Religious Studies 305

RELN 305: Religion and Women

Prerequisite: Three hours of philosophy or religious studies

Credit Hours: (3)

This course examines the presentation of women in religious texts and history, feminist criticism of religious traditions, and the roles of women (past and present) in selected Western, Eastern, tribal, and neopagan religions.


Detailed Description of the content of the Course

This course studies the role of women in various religious traditions, feminist criticism of traditional religions, and contemporary developments in religious thought and practice affecting the status and image of women in selected Western, Eastern, shamanistic, and neopagan traditions. Often courses in religion and philosophy have emphasized the study of a few great thinkers. Feminists have been concerned that religious texts and historical scholarship have created narrow sterotypes of the nature and abilities of women. This course should enhance the awareness of contemporary developments affecting the attitudes toward and the status of women in the selected religious traditions. Texts may include the following:

  • Unspoken Worlds: Women's Religious Lives, by Falk and Gross
  • The Goddesses Mirror, by Kingsley
  • Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion, Christ and Plaskow


Detailed Description of the Conduct of Course

The course will follow the lecture/discussion format. Students will be expected to participate in classroom discussion and in extra-curricular lectures where practical.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Since women have historically comprised about 50% of the population and since their contributions to society and culture have frequently been overlooked, from this course students should:

1. Be able to perceive that women have often been denied opportunities for education and public leadership.
2. Expand the sense of religious history beyond the consideration of the theologically elite.
3. Evaluate critically the stereotypes of women which are often presented in religious texts.
4. Exhibit an awareness of contemporary developments affecting the attitudes toward and the status of women in selected religious traditions.


Assessment Measures

Assessment measures may include tests, exams, a term paper, and class participation.


Other Course Information

Opportunities for extra-curricular work vary from semester to semester. These opportunities will be assessed and announced each time the course is taught. This course may be used to fulfill a department elective for all Philosophy and Religious Studies majors.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

June 1991 None Charles D. Taylor, Chr.
May 1994 Course information clarified Kim J. Kipling, Chr.
May 1995 Catalog entry revised Kim J. Kipling, Chr.
April 17, 1998 Reviewed Kim Kipling
September 25, 2001 Reviewed Kim Kipling