference and Transformation: Women’s Stories of Conversion to Judaism and Islam
    Nella van den Brandt
    5 Embodying Transformation: Religious and Gender Transitions in Jewish Autobiography
    Mariecke van den Berg
    6 “The Richest Material for Moral Reflection”: Narrated Bodies and Narrative Ethics
    Megan Milota
    7 Exploring New Vocabularies in Conversations About Religion, Race, Politics, and Justice
    Nawal Mustafa, Matthea Westerduin

    Part 3 – Negotiating Bodies; Introduction to Negotiating Bodies-
    Maria Vliek, Rahil Roodsaz, Lieke Schrijvers

    8 (Re)Negotiating Embodiment When Moving Out of Islam: An Empirical Inquiry into ‘A Secular Body’
    Maria Vliek
    9 Vacillating In and Out of Whiteness: Non-Religiosity and Racial (Dis)identification among the Iranian-Dutch
    Rahil Roodsaz
    10 Women Wearing the Tallit: Tracing Gender, Belonging, and Conversion of New Jewish Women
    Lieke L. Schrijvers

    Part 4 - Afterword
    Corporate, Corporal, Collective: Reflections on Gender, Genres, and the Ongoing Troubling of the Categories of Religion and the Secular
    Pamela Klassen


    Mariecke van den Berg studied Theology (BA) and Gender Studies (RMA) at Utrecht University. She obtained her PhD in Public Administration in 2014 at the University of Twente. She currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at Utrecht University in the project Beyond ‘Religion versus Emancipation’: Gender and Sexuality in Women’s Conversion to Judaism, Christianity and Islam in Contemporary Western Europe, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for scientific Research (NWO). She is assistant managing editor at the open access journal Religion and Gender.

    Lieke L. Schrijvers is a PhD candidate for a joint doctorate at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University; and the Centre for Research on Culture and Gender at Ghent University. Her current research is a comparative ethnographic study of religion, gender and sexuality among female converts in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities in the Netherlands. With this project, she is part of the NWO-funded project Beyond ‘Religion versus Emancipation’ Gender and Sexuality in Women’s Conversion to Judaism, Christianity and Islam in Contemporary Western Europe.

    Jelle O. Wiering is a cultural anthropologist whose main interest lies in the field of religious studies. He is a lecturer in religious studies and sociology at the university of Groningen and Utrecht University. He recently finished his PhD at the University of Groningen. This project focused on the intersections of religion, secularity, and sexuality in the Netherlands. Previously, he researched Western Buddhists, and Dutch pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela.

    Anne-Marie Korte is Professor in Religious Studies at Utrecht University. She holds the chair of Religion and Gender, which aims to explore categories of gender, sexuality and diversity when investigating the significance and operations of religion(s) in cultural processes and current social developments. She is currently project leader of the Beyond ‘Religion versus Emancipation’: Gender and Sexuality in Women’s Conversion to Judaism, Christianity and Islam in Contemporary Western Europe, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for scientific Research (NWO), and was the founding director of the journal Religion and Gender. Korte’s current research is directed at the role of gender and sexuality in contemporary accusations of blasphemy, and on contemporary miracle stories.