Seminar on Sexuality and Religion

“Gender and sexuality in religious public representations”; This is the title of the panel coorganized by Riseci and the University of Uppsala
and the Sigtuna Stieftelsten held in Sweden on May 21st 2014.

Oriol Poveda, PhD student from Uppsala University, started the seminar by stating that gender and sexuality are “so central in defining religion and its representations”.

Swedish Journalist Lena Roos evoked the idea “Religion and gender define religion both by who we are and what we do”, and already function already as a measure to define otherness. Ross, who is also a Medievalist, explained that in media we can have “good religions and bad religions” and gave the example of Catholicism, often in media logic portrayed as a “bad religion” because of scandals on pedophilia or because of its conservative stances on homosexuality or abortion, while Buddhism is cast as a “good religion”. But what happens when the Dalai Lama makes negative comments on sexual attitudes or behavior?”, she asked remarking one kind of stereotype in media and religion.

Pia Karlsson Minganti presented “The Sister’s Shelter Somaya”, a women’s shelter by and for Muslim women. She highlighted how these organisations are open to women from various backgrounds in terms of ethnicity and religion and explained that religion is often mentioned in terms of “vulnerability”.

Other themes debated topics where the polarization of religion and politics, the fact that missing the social potential of religion is a “dangerous perspective”  and the concept of religion as a way of “forgiveness and reconciliation”.

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