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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gender and sexuality in faiths - A select list

PS. This is more about the masculinity in faiths / religions; a continuously updated post, feel free to suggest more titles.

  • Feminist Discourse Analysis in Islamic Feminism, Global Journal of HUMAN SOCIAL SCIENCES Political Science Volume 13 Issue 1 Version 1.0 Year 2013. By Muhammad Salman, Dr. Arab Naz, Waseem Khan, Umar Daraz, Qaiser Khan & Muhammad Hussain, University of Malakand, Pakistan
  • The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities, By: Amanullah De Sondy (Bloomsbury, 2013) -- Introduction \ 1. Mawdudi \ 2. Feminist Interpretation \ 3. The Qur'an \ 4. Ghalib \ 5. Sufism \ 6. Conclusions \ Bibliography \ Index -- Amanullah De Sondy is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Miami, Florida, USA.
  • Gender-based Explosions: The Nexus between Muslim Masculinities, Jihadist Islamism and Terrorism, by Maleeha Aslam, (United Nations University Press; 2012) -- Maleeha Aslam is JSPS-UNU Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Peace and Security Programme at the United Nations University's Institute for Sustainability and Peace), Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar, and member of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge.
    Book Description:
    First colonized and now living under political oppression, experiencing marginalization, and feeling dejection and humiliation, many Muslim men in and outside Muslim countries have no opportunities to prove themselves as "honorable" or practice "masculinity" in culturally prescribed ways. Troubled and troublesome, many turn to militant jihadist networks to achieve self-actualization and heroism. Terrorist networks, acting as surrogates to national liberation and antiauthoritarian movements, further complicate these dynamics. Maleeha Aslam argues that gender is a fundamental battleground on which al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their types must be defeated. Issues of regressive radicalism, literalism, militancy, and terrorism can only be solved through people-centered interventions. Therefore, governments and civil society should promote an alternative culture of growth, self-expression, and actualization for Muslim men. To achieve sustainable counterterrorism results, Aslam recommends emphasizing masculine behaviour within the context of Muslim tradition and expanding the scope of required interventions beyond those confined to Islam. The book also includes empirical data from a pilot study conducted on Pakistani Muslim masculinities.
  • Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective, by Amina Wadud
  • Islamic Masculinities (Global Masculinities), by Lahoucine Ouzgane
    Book Description:
    This innovative book outlines the great complexity, variety and difference of male identities in Islamic societies. From the Taliban orphanages of Afghanistan to the cafés of Morocco, from the experience of couples at infertility clinics in Egypt to that of Iraqi conscripts, it shows how the masculine gender is constructed and negotiated in the Islamic Ummah. It goes far beyond the traditional notion that Islamic masculinities are inseparable from the control of women, and shows how the relationship between spirituality and masculinity is experienced quite differently from the prevailing Western norms.
  • God and Boobs: Balancing Faith and Sexuality, by Angie Schuller Wyatt -- Reviewer's comment: "As a pastor who believes that the church too often ruins sex for couples, I was eager to read her take on the issue. In my opinion, the name and the focus on the controversial really detracts from the book. Although I was disappointed how little of the book actually focuses on sexuality, (given the subtitle)I loved the overall message." (By Ray Morris)
  • God's Gift to Women: Discovering the Lost Greatness of Masculinity by Eric Ludy
  • Jacob's Shadow: Christian Perspectives on Masculinity, by Herbert Anderson
  • Evangelicalism and Masculinity: Faith and Gender in El Salvador, by Jose Leonardo Santos
  • Redeeming Men: Religion and Masculinities, by W. Merle Longwood
  • The Story of Sex in Scripture, by Barbara K. Mouse
  • The Spirituality of Mary Magdalene: Embracing the Sacred Union of the Feminine and Masculine as One, by James S. Galluzzo

