This course is discontinued

RESA4209 – Piety, Modernity and Gender

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Course content

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Gender and religion has become a much debated field in media and in the academy. It often implies questions of morality and rights in Christianity or Islam, new forms of ritual and authority among women and youth, or political arguments on the social meaning of gender. As a discipline, gender and religion offers new, critical and creative tools to rethink old notions of what it means to be a human being and live accordingly. In this rethinking it is heavily indebted to feminist critique of cultural constructions of gender. This seminar will explore the relation between subjectivity and worldy interdependence in feminist theory and feminist theology by studying four key scholars and their openly stated or implied norms of piety towards the really real. Texts by Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, Laurel C. Schneider, and Saba Mahmood will be read with critical perspectives from philosophy, hermeneutics and gender studies. A primary goal of class is to analyze the strategies deployed by these authors in their efforts both to understand and promote pious practices of love, grief, belief, and ritual devotion that enable a redoing of the self-other relationship in modernity. A second goal is to help participants in class develop methodological and theoretical skills in gender studies.

Learning outcome

  • Understand some of the distinctive concerns, methods and concepts/themes of feminist theory and theology as they critically affect the study of religion
  • Understand the relation between norms of practice and theory, or between ritual and reflection, in religious study and theology
  • Become more attentive readers and interpret tetxs responsibly and critically


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Bachelor degree with an emphasis in theology, Christian/religious studies, social sciences or arts, 80 units or equivalent.


Obligatory requirements:

Each student must read attentively all assigend materials, focusing not only on the authors argument but also on how the argument is constructed. Engagement in class discussions indispensable. Fluency in writing English not required. Students are required to attend the lectures.

Each student will be required to post two short papers of readings in fronter (between 1000-1500 words) in which they identify main agruments, comment on the approach espoused by author(s) and offer question or topics for discussion. Papers may be written in English or in a Scandinavian language. Each student will be required to twice respond to another student’s fronter presentation orally in class.


Term paper: Each student must write a paper (between 4000-6000 words) in which they use a feminist theoretical approach to engage one of these thematic topics: Love, Grief, Belief, Ritual devotion. Elements from the short papers can be used in final essay. Supervision and help from teacher will be given to set up a bibliography for the essay. Term paper can be written in English or in a Scandinavian language.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

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Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Spring 2010


Spring 2010

Teaching language