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Mar 6, 2019
Please find the Call for Papers for our Autumn Conference 2019 here.
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Health, wellbeing and gender in religiously diverse Europe

Conveners: Brenda Mathijssen (RUG), Brenda Bartelink (RUG), Amisah Bakuri (UVA).

 

Abstract

What is meant by health or well-being?  What are the ways people conceptualize and address their well-being in contemporary diverse societies? This panel addresses these questions in relation to religion and gender. Religion and gender are contested themes around which concerns over diversity and (the production of difference) often play out in Western European societies. This panel explores the entanglement of the politics of diversity and difference in people’s everyday efforts towards their well-being.

 

People experience and perceive their physical and mental well-being through their bodies. Seldom permitting their bodies to exist in a natural state (Womack 2010), people employ strategies and tactics to maintain or improve their bodies. They may consult experts, explore informal caregiving services, perform healing practices, or utilize complementary and alternative therapies (CAM).

 

Perceptions and experiences of health and well-being, and strategies to be(come) healthy, change throughout people’s lives. They are influenced by social contexts, relations, power and inequalities, as individual and collective bodies are subject to social and political control (Scheper-Hughes & Lock 1987; Foucault 1963).

 

We seek to understand the various ways in which gender is enacted and reproduced in health practices like sports, food and dieting in particular settings. Furthermore, we will explore how gendered practices contribute to the dismantling and/or reinforcing of ideas and norms about gender and religion. How are perceptions, experiences and strategies of health and/or well-being gendered? How do they relate to religious and secular norms and practices? How do people navigate their gendered and religious (minority) positions in their everyday life to stay or become healthy? What does this reveal about lived diversity?

 

To explore the ways in which health experiences and strategies intersect with constructions and experiences of religion and gender, we especially invite proposals that engage empirically with the following themes:

 

  • Intersections of religion, gender and health
  • Health, wellbeing and the body in transitional moments in life (e.g. birth, puberty, pregnancy, illness, end-of-life, death)
  • Gender and religion in formal healthcare contexts
  • Religion and informal health practices (e.g., food and nutrition, body care, fitness, home healthcare)
  • Gender and secularity in healthcare contexts
  • Religious practices and religious belonging in the context of illness
  • Mindfulness and meditation, yoga, and alternative ecological spiritualities
  • Sexuality, health and religion
  • Intersection of religion, health and structural inequalities (e.g., sexism, racism, classism, ageism, ableism and homophobia)
  • Feminist postcolonial theory, (bio)politics, necropolitics