Women, Violence and Religion in South Africa, Johannesburg, 31 October 2014: Call for Papaers


The Department of Religious Studies of University of Johannesburg and the Circle of Women Theologians in Africa invite paper proposals for the one day conference on Women, Violence and Religion in South Africa, to be held on 31st October 2014. Closing date for paper proposals is 15 August 2014.

The theme
Although South Africa enjoys one of the most gender-equal constitutions and has among the highest number of women in government in the world, violence against women is widespread in the country. This conference seeks to examine violence against women by considering the role, perspective and contribution of various religious organisations. Our debates will be framed by three broad questions.

First, are the high levels of violence against women in South Africa influenced by religious ideologies and/or practices? Second, what is the role of women in societies where violence against women is commonplace? In particular, do women in leadership perpetuate cycles of violence against other women? What types of role models are female leaders to other women, especially to the victims of violence? Third, how do religious organisations and teachings perpetuate, condone or combat violence against women?

The conference will address these questions by means of an interdisciplinary approach. The discussion will accommodate theological, anthropological, psychological and sociological discourses. We invite paper from any of these fields, and encourage interdisciplinary papers.


  • Understanding women, violence and the sacred text – with particular reference to episodes dealing with the abuse of women.
  • Religious interpretations of violence against women – do religions ‘glorify’ violence against women, or turn a blind eye to it?
  • The various roles of leaders in perpetuating or fi ghting violence against women in religious communities or organisations.
  • Female leadership and violence – are female leaders in political, medical, educational, economic and spiritual spheres violent towards their subjects or employees?
  • Violence against women in sacred spaces.
  • Violence against women in the media.
  • Violence against marginalised women in South African society, including foreigners, the economically deprived and the politically ignored.
  • Theoretical perspectives on how we conceptualise and study the interface between violence against women and different religions.
  • Proposals dealing with non-Christian traditions

SELECTED PAPERS WILL BE PUBLISHED IN A SPECIAL EDITION of a peer reviewed and DoHET accredited journal

Dr, Maria Frahm-Arp
Department of Religion
University of Johannesburg

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