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date: 21 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how major trends in the field of gender and feminist studies in religion from the 1980s to the present day have brought new questions to the study of religious conversion. Scholarship that attends to the experiences of women and the gendered dimensions of religious change reveals that conversion entails far more than a mere change in belief or worldview. Conversion frequently leads to radical transformations in the sexual division of labor, the assignment of roles within the family, kinship relationships, sexual relationships, the organization of domestic and public space, and norms that govern how men and women should speak, dress, and walk. Highlighting the work of psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists and historians of religion, the chapter argues that the inclusion of gender as a central analytic category opens up new areas of inquiry by illuminating the relationship between embodied practice and ideology in the lives of converts.

Keywords: gender, conversion, feminist, religious conversion, women, men, family, embodied religion, sexuality

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