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The Category of Gender in the Study of Religion

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Chapter Summary

This essay examines how gender has been delineated by feminists in a variety of fields, and studies how John Stratton Hawley and Ursula King incorporate the notion of gender in their titles and as a basis for their studies. The category of gender has become quite popular in the last two decades. The questions are why is it so popular and how useful is it? Gender as a category of analysis is one developed within a hegemonic discourse and therefore a dangerous category at best. By using gender rather than sex, sex remains an untheorized category that acts as the bedrock of gender. Feminism can be found in most if not all fields of study. Numerous female writers are discussed for their contributions to gender construction/deconstruction in the study of religion. Gender does not determine our bodies. We determine our bodies as gendered. Sex requires deconstruction and not reification.

Keywords: feminism; gender; John Stratton Hawley; study of religion; Ursula King



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