Women, Sexuality and Christian Fundamentalism

Key information

2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Russell Square: College Buildings

About this event

Dr Ann Rossiter; Dr Carmen Sepulveda, UCL; Dr Rahul Rao, SOAS; Dr Sukhwant Dhaliwal, Goldsmiths; Natalie Bennett

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.

CMRB (Centre for research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging) (University of East London) and the Centre for Gender Studies (SOAS) would like to invite you to a symposium on the question of


which will take place in Room G2 (ground floor) at SOAS

Saturday 9th March, 2-5pm

Confirmed Speakers

Dr Ann Rossiter:
'The role of the Catholic Church in the making of a London-Irish abortion underground trail'
Dr Carmen Sepulveda, UCL:
'Religion and feminism "face to face": institutions and the roll back of reproductive rights in Latin America’
Dr Rahul Rao, SOAS:
'The international relations of homophobia'
Dr Sukhwant Dhaliwal, Goldsmiths:
'The Christian Peoples Alliance: race, regeneration and reproductive
Natalie Bennett:
‘Women and Christian Fundamentalism in the UK’

Chair: Prof. Nadje Al-Ali , SOAS
Discussant: Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis , UEL

The event is free but places are limited so please RSVP to Jamie Hakim, CMRB administrator (j.hakim@uel.ac.uk).

Ann Rossiter is a long-standing Irish feminist activist who has lived in London for more than half a century.  For twenty years she was a member of the London Irish Women's Abortion Support Group, set up to support abortion seekers with information, money, accommodation, and not least, a sympathetic ear.  She published the history of the group and its experiences in Ireland's Hidden Diaspora in 2009.

Carmen Sepúlveda Zelaya is a PhD candidate at the Institute of the Americas, at UCL. She holds a BA in Political Science from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She earned her MPhil degree in Development Studies from the Institute for Development Studies, at the University of Sussex. She has also worked in the development sector within international NGOs, focusing on women’s rights and sexual and reproductive rights at both national and international level. Her current PhD research focuses on the legal and political battles behind the distribution of emergency contraception in Chile under the governments of Ricardo Lagos (2000-2005) and Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010). Her research interests include the role and interaction of institutions and actors in the policy process, gender and development, feminism, women’s movements, sexual and reproductive health and rights, religion, gender and health, abortion, public health, democratisation and judicialisation processes.

Rahul Rao is a Lecturer in Politics at the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London. He has a law degree from the National Law School of India University (Bangalore) and a doctorate in international relations from the University of Oxford. His research interests encompass International Relations, political theory and queer studies, with an area focus on South Asia and East Africa. He is the author of Third World Protest: Between Home and the World (Oxford University Press, 2010), as well as of numerous articles. He blogs occasionally at ‘The Disorder of Things’.

Sukhwant Dhaliwal grew up in Southall in the shadow of an emergent anti-racist and Black feminist movement but also during one of the earliest diasporic fundamentalist mobilisations - that of the Khalistani movement - which called for secession from the Indian state and the establishment of a Sikh theocracy. In her 20s she moved to east London and engaged with anti-racist politics, challenging racist mobilisations of the British National Party and the daily racial harassment of black residents. Overshadowed by male voices, she sought empowerment in women's organisations speaking out against domestic violence. Attending a WAF meeting in Conway Hall in the mid-1990s was an important marker for understanding how these various issues could fit together and she joined WAF in 1995. Two years later she went to India to learn more about the roots of diasporic fundamentalisms and enrolled for a course at Delhi School of Economics. Sukhwant has recently completed a PhD entitled 'Religion, Moral Hegemony and Local Cartographies of Power: Feminist Reflections on Local Politics' from the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Natalie Bennett is the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales. Natalie is a journalist by profession and between 2007 and 2012 she was the editor of The Guardian Weekly. She blogs regularly for The Guardian’s Comment is Free and on The Huffington Post. She has two bachelors degrees, one in Agricultural Science and one in Asian Studies and holds a Masters Degree in Mass Communication from the University of Leicester. Natalie has also edited Thailand Country Study: Best Practice Guide on Sustainable Action Against Child Labour and Women’s Health and Development, Country Profile Thailand.

Nadje Al-Ali is Professor of Gender Studies and Chair of the Centre for Gender Studies, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her main research interests revolve around gender theory; feminist activism; women and gender in the Middle East; transnational migration and diaspora mobilization; war, conflict and reconstruction. Nadje is a feminist, peace activist and academic who co-founded Act Together: Women’s Action for Iraq in the late 90s. During this period she also started to get involved with Women in Black UK. Her feminist activism started in Egypt during the early 1990s. Her involvement in a leftist secular women’s organization triggered her interest to study secularism in the context of the Egyptian women’s movement. She joined WAF while working on her PhD at SOAS. Nadje is currently President of the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS) and a member of the Feminist Review Collective.

Nira Yuval-Davis is the Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB) at the University of East London. She has been the President of the Research Committee 05 (on Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations) of the International Sociological Association, a founder member of Women Against Fundamentalism and the international research network of Women In Militarized Conflict Zones. Nira Yuval-Davis has written extensively on theoretical and empirical aspects of intersected nationalisms, racisms, fundamentalisms, citizenships, identities, belonging/s and gender relations in Britain & Europe, Israel and other Settler Societies. Among her written and edited books are: Racialized Boundaries, 1992; Gender and Nation, 1997; Warning Signs of Fundamentalisms, 2004; The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional Contestations, 2011.

Contact email: j.hakim@uel.ac.uk