*new deadline April 15*

Call for contributions
In/visible bodies : Gender, religion and politics

October 23-24, 2020, Université Laval, Quebec City
Organized by Catherine Larouche (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University Laval)
and Florence Pasche Guignard (Assistant Professor, Faculté de théologie et de sciences religieuses, University Laval)
In Quebec, the wearing of religious symbols in public spaces has given and continues to give rise to numerous debates about the place of religion in society, and the “types” of religions authorized in public spaces. Although such debates are partly unique to the context of Quebec and the passing of a related bill, religion’s public visibility and the management of its diversity are matters of concern in several other areas of the world, especially those characterized by religious pluralism or by tensions between religious minorities and majorities.
Women’s bodies, and their visibility, often constitute a crucial site where the relationships between religion and politics are negotiated. However, other gendered identities are also concerned with the regulation of bodies and the space they are granted in religious and political life. In particular, the construction of masculinities, religious or secular, is also indicative of the power and authority relations that tie diverse social groups together.
The aim of this interdisciplinary workshop is to examine more specifically the relationships between gender, religion and politics, by focusing on the body in various contexts, both historical and contemporary. Whether individual, collective, symbolic, shown, hidden, or cultivated, bodies often reveal the intersections of the religious and the political. The effect and influence of religions on bodies raise several issues regarding their impact and management : examples include religious signs added to the body and worn in public and private spheres, body markings and modifications during rituals and sometimes irreversible, healing or well-being practices, or ways to experience sexuality and intimacy. This workshop is therefore interested in ways bodies are made visible or invisible, especially in their gendered dimensions, and in negotiations between political and religious (in a broad sense) discourses and practices. We will focus on reputedly secular contexts and on areas where one or several religious traditions have some level of formal influence.
This workshop will feature experts who will highlight a variety of case studies, without being limited to North American and European contexts, or to secular states, in order to foster a comparative perspective and a global understanding of the relationships between the body, religion, and politics. We also encourage perspectives from within various communities, to better grasp how some discourses and practices are lived and experienced.
We invite you to submit contribution proposals that can address (but are not limited to) the following topics, in various geopolitical and historical contexts:
- Regulation of religious/identity symbols in public spaces, especially in relation to gendered identities
- Body and health practices, regulation of spiritual practices of healing or wellness and alternative medicine systems, bioethics-related issues
- Body marking or altering practices (genital modifications, organ transplants, etc.)
- Issues related to sexuality and procreation (intimacy, homosexuality, contraception, abortion)

In order to submit a proposal, please send a title, a summary of your contribution (maximum 250 words) and a short biography (maximum 50 words) in English or French by March 25, 2020, at the latest to the following e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Subject to obtaining a grant, if no other personal funds are available, partial financial support could be granted for travel expenses within Quebec and for part of the travel expenses in Canada, as well as for accommodation expenses.