    Buddhism (in Asian context):
  • A Bull of a Man: Images of Masculinity, Sex, and the Body in Indian Buddhism, by John Powers
  • Dakini's Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism, by Judith Simmer-Brown
  • Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between, by Brad Warner
    Book Description
    With his one-of-a kind blend of autobiography, pop culture, and plainspoken Buddhism, Brad Warner explores an A-to-Z of sexual topics — from masturbation to dating, gender identity to pornography. In addition to approaching sexuality from a Buddhist perspective, he looks at Buddhism — emptiness, compassion, karma — from a sexual vantage. Throughout, he stares down the tough questions: Can prostitution be a right livelihood? Can a good spiritual master also be really, really bad? And ultimately, what's love got to do with any of it? While no puritan when it comes to non-vanilla sexuality, Warner offers a conscious approach to sexual ethics and intimacy — real-world wisdom for our times.
    From a Review:
    "Since most Buddhists are laypeople (yes, the author intends that pun), Warner offers practice- and experience-based analysis and reflection over a wide range of sex-related topics and flavors, from vanilla (traditional hetero) to kink. A mind-opening interview with Zen-influenced porn star Nina Hartley is included, as is discussion of a difficult topic in Buddhism: student-teacher sexual involvement. Warner is as usual at his best in confessional-analytic mode; he's been romantically involved with a student and written a Buddhist column for a sex-positive Web site. A few chapters seem dry or even unnecessary: a chapter on Amma, for example, is unwarranted. Some women readers will object to the inescapability of the male viewpoint, though the author is aware of his biases. Kudos to Warner for tackling the subject." source: Publishers weekly @ Amazon.
    "Whenever anyone tells me that sex is the key to happiness, or the key to damnation, I'm handing them this book.” — Violet Blue, blogger and sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Hinduism (in the context of India's Culture)
  • Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity, David D. Gilmore --From Publishers Weekly @ Amazon: "Spanish Andalusians require that ``real men'' produce offspring, and New Guineans value warriors; however, in India and China, cooperation softens sexist gender roles. ``In a provocative, rewarding cross-cultural survey, Gilmore concludes that men are not so innately different from women: it takes culturally enforced norms of manhood to prod males into assertiveness".
  • Communicating Marginalized Masculinities: Identity Politics in TV, Film, and New Media (Routledge Studies in Rhetoric and Communication), by Ronald L. Jackson II
  • Make Me A Man!: Masculinity, Hinduism, and Nationalism in India (S U N Y Series in Religious Studies), by Sikata Banerjee

  • The Universal Jew: Masculinity, Modernity, and the Zionist Moment, by Mikhal Dekel
  • Theorizing Masculinities (SAGE Series on Men and Masculinity), by Harry Brod
  • Redeeming Men: Religion and Masculinities, by W. Merle Longwood
  • Men and Masculinities in Christianity and Judaism (Critical Reader), by Bjorn Krondorfer
  • Brother Keepers: New Perspectives on Jewish Masculinity, by Harry Brod
    Book Description
    Brother Keepers: New Perspectives on Jewish Masculinity is an international collection of new essays on Jewish men by academics and activists, rabbis and secularists, men and women, on personal experience and congregational life, gendered bodies and Jewish minds, poetry and prayer, literature and film, and more. Simultaneously particular and universal, all engagingly illuminate how masculinities and Judaisms engage each other in gendered Jewishness. Reveiw
    "The collection as a whole is too eclectic to give a good sense of what is going on in Jewish men's studies. But for academic collections on contemporary Jewish identity and for synagogue with an interest in men's concerns, it is a worthy addition." source: Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews @ amazon.

    Other Religious/Spiritual Movements (aka alternative spiritualities):
  • The Masculinity Conspiracy, by Joseph Gelfer
  • Dying to Be Men: Gender and Language in Early Christian Martyr Texts (Gender, Theory, and Religion), by L. Stephanie Cobb
  • Witchcraft and Masculinities in Early Modern Europe (Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic), by Alison Rowlands
  • The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, by Matthew Fox
  • The Intimate Connection: Male Sexuality, Masculine Spirituality, by James B. Nelson
  • Thursday, April 18, 2013

