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Gender in New Religious Movements

Session Chair: N.N. | Friday, August 28, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Johanneke Kroesbergen-Kamps

Contested gender roles in testimonies of ex-Satanists

This paper looks at the dynamics of gender traditions. At the end of the 1990s, a novelty started in Zambian churches: testimonies by people confessing to have been Satanists. While the early, well-known and written testimonies are all produced by men, contemporary testimonies of Satanism are predominantly given by adolescent females. Children growing up in Zambia today are confronted with conflicting role models. Especially young women may find themselves at a crossroads between the submissiveness expected by traditional teachings, and personal autonomy, as reflected in Western movies, video-clips and soaps. How do testimonies of ex-Satanists address tensions surrounding gender-roles in contemporary Zambia? This paper argues that Satanists conduct themselves in a way that inverts traditional gender-roles. In the testimonies, this behaviour is rejected. The churches where the ex-Satanists give their testimonies provide them with constructive gender-roles that are neither traditional nor suffer from the deficiencies rejected in the testimonies.

Olena Panych

Women and Femininity among Evangelical Christians-Baptists in Late Soviet Time: Memoirs of Female Believers

The presentation analyses memoirs and narratives produced by female members of Evangelical Christian Baptist community of the former Soviet Union. The memoirs focus on the late Soviet time and reflect the standing of females within the religious group and network. I will explore women’s life stories; the impact of family, local church and Soviet surrounding on female believers and their self-consciousness; the forms of representation of religious women’s personality and femininity; symbols and markers of gender identities. My purpose is to discern specifically “woman’s” outlook at the religious community; the way females developed their relations within this community and local congregations, achieved authority and respectable positions; what they sacrificed for the community under repressions inflicted by the Soviet atheist regime.

Eriko Kawanishi

How to invent, establish and expand an alternative spirituality: A case study of the Glastonbury Goddess movement

How is an alternative spirituality “tradition“ invented, established, and expanded? This paper is focusing on a Goddess movement, a mixture of Neopaganism and feminism, and exploring the key to their success. More and more people in the West are attracted by the Divine Feminine in recent decades. Goddess worshippers usually worship the Goddess individually. However, there appear several Goddess centred organizations [cf. Salomonsen 2002]. One of them is the Glastonbury Goddess movement in England, which was founded by a woman in the 1990s. One of the unique aspects of this movement is the existence of the Goddess Temple, where anybody can worship the Goddess. Another attribute is that the founder disseminated her conception of the Goddess clearly and started a self-development course based upon this conception. I discuss how the temple and the course help to recruit new people and stabilize this movement.


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Open Sessions

Thematic Outline

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