The Religious Consultation on Population,
Reproductive Health & Ethics
Religious Consultation Report
Table of Contents
Page One: Project on "Right to Family Planning,
Abortion and Contraception in Ten World Religions" Launched
Article 2: Updates on the Religious Consultation's
Article 3: Consultation Welcomes Paul Knitter and
Elmira Nazombe as Board Members
Article 4: Reflections: On Our Two Bodies
Article 5: Editorial: The Superseding of Roe v.
Article 6: Movers and Shakers: Tracking the Activities
of Our Participating Scholars
"Right to Family Planning, Abortion and Contraception in Ten World Religions"
The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics
is proud to announce the launching of an exciting new international project
entitled "The Right to Family Planning, Contraception and Abortion in
Ten World Religions." The unique project is being funded through a generous
grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation of Los Altos, California.
The unhelpful aspects of world religions in matters of fertility and
gender roles are well known and are often believed to be the one and only
orthodoxy. However, there are neglected resources within the religious
traditions themselves which can justify, on religious grounds, the moral
right to family planning, including contraception and abortion. It is
these resources the Consultation project hopes to uncover and disseminate
so that more progressive religious views of family planning, contraception
and abortion can assert themselves in the ongoing international debates.
"The Right to Family Planning, Contraception and Abortion in Ten World
Religions" project will begin with the convening of two conferences of
outstanding scholars of ten of the world's religions. Current plans call
for these scholars to represent Judaism, Catholic and Protestant Christianity,
Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Chinese religions, African and North American
native religions and Baha'i. Each scholar will re-evaluate his or her
respective tradition and present in a scholarly paper the justification
for family planning practices.
The resulting scholarly papers will be published first in an academic
volume and then in a popular volume, which will be aimed at policymakers,
at population workers in the field, and at the general public. Translations
of chapters of the popular volume into several non-English languages will
follow. The Consultation plans to disseminate the findings as widely as
possible through the print and broadcast media and over the Internet.
The project's scholars will continue as a permanent task force to present
briefings, engage the media, and contribute to policy debates here in
the US, at the United Nations, and abroad.
International discussions of family planning and abortion have been
restricted by pressure from the Religious Right, which has been increasingly
vocal in all the world's religions. At the International Conference on
Population and Development at Cairo in 1994, the treatment of contraception
and abortion was skittish and defensive. We feel it is time for this defensiveness
to end. At Cairo, our Consultation delegation found a hunger for liberal
voices speaking from the world religions.
No group other than the Religious Consultation is currently speaking
out in a loud and well-researched way on the religiously-grounded right
to abortion and contraception. There is a strong need for this and an
audience, especially among the policymakers and women's organizations
and other non-governmental organizations who mistakenly feel that there
is unanimous opposition among the religions of their nations to any progressive
policies regarding population and repro- ductive ethics. The Consultation's
goal is to do for the ten world religions what Catholics for a Free Choice
has been doing for Catholics vis-a-vis family planning and abortion.
This new project on "The Right to Family Planning, Contraception and
Abortion" fits in well with the Religious Consultation's overall goal
of promoting internationally the voices of progressive, feminist religious
scholars on the issues of population, ecology, reproductive health and
the empowerment of women. We are proud to initiate this effort.
The following pages include updates on the Consultation's other ongoing
projects, among them: "New Theology on Population, Consumption and Ecology,"
"Women's Religious Wisdom on Sexuality," and "Men's Obligations to Women:
Resources in Reproductive Ethics from the World's Religions." Further
details on each of these projects can be obtained from the Consultation's
web site, which was recently updated. If you have questions or comments
on this newsletter or the Consultation's work, please reach us via the
numbers and addresses listed below.
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Updates on the Religious Consultation's International
"Men's Obligations to Women"
None of the religions of the world is anywhere close to perfect. All
of them were and are heavily patriarchal. As Buddhist Rita Gross asks
indictingly: "Can a religion founded by a man who abandoned his wife and
newborn infant" to go seek enlightenment "possibly serve women's interests
and needs?" Similar laments could be registered for all the world's religions.
