Sexing Sacred Bodies

Image credit: Shilo Shiv Suleman

Bodies shape and are shaped by religious practice—they enact ritual, are fashioned to reflect religious identity, inspire and create devotional objects, and define boundaries of sacredness. How does the gender of such bodies shape experiences of the sacred, and how do devotees perform gender within religious landscapes? What does it mean to “masculinize” or “feminize” a religious tradition? How is the study of gender complicated by colonialism and/or nationalism? The Department of Religion at the University of Florida invites both graduate and undergraduates investigating these intersections of religion, gender, and performance to attend our second annual graduate conference to be held on January 28 – 29, 2017.

The aim of this conference is to bring together scholars from diverse backgrounds and graduate students from a variety of disciplines to discuss new analytical frameworks, present research, and receive collegial feedback. Graduate student papers will be organized in a series of panels in order to facilitate discussion and to allow speakers to field questions from their peers. Additionally, there will be one panel dedicated to undergraduate papers. Of special interest are papers that develop new cross-disciplinary connections, methods, and theoretical approaches to the study of religion, gender, and performance. Such topics may include:

  •   femininity/masculinity in ritual performance
  •   gendered deities, saints, and sacred objects
  •   the application of queer theory to religious studies
  •   shifting gender dynamics in religious contexts, etc.

Interested scholars should submit a 200-300 word abstract by November 14 to Please include in your abstract submission a preferred email address and your university and department affiliation. Submissions will be judged by peer evaluation and, if selected, authors will be informed of their acceptance in December.