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Models of Sexuality Conference (3-days - BU)

  • Boston University

    745 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA (map)

    42.350456 -71.107040

  • Sex on the Margins: Navigating Religious, Social, and Natural Scientific Models of Sex Differences

    A Boston University Conference and Call for Papers … (below) …

    February 24th-26th - Boston University – Event link HERE

    Hosted by the Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion and Boston University. Co-sponsored by the Graduate Division of Religion Studies, the School of Theology, and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Boston University

    Conference Organizers: Stephanie N. Arel, Megan DeFranza, Kate Stockly

    In Consultation with: Jennifer Wright Knust (Boston University), Carrie J. Preston (Director Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, Boston University), Wesley J. Wildman (Boston University)

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    "Sex on the Margins" Conference will bring together scholars to examine how our growing knowledge of sex, gender, and sexual diversity impacts binary models of sex that continue to hold sway in the majority of religious and natural scientific examinations of human nature.

    Sociologists and gender scholars regularly highlight the marginalization of women, sexual minorities, gender minorities (genderqueer and transgender persons), and sex minorities (intersex and people with differences of sex development) in order to correct past and present social and religious marginalization based on a binary sex model. Meanwhile, scholars in the physical and evolutionary sciences base their research on binary patterns of sex difference facilitated by reproductive complementarity. In order to work against the marginalization of minorities, sociologists tend to describe sex differences on spectra while natural scientists focus on statistical majorities within these spectra supporting the binary framework. Both approaches have their benefits but a more integrated model is needed.

    Religious scholars explore the question of what it means to be human and the religious significance of sex differences. In the West, cultural norms informed by Christianity have influenced scientists in reading the male/female binary as “given by God.” While many scientists are moving away from these Christian readings, conservative religious thought (at times unrecognized) continues to impact scientific traditions. Scholars attempting to bring theological resources from the various world religions into conversation with contemporary science can find themselves caught between ethical motivations to protect and care for marginalized minorities and epistemological concerns for interpreting both sociological and natural scientific studies of sex.

    Inquiry into the dynamic interactions among and between social, religious, and biological factors is critical for moving the conversation about sex and gender past the impasse brought about by the current divide in disciplinary approaches to sex differences.

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    4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Registration

    5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Opener: Panel Discussion (5 Participants on questions regarding project in general and brief viewing of Documentary on Intersex Persons of Faith) – Open to the public, who will be encouraged to attend


    8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Registration

    8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Parallel Sessions

    10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Parallel Sessions

    11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch

    1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Parallel Sessions

    3:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Parallel Session

    5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Plenary Address: Susannah Cornwall, Ph.D. (Exeter University), a global leader in the field of Sex Difference and Religion.


    9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Parallel Sessions

    10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Parallel Sessions

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    Call for Papers ... for suggested themes click HERE.

    Submission Deadlines and Notifications - Please submit an abstract of approximately[masked] words which includes the paper’s title, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, mailing address, and email address. Please note in your proposal the theme (if any) with which your paper fits. Abstracts will be received through September 15, 2016. Submissions will be emailed to Dr. Megan DeFranza. Notification of paper acceptance will be emailed by November 1, 2016. Finished papers should be no longer than twenty minutes when read aloud (roughly 3000 words). Papers with be gathered into themes moderated by a panel responder; thus, final papers must be received no later than January 1, 2017. 

    Contact Details: Proposals should be emailed to Dr. Megan DeFranza.

    Questions regarding the conference may be addressed to Dr. Stephanie Arel.

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