In the Consultation's project on "Men's Obligations to Women: Resources
in Reproductive Ethics from the World's Religions," male scholars of these
religions are reaching into their traditions to mine and reappropriate
the ingredients for rich and practical theories of justice toward women.
The group met in June of 1997 and the final meeting is scheduled for this
July in Philadelphia. Project leaders are John C. Raines of Temple University
and Daniel Maguire of Marquette University.
At the July meeting, feminist scholars will critique the work done by
the male scholars. The resulting papers will be published in scholarly
and popular volumes, and several chapters will be translated into non-English
languages for distribution outside North America. Ideas generated by the
project will be disseminated through feature articles and Op-Ed pieces
in the media. Project scholars will also present their findings to many
policy- makers and organizations working in the areas of population, reproductive
health and women's rights.
Participating scholars include: Rabbi Ze'ev Falk of Hebrew University
in Jerusalem; Farid Esack, the Commissioner for Gender Equality in South
Africa; Asghar Ali Engineer of the Institute for Islamic Studies in Bombay;
Anantanand Rambachan, a Hindu scholar at St. Olaf College in Minnesota;
Mutombo Nkulu-N'Sengha, a scholar of African religions at Temple University;
Christopher Jocks of the Native American Studies program at Dartmouth;
Tavivat Puntarigvivat, a Thai Buddhist scholar at Mahidol University in
Bangkok; Marvin Ellison, a Protestant theologian at Bangor Theological
Seminary; Gerard Sloyan, Professor Emeritus at Catholic University; and
Liu Xiaogan, a Taoist scholar at the National University of Singapore.
The feminist critics include: Riffat Hassan, a leading
feminist Muslim scholar based at the University of Louisville; Laurie
Zoloth-Dorfman of the Program in Jewish Studies at San Francisco State
University; Eva Neumaier-Dargyay, a Buddhist expert in the Department
of Comparative Studies in Literature, Film and Religion at the University
of Alberta; and Christine Gudorf, noted Christian scholar at Florida International
"Women's Religious Wisdom on
An interreligious group of a dozen international women scholars and
activists gathered to explore "Women's Religious Wisdom on Sexuality"
in Philadelphia last October. Their ultimate goal is to give voice to
some of the positive implications of this recovery of the moral significance
of women's experience for a variety of issues in sexual ethics and to
bring that data into debates about public policy matters.
Project co-directors are: Radhika Balakrishnan of Manhattan Marymount
College; Mary E. Hunt of the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and
Ritual; and Patricia Beattie Jung of Loyola University.
Prior to the meeting, each participant collected selected bibliography
and drafted a brief essay on the issues, problems and perspectives she
thought necessary to address. Following introductory activities and a
brief overview of the history of the project, participants began to work
in small groups and plenary sessions. They identified priorities for the
project and developed a process for working together through various (potentially)
divisive issues. The aim was not to form a "common mind," but to identify
overlapping concerns, both topical and methodological, without reducing
each quite distinct perspective to one representative of a least common
Among the scholars involved in the "Good Sex" project are:
Pinar Ilkkaracan of Women for Women's Human Rights, based in Istanbul;
Grace M. Jantzen of the Centre for Religion, Culture and Gender at the
University of Manchester; Suwanna Satha-Anand of Chulalongkorn University
in Bangkok; Judith Plaskow of Manhattan College; Dorothy Ko of the Department
of History at Rutgers; Rebecca T. Alpert of Temple University; Wanda Deifelt
of Escola Superior de Teologia in Brazil; Madhu Kishwar, General Editor
of Manushi in New Delhi; Giti Thadani, also of India; and Ayesha
Imam of Lagos, Nigeria, Coordinator of the African and Middle East sections
of the International Solidarity Network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws.
This same group will gather in July 1998 in Amsterdam to review each others'
essays and to strategize about how to promote within religious communities,
NGOs and other social service agencies around the globe serious consideration
of women's wisdom about sexuality.
"Muslim Women's Empowerment and
"Muslim Women's Empowerment and Self-Actualization: From ICPD Into the
21st Century" was a 14-month project funded by the United Nations
Population Fund and led by the distinguished Muslim scholar and Religious
Consultation Board member, Dr. Riffat Hassan. Objectives included developing
a methodology for interpreting Islam from a non-patriarchal and justice-centered
Qur'anic perspective and supporting the empowerment of Muslim women in
all aspects of their lives.
