IARG Conference 2021

Religious Transformation And Gender

Contestations In/And The Study Of Religion, Gender And Sexuality

On the 11th and 12th of March, IARG proudly presents their annual conference and general assembly in collaboration with the final conference of the NWO project ‘Beyond ‘Religion versus Emancipation’: Gender and Sexuality in Women’s Conversions to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in Contemporary Western Europe‘, led by professor dr. Anne-Marie Korte. The conference is organized by professor dr. Anne-Marie Korte, dr. Mariecke van den Berg, dr. Nella van den Brandt and Lieke Schrijvers MA at Utrecht University. It will take place the 11th and 12th of March 2021. The conference is going to be online. See below for information on the IARG activities during the conference. For the complete program and registration, please visit https://conversion.sites.uu.nl/religious-transformation-and-gender/

IARG Activities

11 March 2021 | Thursday | 15.45-17.15 (GMT + 1) – IARG Round Table
12 March 2021 | Friday | 11.45-12.45 (GMT +1) – IARG General Assembly

IARG Round Table Discussion “Right-wing Populism. Race, Religion and Gender”

Marlijn Meijer (IARG), Åbo Akademi University, Turku

Prof. Dr. Ulrike E. Auga (IARG), Humboldt University of Berlin, representative of the International Association for Institutions of Advanced Gender Studies (RINGS) at the European Parliament, Brussels on attacks on Gender Studies in Hungary and Europe

Guisela Marroquín, New York – Gender and Black Lives Matter movement, educator, activist

Luis Quiros, New York, Fordham University – Solidarity, Alliances and Resistance, Black Lives Matter movement, independent radio channel “Q’s Justice”, educator, activist

Panel abstract
We observe a radicalisation of international right-wing populist movements in the USA elections and the attack on the US capitol, the attack on the parliament in Germany, by COVID-19 denialisms and also, in the Netherlands and Germany, the right-wing movements and undergo a radicalization in advance of the elections in 2021. The link to religion is manifold. It reaches from pretending to defend Christian conservative ethical values e.g. in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Russia to the membership in the QAnon movement. The (epistemic) violence and exclusions installed via constructions of race with gender and religion is alarming and needs to be addressed.

The IARG roundtable discussion with activists and IARG members will highlight manifestations, causes and counter-strategies to right-wing populism in different parts of the world. It will focus on how the categories of race, religion and gender are centrally and reciprocally exploited in right-wing populism. The basis of populism is the romanticised idea of a homogenous “people” as an ideal that creates identity. Right-wing populists define their “people” along racist-chauvinist lines. The “others” are defined by exaggerated ethnic, religious, cultural, sexual and political criteria of exclusion. Religion serves as a resource for right-wing populism. The invocation of “Christianity” coupled with a defamation of “Islam” has become the main feature shared by most right-wing populist groups in Europe and beyond. They identify themselves pro forma with “Christianity” in order to elevate “Western” culture against a monolithically understood “Islam” and to contrast the “Christian” tradition of charity, tolerance and enlightenment with an “Islam” associated with fanaticism, a readiness to use violence and the oppression of “women” and homophobia.

The category of gender is at the centre of right-wing populist ideology. An anti-feminist movement has formed worldwide, mobilising against equality, women’s and gender studies and sexual diversity. Right-wing populist and extreme right-wing forces also use the anti-gender discourse for their nationalist propaganda. “Anti-genderism” functions as a kit between conservative Catholic groups, elitist ultra-conservative organisations and right-wing populist groups that present themselves as representing the “little people”, as do some left-liberals who polemicise against the “political correctness” of “gender”. A binary, heteronormative gender concept with a traditional division of labour between the male family breadwinner and the “woman” as mother and care worker are part of the basic right-wing populist attitude. Right-wing populism selectively and distortively appropriates traditions of Christianity to oppose abortion and LGBTIQ* rights. Emancipatory currents in Christianity and Islam find it difficult to be perceived in society as partners in gaining agency.

Right-wing populism designs itself along a (pseudo-)religious-nationalist, essentialised identity. A confrontation with right-wing populist parties and movements therefore cannot do without deconstructing the populist concept of people and nation, which are an invention. Race, gender and religion are discussed in the IARG-Roundtable as intersectional categories and are deconstructed and shown in their function as discursive categories of knowledge production.