This book puts forward a new epistemological framework for a theory of religion and gender’s role in the public sphere. It provides a sophisticated understanding of gender and its relation to religion as a primarily performative category of knowledge production, rooting that understanding in case studies from around the world. 

Gender and religion are examined alongside biopolitics and the influence of capitalism, neoliberalism and empire. The book analyses the interdependence of religion, gender and new nationalisms in the Palestinian territories, South Africa and the USA, scrutinising the biopolitical interferences of nation states and dominant political and religious institutions. It then moves on to uncover counter-discourses and spaces of activism and agency in contexts such as East Germany and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Using gender, queer and trans theory in tandem with postcolonial and post-secular perspectives, readers are shown a more nuanced understanding of critical contemporary questions related to religion, gender and sexuality. 

This is a bold new take on religion, gender and public life. As such, it will be of keen interest to scholars of Religious Studies and Gender Studies, as well as those working on religion’s interaction with Politics, Sociology and Social Activism.

chapter 1|31 pages


part I|69 pages

Theory of religion as theory of knowledge

chapter 3|31 pages

Gender and religion as categories of knowledge

Deconstruction, discourse analysis, intersectionality, deessentialisation, disidentification and the critique of ancient texts

chapter 4|19 pages

The political-performative power of language, appropriation, cultures of translation and travelling theory

The discourse of the “Bible in just language” against gender and social exclusions and anti-Judaism

part II|41 pages

Religion, secularity and gender after the post-secular turn

chapter 5|21 pages

Fundamentalisms and secularisms

Sovereign power, biopolitical citizenship and the possibilities of subaltern agency

chapter 6|18 pages

The new role of religion in the public sphere

Redefining secularity and secularisms in Europe and beyond

part III|58 pages

Religion, gender, neo-nationalisms and biopolitics

chapter 7|16 pages

Religious legitimation of national gender construction

Masculine hegemony in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission – Christianity versus Ubuntu

chapter 8|15 pages

Biopolitical interferences of nation states and dominant religious institutions

The epistemological challenge of queer parenthood and rainbow children

chapter 9|25 pages

Human rights, gender and religion

Controversies in political, social, cultural and sexuality discourses

part IV|87 pages

Religion, gender, activism and the multiplicity of agency

chapter 10|20 pages

Religion, gender and the Peaceful Revolution of 1989

On the conflictual relationships between feminisms and theologies in East and West Germany

chapter 11|20 pages

Imagining futures through the multitude

Religion, gender and agency in the Occupy Wall street movement

chapter 12|22 pages

Decolonising public space

A critique of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s concepts of resistance, religion and gender

chapter 13|23 pages

Connecting activism with postcolonial, post-secular and queer epistemology

Resistance and the radical social imaginary in Eastern European dissidence and new social movements

part V|49 pages

Religion, gender, visual culture and performativity

chapter 14|21 pages

Creating archives of agency photography after the post-secular turn

On the performativity of tattoos, textiles and Islam in Mali

chapter 15|26 pages