The research component of the project entailed theoretical and library-related
research into Qur'anic teachings on women and the history and culture
of women in Muslim societies in Pakistan and India. Dr. Hassan also conducted
extensive field research, including surveys of Muslim women in selected
areas of Pakistan and India. Women were asked about health, education,
employment, marriage, family life, decision-making, family planning, religious
practices, etc. The purpose was to determine how Muslim women from a variety
of backgrounds understand the religious and cultural attitudes that impact
their lives and how they define happiness and self-actualization in the
context of these traditions.
The results of this research have been translated into
curricular and training materials for educational institutions and community-based
organizations. Dr. Hassan designed two interdisciplinary courses, "Muslim
Ethics" and "The Muslim Culture of South Asia," which are being introduced
at universities in Pakistan and India. Country-specific reports on the
current position and aspirations of Muslim women in South Asia are being
completed and will be available to government agencies, educational institutions,
foundations and other NGO's.
"New Theology on Population,
Consumption and Ecology"
The Religious Consultation emphasizes that population, consumption,
and ecology are inseparable concerns and that they can be fruitfully addressed
by the world's religions working together. The style of our first project,
"New Theology on Population, Consumption and Ecology," was to bring together
leading scholars of the world's religions for mutual inquiry into the
The diverse group of scholars included: Nawal Ammar (Kent State) - Islam;
Rita Gross (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) and David Loy (Bunkyo
University, Japan) - Buddhism; Catherine Keller (Drew University) and
Alberto Munera (Fundacion Social, Colombia and, more recently, Georgetown
University) - Christianity; Vasudha Narayanan (University of Florida-Gainesville)
- Hinduism; Chun-fang Yu (Rutgers) - Chinese Religions; Laurie Zoloth-Dorfman
(San Francisco State University) - Judaism; and Inez Tala-mantez (University
of California-Santa Barbara) - North American Aboriginal religions. Project
leaders: Harold G. Coward of the University of Victoria in British Columbia
and Daniel Maguire of Marquette University.
These scholars gathered at two meetings, the first in Victoria in 1995,
the second in Maine in 1996. These gatherings created a common mind, and
the yield is a unified volume of distinctive studies rather than a collection
of disparate contributions. The results are in press at SUNY Press and
will emerge as Vision of a New Earth: Population, Consumption, and
Ecology later this year or in early 1999. After the scholarly volume,
a single-authored volume tentatively and hugely entitled What Happens
When the World's Religions Sit Down to Talk about the Plight of the World
will be published by Fortress Press. This popular volume will be targeted
to policy-makers, journalists, NGO's and grass roots activists.
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Consultation Welcomes Paul Knitter
and Elmira Nazombe as Board Members
The Religious Consultation welcomes Paul Knitter and Elmira Nazombe
to its Board of Directors.
Mr. Knitter is a Professor of Theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati.
Since 1987, he has been General Editor of Orbis Books' series on interreligious
dialogue, "Faith Meets Faith." His own books include One Earth, Many
Religions: Multifaith Dialogue and Global Responsibility, Orbis (1995),
and Pluralism and Oppression: Theology in World Perspective, University
Press of America (1990), which he edited.
Consultation President Daniel Maguire lauded Knitter for his "extensive
knowledge about world religions, which he doesn't just study from afar.
Paul travels all over the world and works with scholars from all the world's
Ms. Nazombe is Program Director for the Lead- ership Development and
Global Education division of the Center for Women's Global Leadership
at Rutgers. She worked for the Church World Service and Witness Unit of
the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S. She has been
a policy analyst on issues of poverty and international development, and
lived in East Africa for ten years, assisting with urban and regional
"I know her very well," Consultation board member Radhika Balakrishnan
said of Ms. Nazombe. "She will bring to the board an international vision
that is well-grounded in local reality."
Mr. Knitter and Ms. Nazombe replace retiring (and founding) board members
Harold G. Coward, Mary E. Hunt and Eva Neumaier-Dargyay.
