Crossing Boundaries: The Transformation of Feminist Scholarship


As the field of Gender and Religion continues to become more complex, the 2016 Women’s Caucus will be focusing on the intersectionality of categories and areas of study that now contribute to the field. In addition to the sessions below, the 2016 Women’s Caucus will continue its work to preserve the archives of this historic organization, as well as support efforts to film and record leading figureheads of feminist theologies. Each of the following Women’s Caucus sessions will be convened by one of the Women’s Caucus co-chairs, either Elizabeth Ursic or Marcelle Williams, and at least one other member from the Women’s Caucus leadership team.



Blurring Boundaries: Women’s Caucus Gathering and Workshop on the Transformation of Feminist Scholarship

Friday 1:30- 3:30PM

Moderators: Elizabeth Ursic and Marcelle Williams 
Panelist: Kathryn Common, Boston University 

Come enjoy the camaraderie of the Women’s Caucus and network with other scholars. Learn about the Women’s Caucus and join in this workshop-style session where we will discuss how we blur boundaries in our feminist scholarship, research methods, and presentation modes. The workshop will include viewing portions of a film Forging Voice that interviews pioneering feminist theologians for classroom use co-sponsored by the Women’s Caucus. The filmmakers will be soliciting feedback on the film before final editing for its debut at the 2017 AAR annual conference in Boston. Come participate in this exciting project and join in the conversation as we reflect on how we transform feminist scholarship through blurring boundaries.


Pushing Boundaries: Publishing New Books on Gender and Religion  

Sunday - 3:00 PM-4:30 PM


Moderators: Elizabeth Ursic, Kathy McCallie, Natalie Terry
  • Carol P. Christ, Ariadne Institute for the Study of Myth and Ritual  Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology (Fortress Press, 2016)
  • Sharon Jacob, Drew University Reading Mary Alongside Indian Surrogate Mothers: Violent Love, Oppressive Liberation, and Infancy Narratives(Bible and Cultural Series, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
  • HyeRan Kim-Cragg, University of Saskatchewan Reading Hebrews from Feminist Perspectives(Liturgical Press, 2015)
  • Kathy McCallie, Phillips Theological Seminary The Women's Caucus Book Review Project

This session presents scholars who have published books in the discipline of Gender and Religion, in 2015 and 2016. This panel of AAR and SBL authors will provide an overview of their books as well as share their perspectives on current research being published in gender and religion. These scholars will also share their experiences regarding strategies and mechanics for getting gender and religion books published, and to offer advice for those seeking publication of their book manuscript.




Agitating Boundaries: Intersectionality and Political Action  
Saturday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Moderators: Elizabeth Ursic, Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar, Julia Berger
  • Julia Berger, University of Kent and Maha Marouan, Pennsylvania State University Faith-Based and Feminist NGOs: Forging a Common Agenda
  • Elaine Nogueira-Godsey, University of Johannesburg Postcolonial Imaginations of a Feminist Liberation Methodology
  • Evangeline Anderson Rajkumar, Lenoir-Rhyne University Busting and Blurring Boundaries: Coagulation of Bodies at the Site of Struggle

This year the AAR/ SBL Women’s Caucus will again be collaborating with the Feminist Liberation Theologian’s Network (FLTN). We are seeking Caucus panelists who offer fresh perspectives on the topic of intersectionality and political activism.  Panelists from this Women’s Caucus session will attend the pre-conference FLTN session on Friday afternoon, and the Caucus session on Saturday morning will continue the conversation. Panelists will include reflections on the FLTN session in their presentations, as well as present their own work. A representative from the FLTN session will be a responder at this Women’s Caucus session.

Emerging Scholars Crossing, Trans/gressing, and B(l)ending Gender: Who Do You Say I am?

