Sexual and Gendered Moralities (ECSO / IARG)

26/11/2018 - 27/11/2018

The international conference ‘Sexual and Gendered Moralities’ under the auspices of the International Association for the study of Religion and Gender (IARG) will take place in Ghent from 26-27 November 2018.

Throughout the world, new moralities with regards to sexual, gender and reproductive rights, identities and expressions; alternative kinship forms and family arrangements; and creative post-patriarchal and anti-racial practices, life-ways and communities have emerged. Yet, in the wake of neo-conservative resistance that often appeals to religious (or religiously-sanctioned) moralizing discourses on gender and sexuality, these have shown to be fragile. Meanwhile, the daily ‘art of living together’ in conditions of growing cultural and ethnic diversity, social inequality and existential precariousness is also challenged by frictions between different moral frames and sensibilities. And in the past year, hidden cesspools of sexual violence, harassment and everyday sexism and racism have been gushed out into public moral debate, further revealing secularism’s ‘false promise’ of sexual and gender liberty in so-called advanced modern-liberal democracies.

Paradoxical developments such as these show how the study of contemporary sexual and gendered ethical subjectivities requires the continuous challenging of secular-religious; North-South; West-Rest; tradition-modern; progressive-conservative binaries. While the secularization and individualisation of some societies away from institutional authorities appears to have opened up a ‘subjectivization’ of alternative ethical spaces for meaningful and ritual expression such as in new religious movements, spiritualities and more secularized well-being culture; it can equally be questioned how truly inclusive and potentially critical and subversive these ‘spiritualities of the self’ might be seeing the ascendance of a secular neo-liberal morality of self-responsibilization.

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