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Reflections: On Our Two Bodies
By John C. Raines
Chair, Department of Religion
We all have two bodies. Almost always we think we have only one. But
that is not true. What is true is that we all have two bodies.
The first is our inside-the-skin body. It is the only body most of us
think we have. It is the body that individualizes and particularizes.
Our inside-the-skin body makes me "over here" and you "over there." It
makes us female or male, white or black, young or old, poor or rich. It
announces and defines our differences. Our inside-the-skin body tells
us that we are here and now, and at best only for a little while. It is
the body largely determined for us by the arbitrariness of our birth.
It is the body we woke up with. It makes us members of this religion and
not that, of this nation and not that, of this gender, race and class
and not the other. It makes us end-of-the-20th century humans (as Christians
count) and not 10th century or 22nd century humans. Our inside-the-skin
body specifies, particular- izes, separates and distinguishes us. For
most of us, it is the only body we think we have.
But that is not true. Just as intimate to us, just as immediate and
indispensable to our personal lives, just as constantly and wholly constituting
our material reality and being is our outside-the-skin body. It is the
Great Body upon whom we are everywhere and always a dependent part. Think!
We are, all of us, right now, breathing. Or we drink liquids or soon we
die. Why? Because we are part of the Oxygen system, and part of Nature's
watery embrace. By body weight we are 70 percent water, which reflects
our own human beginning, and the beginning of all living things here on
planet earth -- in the oceans! We cleanse and wash our oxygen and water
and so replenish our inside-the-skin bodies with the plentitude of our
other, outside-the-skin body.
There is no life alone.
There is only common life, shared life, life of intimate interdependence
on the other and greater body, which is not so much ours as the body we
The Great Body of Livingness here on planet earth connects us each to
the other, joins us into a body whose livingness is comprehensive and
not exclusive. Our outside-the-skin body displays the larger truth about
our lives. We are always and necessarily a part of the community of livingness,
here on planet earth. Whatever we do to this our shared and extended body
we also do to this our private and individual body -- the only body we
mistakenly think we have.
This Great Body, our outside-the-skin body connects us to each other
beyond time, beyond gender, race and class, beyond all that specifies
and separates our lives as this, and therefore not that. It is our animal
body that we share with all other animals (human and otherwise). And it
is Spirit and Spirit-filled -- our endowment from the Cosmic Beginning.
We are Star Dust -- all trees, all grass, all salamanders and whales and
ants -- and yes, we humans too. All of us together inside this Great Cosmic
Body -- we belong to each other and to all that is, and to all that was,
and all that will be. All Life is Common Life, Shared Live, Life Together
in the Great Belonging.
But inside-our-skin body so often we look "from inside here" towards
a seeming "out there" and feel so alone, so fragile and unprotected, not
embraced and nurtured (as we constantly are), but cast out, abandoned...finally
in death. Yet in our dying only one of our two bodies die. Our other body,
that Great Body of Nature upon which at every moment we have been so totally
and intimately a part, she continues. Only one of our two bodies dies
in death. It is not the end of "our story." The Story of Life -- our story
-- goes on -- here on planet earth, and there in the stars, of which our
star and planet are a part.
This we humans can know and say. Blessed, as we are, to become one of
Nature's autobiographers (writing the story from inside, not outside).
We are one space (and we believe and hope there are many others) where
Cosmic Process births a creature who begins to give voice (here on planet
earth how fragile and still so ignorant!) -- a voice that writes the story
of this our Larger Story, which is our birth, our death, our common belonging--and
our common challenge to honor and to preserve.
For those of us who are Christians, that is what we celebrate and pledge
our loyalty to in our every Holy Communion. Other world religions do the
same thing, but in different ways. Body distinguishes and separates, but
also joins and unites.
