Gender and Postsecularity. Tensions and transformations in knowledge production and popular culture

Conference at the University of Vienna | online | 26-27 November 2021

Poster [Schwarze Schrift auf Rosa-gelbem Hintergrund]

Programm-Folder (Gestaltung: Karolina Malwina, Kunstbuero12)

For several decades now there has been a vivid feminist debate about religion and secularism, especially on related issues concerning agency and in_visibilities as well as the dominance of Christian or Western assumptions in secularism. The term postsecular turn was coined for this development within feminist debates.

The conference aims to depict the co-constructedness and historicity of religion and secularity as well as to shed light on what has been neglected and rendered in_visible in current discourses. It further develops options to discuss in_visibility of religion in everyday life and emphasise non-/markedness as determining factor for our relationship towards religions and secularism.

Jointly organized with Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, the Gender Research Office, the Research Platform Gender: Ambivalent In_visibilities & the Department of Education at the University of Vienna with the research network "Transforming values. Gender, secularities and religiosities across the globe".

 Programmfolder Download

 Please note that we changed the schedule on Saturday! See the updated schedule below.

26./27. November 2021 |

  • The conference is online via Zoom by the University of Vienna.
  • Registration is required for all presenters and attendees by November 22, 2021.
  • No conference fee.
  • Organizers: Doris Guth (Academie of Fine Arts Vienna) and Sabine Grenz (University of Vienna) with Alexandra Mittermüller, Fiona Zacherl, Katrin Lasthofer, Dorith Weber, Patricia Stuhr, and Boka En.


Friday, 26 November 2021

13:30 Welcome and introduction by organizers

14:00-15:30 Panel 1: Setting the frame: Postsecular/-ist feminist knowledge production

Lecture: Kim Knibbe (Groningen)

Commentary: Chia Longman (Ghent) | Kavita Maya (London)

Moderation: Sabine Grenz

At the start of the conference we would like to reflect on secularism as well as power relations and negotiations between secularity and religion in the Western world and academic research.

16:00-17:30 Panel 2: Postsecular perspectives: The Western imaginary of the hijab

Lecture: Sophia Arjana (Kentucky)

Commentary: Nadia Fadil (Leuven) | Bettina Mathes (Wien)

Moderation: Olga Sasunkevich

In the second panel, we would like to debate Western assumptions and the imaginary of the Islamic veil and women who wear it. Until this day, Christianity is the in_visible cultural norm, forming the basis for local understandings of secularity and thus affecting both academic and political arenas. However, it persists in a state of “cultural blindness” (bell hooks 1996). As other religions are being constructed as negative surfaces for one’s own religion and/or secularity, a hierarchy of religions and ‘cultures’ is being established.

18:00 Online-Performance "Witchkitchen"
Konstanze Hanitzsch und Perel

19:00 Dinner (for presenters in Vienna) cancelled!

Saturday, 27 November 2021

13:30 Welcome, organisational matters

14:00 -15:30 Panel 3 : Queer-feminist religious/spiritual iconographies
(updated schedule) 

Lecture: Elke Pahud de Mortanges (Fribourg)

Commentary: Susanne Lanwerd (Berlin) | Mariecke van den Berg (Amsterdam/Nijmegen)

Moderation: Doris Guth

This panel will focus on the contemporary art, pop culture and media, which have left behind neither their religious memory nor the iconographic legacy of Christian religion, even though monotheistic religions have lost some of their importance during the last decades. However, such religions continue to thrive in secular societies, disguised by visual culture, where they occupy the space of desire that religion once held.

16:00-17:45 Panel 4: Queer-feminist and decolonial theologies
(updated schedule)

Lecture: Sa’diyya Shaikh (Cape Town)

Commentary: Melissa Wilcox (UC Riverside) | Susannah Cornwall (Exeter)

Moderation: Maki Kimura

The third panel will focus on queer-feminist and decolonial theologies that have questioned patriarchal as well as fundamentalist (monotheistic) religions over the last decades.

18:15 Panel 5: Concluding panel and plenary discussion

With members of the postsecularity network and the organisers: Sabine Grenz, Doris Guth, Konstanze Hanitzsch, Maki Kimura, Olga Sasunkevich, Nella v.d. Brandt

19:00 End of Conference