    Media and religion in the news -- Faithwise Review of the Week

    • Hindu community outraged by Selena Gomez's bindi during MTV ...
    • Selena Gomez wearing a bindi doesn't bother Toronto area Hindus Toronto Star
    • WATCH LIVE: President Obama Speaks At (Interfaith) Memorial Service For Boston Marathon Bombing Victims, April 18, 2013 Mediaite -- or live here: Boston interfaith service KCRA Sacramento
    • Boston Attack a Test Case for Interfaith Relationship Building Tikkun Daily
    • Fethullah Gulen, Rumi Forum Honorary President, named in 2013 TIME magazine's 100 list, NEW YORK, April 18, 2013 PRNewswire-USNewswire
    • Does the Media Need to Be Schooled in Religion? by ELISE HILTON on THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2013Acton Institute Blog
    • 5 Films That Have Put Christianity in a Really Good Light
    • Cambodians React to a Sex Tape Involving a Buddhist Monk
    • Well, Saw That Coming: Westboro Baptist Church Plans to Picket Funerals Of Marathon Bombing Victims
    • Women Pray At the Annual Mormon Conference For the First Time in 183 Years
    • Pope Francis Cracks Down On U.S. Nuns For Caring Too Much About Social Justice
    • Fox Yanks 'Family Guy' Boston Marathon Episode
    • Pioneer photographer Deen Dayal provides a portrait of India: Siddiqui Toronto Star
    • No Room for Non-Theists at Boston Interfaith Service, “We were blown off.” By Becky Garrison Religion Dispatches
    • 10 Essential points about the Boston Marathon bombers, Islam, and America
      Omid Safi, Religion News
    • All Terrorists are Muslims…Except the 94% that Aren’t

    Saturday, April 06, 2013

    The concept of four sides in religio-cultural spaces

    "Abraham's Tent was open to the four winds... and  how this reflects in other traditions... Read more @ Facebook: Abraham's Tent

    PS. The hypotheses one may consider, and an analysis is left for another post includes, a long list of propositions, such as: a) open from all four sides is symbolic of acceptance, inclusiveness and openness?; b) is it the best way to see it working seamlessly with the spirit (sacred), humans, time, energy and space? c) What is a four sided shape called: Cube (e.g., Kaba), Quadrilaterals, tetragon, square, NEWS (e.g., North, East, West and South, e.g., Medicine Wheel in the Native Spirituality), four (Persian/Hindi char = four)? d) what is the relationship of four sided symbols in Mandala (Buddhist), caturbimba (four sided views as in Jainism), or Chowmukha temple in RANAKPUR, Rajasthan (meaning the four sided/faced temple), or Charminar (four minaret facing four directions)?
    "Abraham's Tent was open to the four winds. It was a safe place of hospitality towards strangers. It was the first "Hostel" in the world.
    And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said: "Quickly make ready three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes."....Teaches Us that having guests is not only a Mitzvah but a source of blessings! (Under any circumstances). " [source: Parashat Vayetze]

    "Our greatest model for welcoming others into our community comes from our patriarch, Abraham. A well known Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 48:8) teaches us that Abraham kept his tent open to the four winds of the Earth – north, south, east and west – so that guests could enter his home from any direction. According to the Midrash, Abraham didn’t even ask passersby who they were or where they were going; he simply welcomed them into his tent, bathed their feet and offered them food and a place to rest." [source]

    "SIKHS built four doors to the Golden Temple at Amritsar, in north India, to welcome believers from all four corners of their earth. But in the five centuries since, few religions have followed that tolerant example. Hindus and Muslims fight fiercely over religious ruins in ancient Ayodhya. Christians have long wrangled among themselves, and with other faiths, over Jerusalem’s holy places." [source: Shared worship spaces: God’s new digs, The best multifaith prayer rooms are those where architects bow out, Mar 23rd 2013 The Economist]

     "Unlike erecting the structure on the higher level(a tradition in Hindu Temple architecture), Guru Arjan Sahib got it built on the lower level and unlike Hindu Temples having only one gate for the entrance and exit, Guru Sahib got it open from four sides. Thus he created a symbol of new faith, Sikhism. Guru Sahib made it accessible to every person without any distinction of Caste, creed, sex and religion."[source: Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple]

    "The physical space of a ritual is, in IE (Indo-European) religion, generally square or rectangular – the Romano-Celtic temples and Celtic Viereckschanzen, Roman templa and Greek temenos, Zoroastrian pawis, Vedic sacrificial grounds. A square or rectangle is oriented towards the four spatial directions; it maps the macrocosm, which is oriented in this way. It is also oriented towards the four personal directions (front/back, left/right) -- it maps the microcosm. The mesocosm of space ordered in this way thus maps in both directions, forming a link between them. This linking is expressed in language, as in the etymological connection between "right" and "south" -- compare Latin dexter, "right," with Sanskrit dakshina, "south," both coming from Proto-IE *deks-, "right." Microcosm and macrocosm are here defined by the same terms." [source: The Place of Ritual, Ceisiwr Serith]

    "Identifying the Aztec temples has been a tricky job at times. It's been easy to simply assume that large, monumental structures such as pyramids are all either palaces or temples, but that may not be the case. Still, we do have a good understanding of what happened in the religious areas and how the many of the buildings looked hundreds of years ago. Often a whole area of a city would be dedicated to religious activities. Some monuments would be made to specific gods. Some were built for specific celebrations. The buildings you probably associate with the Aztec religion are the great pyramids. These were four sided, stable structures that can withstand the earthquakes that are common in the area. These would have stairs up one side, and a flat top, often with a shrine on the top." [source: Aztec Temples]

    "Mount Kalaish has a mandala-like, or mandalic,  character, with its perfect four sides oriented toward the four winds.  Mandala's are prominent in both Buddhism and Hinduism, where the preferred term is yantra. The psychologist Carl Jung recognized the special nature of the mandala, which he regarded as symbolic of the unconscious self.  With it's four symmetrical sides, it represents the four information-processing functions of the psyche: sensation,  intuition, thinking and feeling.  The center of the mandala represents the self, the true, integrated core of an individual's psyche.  What is perceived by the self/soul is filtered by the functions, which represent how an individual views and evaluates the world around her.  The self or, to use religious motifs, the soul at the center holds all things together." [source: The Four Sided Mountain]

    "The four directions of the Medicine Wheel remind us of many things, such as the need for balance in the world, and the balance we must strive for everyday within ourselves. Here you will begin to get an idea of a few of those many teachings and connections that are in the circle. Everything comes in fours, so it’s easier to digest, easier to learn. The four direction teachings go clockwise, beginning in the east. But before we travel around the wheel, let’s look at the Centre." [source: Four Directions, Aboriginal, OJIBWE/ POWAWATOMI (ANISHINABE)]

    "Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the 5th ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty built Charminar in 1591 AD, Year after repair, rain damages Charminar minaret shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golkonda to what is now known as Hyderabad. He built this famous structure to commemorate the elimination of a plague epidemic from this city. He is said to have prayed for the end of a plague that was ravaging his city and vowed to build a masjid (Islamic mosque) at the very place where he was praying. In 1591 while laying the foundation of Charminar, Quli Qutb shah prayed: "Oh Allah, bestow unto this city peace and prosperity. Let millions of men of all castes, creeds and religions make it their abode, like fish in the water." The Mosque became popularly known as Charminar because of its four (minars = towers)..."
    "The Charminar is a square structure with each side 20 meters (approximately 66 feet) long, with four grand arches each facing a fundamental point that open into four streets. At each corner stands an exquisitely shaped minaret, 56 meters (approximately 184 feet) high with a double balcony. Each minaret is crowned by a bulbous dome with dainty petal like designs at the base. Unlike the Taj Mahal, Charminar's four fluted minarets are built into the main structure. There are 149 winding steps to reach the upper floor. The sturcture also known as profuseness of stucco decorations and arrangement of balustrades and balconies. Dawn." [source]

    On the same shelf:

  • Geertz, Clifford, Religion as a cultural system
  • Journey to the Four Directions - Pointers in Sacred and Shamanic Work by Ashley Costanzo
  • Monastic Interreligious Dialogue | Abraham's Hospitality to strangers ...
  • Sons and Daughters of Abraham:An Interfaith Journey of Hospitality
  • About the Tent of Abraham
  • Abraham's Tent Offers Hospitality -- This year Turkish Cultural Center Connecticut and Peace Islands Institute participated in the Abraham's Tent organized by the Columbus House.
  • Abraham's Tent בסיעתא דשמיא بسم الله ‎ | A Virtual Home for Abraham's Children | ‎Abraham's Tent בסיעתא דשמיא بسم الله ‎:
  • Center for Interfaith Engagement -- Eastern Mennonite University
  • Related Posts with Thumbnails