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By Daniel C. Maguire
The Superseding of Roe v. Wade
President, Religious Consultation
This year's celebration of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion
is a glorious day when you look back, but a sad day when we move to the
present tense. Twenty-five years ago a courageous U.S. Supreme Court decided
to trust women with their reproductive choices. Their recognition that
abortion may be a moral choice coheres with the great religious traditions
of the world. Our new project at the Religious Consultation, "The Right
to Family Planning, Contraception, and Abortion in Ten World Religions,"
will show that those rights are found in the world's major religions,
though often hidden from public view by chicanery or timidity. A great
court sided with these religious traditions and opted to take government
off the back of women's reproductive choices. The result was an almost
immediate drop of 40% in maternal deaths, as abortions became safe and
Today the scene is bleak. Thanks mainly to right wing terrorist tactics,
84% of all U.S. counties now have no abortion provider, and states are
imposing major restrictions on women who wish to use their constitutional
right to choice. Only 12% of medical schools teach abortion techniques.
Even where it is taught, students can opt out on grounds of conscience.
If a Jehovah's Witness student of hematology who did not believe in blood
transfusions pleaded conscience, s/he would be told to find another profession.
OB/GYN residents can opt for ignorance of a basic medical procedure in
their specialty of choice. Once again, women's interests are discardable.
Catholic hospitals are merging with other hospitals and blocking the abortion
option as the price of doing business. This imposes a minority anti-choice
Catholic view (most Catholic people and experts are pro-choice) on whole
pluralistic communities. Over 60% of the doctors who provide abortions
-- people who remember the back-alley days -- are over 65. The shadow
of the back alleys is upon us again, and the country is more concerned
with the president's sex life than with this denial to women of a constitutional
What has fueled the defeat of Roe?
1) Fanatical right wing "pro-life" terrorists who shoot, bomb,
and harass to subvert the law. A young doctor learning abortion
procedures had to appear on the cover of The New York Times Sunday
Magazine wearing a mask out of fear for his life.
2) The lack of candor and courage on the part of religious and
other liberals. This malignant timidity promotes the big lie
that Christians, Jews, and Muslims, the principal religious groups in
the U.S., are opposed to abortion as a possible moral choice. Pro-choice
positions have been taken by representative Christian groups, such as
the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, the United Church of Christ,
the Catholic Church, etc. as well as Jewish groups and Muslim theologians.
The pro-choice position has solid grounds in all these traditions, but
clergy do not teach it, religious presses do not write on it, and so right
wing distortions prevail. On Catholic campuses, as Professor Mary Buckley
of St. John's University once said, there is "a gentle fascism" on the
subject -- though no fascism is gentle. Most faculty members admit the
possibility of a moral choice of abortion but they are cowed into silence,
knowing that it is not the path to tenure or promotion. Sometimes administrators
are blamed for that, but I submit that academic cowardice on the part
of faculty is the principal culprit. Marquette University has supported
my academic freedom, though most of its administrators are not pro-choice.
Suppression imagined is as debilitating as suppression imposed.
3) Hatred and distrust of women. There is no comparable
restriction of a medical procedure for men, nor would men tolerate it.
This is a gender-based restriction imposed largely by men. The galling
fact is that men are the killers of the species. The Amazons are creatures
of myth. The choices of women regarding life and its crises are more likely
to be sensitive. As male legislators, judges, and religious leaders pour
oil on the slippery slope that is pushing the return to back alley abortions,
their misogynist colors are showing.
I wrote an Op-Ed for The New York Times some years ago on the
history of pro-choice Catholicism. The editors told me that none of them
had heard of this before. Briefly, what I wrote of was this: the Bible
is silent on abortion, except for Exodus 21-22 where a man who causes
an accidental abortion is fined, not punished under their "life for a
life" rubric. Scripture scholars note that the fetus was not considered
a person. The early Christian Tertullian called a late-term emergency
abortion -- what the anti-choicers call a partial birth abortion -- a
"necessary cruelty," showing he approved of the procedure.
The first real theology of abortion was done by Saint Antoninus, the
revered fifteenth century Dominican bishop of Florence who defended early
abortions to save a woman's life, a broad class with many members in the
medical context of his day. Today's Catholic hierarchy might well begin
their deliberations with a prayer to St. Antoninus, this pro-choice bishop,
canonized a saint in 1523. In the sixteenth century, the Catholic teaching
was that a woman, vis-a-vis the fetus, has a jus potius, a prior right
in health crises indicating abortion. In this very 20th century, Jesuit
theologian Augustin Lehmkuhl justified abortion arguing that in certain
medical crises the fetus has in effect surrendered its right to life in
order to save the woman's life. In 1975, Bishop Josef Stimpfle of Augsburg
defended abortion "to save the life of the mother." The Belgian Bishops
made a similar statement in 1973. In other words, the Catholic tradition,
while concerned about abortion, recognized that there are exceptions to
the moral ban on abortion. The tradition was open to the possibility of
exceptions. To pretend that this tradition views all abortions as immoral
is disingenuous and dishonest.
