SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Religion and Gender

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2017/2018
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Full Year

The aim of the course is to develop familiarity with the issues and methodology of gender analysis with reference to the study of religions. The approach is both theoretical and comparative, with evidence drawn from particular traditions, geographical areas, and historical periods.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

To became familiar with the issues and methodology of gender analysis with reference to religious literature, practice and experience.

Students will be expected to bring their own expertise in these areas into classroom discussion and essay work. Possible topics include: 

  • the feminist challenge to the study of religions; 
  • religious/mystical experience;
  •  feminist theology;
  • problems of scripture; 
  • religious language and religious icons; 
  • concepts of self, inherent nature, and adulthood; 
  • masculinity and the ‘separate spheres’ ideology; 
  • concepts of the body and sexuality;
  • the Goddess as a source of empowerment; 
  • leadership and discipleship in new religions; 
  • fundamentalism and gender.

Method of assessment

Two essays (3,500 words each) (45% each),One oral exam (10%).

Suggested reading

  • B Bem, Sandra L (1993) The Lenses of Gender: Transforming the Debate on Sexual Inequality. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
  • Falk, Nancy and Rita Gross, eds. (1980) Unspoken Worlds: Women’s Religious Lives in Non-Western Cultures. San Francisco: Harper & Row.
  • Hawthorne, Sîan (2005) 'Gender & Religion: History of Study' in Jones, Lindsay et al., eds., Encyclopedia of Religions, second edition, vol. 5. Farrington Hills, MI: Thompson Gale, pp. 3310-3318.
  • King, Ursula, ed. (1995) Religion and Gender, Oxford: Blackwell.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules