Unhyphenated Jewish religious feminism

Galit Yanay-Ventura, Niza Yanay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

After 9/11 and with the re-awakening of a feminist criticism of religion, particularly of Muslim women who insist on wearing the veil as an act of piety, Mahmood (2005) offered a new way to conceive the pious female subject "in a context where submission to certain forms of (external) authority is a condition for achieving the subject's potentiality.". Following her, but in contrast to her Focaultian analysis of subjectivization, we use Deleuze and Guattari's work in A Thousand Plateaus to propose a reading which views thoughts and actions as events of double articulation; neither unidirectional nor bidirectional but a product of lines of flight and a rupture of the hegemonic power through movement toward the margins. In order to do so, this case study discusses how Orthodox Jewish women are creating unhyphenated religious feminism without falling into the binaries of religion and feminism that assume conflicting rationalities. We interviewed 44 women who openly declared themselves feminists and religiously orthodox, all of them members of the feminist religious organization Kolech ("your voice" in English).Feminist scholars who previously engaged with Deleuze and Guattari's theory wrestled with concepts of identity and difference. By contrast, we attempt to show how the concept of flights to the margins in daily decisions and actions articulates a religious feminist female subjectivity as multiplicity in spaces where the authority of both is redefined. The women we interviewed positioned themselves on the seams of religion and feminism by experimenting with temporary actions that changed according to the conditions and possibilities of their lives. The women of Kolech teach us that a feminist critique of religion, and more generally of liberal democracy, is possible from the margins where subjects can exercise their desires and ideas more freely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Volume55
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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