Sunday 1:00- 2:30PM

Moderators: Marcelle Williams, Hannah Bacon, Meredith Minister
  • Elizabeth Freese, Drew University Erasure Danger: In Defense of Female Categorical (for the Sake of Bodily) Integrity in Feminist Theory and Christology
  • Brandy Daniels, Vanderbilt University Recognition through Relationality? Rethinking Futurity in Theologies of Gender Identity Formation
  • Kirsten Gerdes, Claremont Graduate University Fat and Sacred: A Constructive Theology Transgressing the Boundaries of Beauty and Belief

This session invites early career researchers and emerging scholars to showcase work in feminist theology and religion that contributes to the troubling of binaries, especially as these relate to gender and sexuality. The ‘naturalness’ of gender and sexuality has long since been questioned by feminists influenced by the account of ‘performativity’ forwarded by Judith Butler and by more social constructionist accounts of sexuality advanced within queer theory. This panel, however, is especially concerned to consider the theological and religious implications of gender and sexual identities which are often more borderline to feminist theology; transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, intersex and bisexual identities, for example. It invites panelists to consider connections between theology/religion and liminal, borderline, transgressive bodies and to explore how bodies that trouble traditional gender dichotomies and sexual orthodoxies might reshape and bend understandings of theology and religion.




Melting Boundaries: Sacred Stories from Non-Sacred Sources

Saturday 1:00-3:3-PM


Moderators: Marcelle Williams, Alicia Panganiban, Melinda Bielas
  • Marianne Delaporte, Notre Dame de Namur University Birthing and Breastfeeding: Sacred Stories in Parenting Handbooks
  • Anjeanette LeBoeuf, Claremont Graduate University Religion and Empowerment in Young Adult Fiction
  • Melisa Ortiz Berry, Azusa Pacific University Winks, Wagers, and Papers: Sacred Moments in Religious Research
  • Sara Frykenberg, Mount Saint Mary's College Playing (at) the Sacred: "Journey" and Video Gaming as Sacred Text
  • Ayat Agah, Claremont Graduate University "Someone Who is Not Like Anyone": Forough Farrokhzad as a Poet of the Sacred and Self

Sacred stories impact individuals as they feed spiritual growth, provide lessons of morality, create a mythological structure, and shift paradigms. This panel will explore alternative story sources as ways that enhance religious experience outside traditional major works. Alternative sacred stories supplement traditional sacred texts, such as the Bible, Koran, Torah, Vedas, Tripitaka, and Sutras. In keeping with the overall theme of crossing boundaries, this session seeks to create new boundaries in sacred work through sacred stories from non-sacred sources, which have impacted individuals and transformed their religious and spiritual worldviews. This session provides a platform for scholars to share their sacred story from non-sacred sources as it has personally transformed and informed their participation within religious expression. Presenters are invited to share their sacred story from non-sacred sources (any medium accepted). Please include a citation or detailed summary along with proposal abstract.


Women's Caucus Business Meeting
Monday 11:45-12:45AM
Moderators: Elizabeth Ursic and Marcelle Williams

Come join in the Women’s Caucus Business Meeting. We will be reviewing feedback from this year’s panels, discussing our ongoing projects, establishing the Women's Caucus leadership team for 2017 and making plans for next year's conference. All are welcome.


Brown Bag Lunch Workshop Supporting Regional Leadership​
Saturday 11:45AM-12:45PM
Moderators: Sarah E. Robinson-Bertoni,

What resources exist to support scholarship in your AAR region by traditionally

underrepresented and/or marginalized groups? Have you been considering adding your

contribution to your AAR region? As the Women’s Caucus liaison to the Board of Directors for

the AAR Western Region, Sarah Robinson-Bertoni will facilitate a brown bag lunch (bring your

own lunch) in the Women’s Caucus lounge to discuss enhancing existing resources, identifying

needs, and generating further strategies to ensure inclusion and full spectrum participation in

the scholarly profession of religious studies in your regional AAR meeting. Through this

workshop conversation, the national-level women’s caucus is building bridges to support

regional leadership and, where helpful, strategize new women’s caucuses in regions without