The most consistent view in all of Catholic and Christian history relating
to abortion is called "delayed ensoulment." That means that in this tradition,
from the early centuries all the way into the 20th century, the fetus
in the first three months -- when 90% of abortions in the U.S. are done
-- is not considered a baby. It could not be baptized if aborted or miscarried;
it was not a candidate for Christian burial. St. Augustine, believing
in the resurrection of all the dead at the end of the world, said that
such fetuses would not rise. They were not persons. (He also added that
not all the sperm of history would rise in the final resurrection -- for
which we can all be grateful.)
The Christian view of abortion is not a simplistic negative floating
through twenty centuries. It is a nuanced struggle with a difficult issue.
Perhaps conservatives and liberals could unite on one approach: the
best way to prevent abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The
key question is not why there are so many abortions. The key question
is why so many women who do not want to be pregnant are pregnant. What
are the precipitating causes of unwanted pregnancies? Certainly sexism
is one. Sexism is the belief that women are inferior. How do you make
love to an inferior? Carelessly. That makes for unwanted pregnancies.
Could not conservatives and liberals together address sexism honestly?
Poverty causes unwanted pregnancies. "The poverty of the poor is their
ruin," says the Book of Proverbs. Part of that ruin is chaos in personal
and social life, not a favorable context for good reproductive choices.
Serious concern for the poor is the heart of good citizenship. It is also
a strategy to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
In a perfect world, there would be no unwanted pregnancies and almost
no abortion. This world is not perfect. While we struggle with its imperfections,
let us trust women and their choices. Their track record in preserving
our species through generous service to life is outstanding. Men, the
warriors of the species, the corporate titans who are wrecking the earth,
are in no position to lecture women on respect for life.
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MOVERS AND SHAKERS:
Tracking the Activities of Our Participating Scholars
Liu Xiaogan of the Department
of Chinese Studies at the National University of Singapore has authored
Lao Tzu: A New Investigation of the Date and New Interpretation of
the Thought (in Chinese), published by the Great East Book Co. of
Taiwan, 1997. He is leading a three-year project, "An Interdisciplinary
Approach to Early Confucian and Related Chinese Classics, " which will
be completed this year and yield three new volumes. ...
Marvin Ellison of the
Bangor Theological Seminary will give the closing plenary address this
June at the national conference "After Awareness: Preventing Abuse by
Creating Healthy Communities." The conference is sponsored by the Interfaith
Sexual Trauma Institute. He recently led a workshop on "Spirituality and
the Moral Wisdom of the GLBT Communities" at the 4th Annual
Northeast GLBT and Ally Student Conference in Portland, Maine. ...
Mary Evelyn Tucker continues
to coordinate a series of conferences on "Religions of the World and Ecology"
at Harvard. Two volumes associated with that series have been published:
Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds,
edited by Tucker and Duncan Williams, 1997; and Confucianism and Ecology:
The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth and Humans, edited by Tucker and
John Berthrong, 1998. Both are published by the Center for the Study of
World Religions and Harvard University Press. ...
Asghar Ali Engineer, Chair
of the Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism in Mumbai, has been
honored with the first-ever Communal Harmony Award from the government
of India for his untiring work in promoting communal harmony in his diverse
land. Engineer, a Muslim scholar, oversees the Centre's workshops and
publications. Most recently, the Centre has conducted workshops for police
forces in an effort to de-communalize them. ...
Dorothy Ko, a Professor
of History and Women's Studies at Rutgers University, won the 1997 Berkshire
Article Prize awarded by the Berkshire Conference for Women Historians.
The article is "The Body as Attire: The Shifting Meanings of Footbinding
in 17th Century China," Journal of Women's History,
8:4, 1997, pp. 8-27. She is now co-chairing an international, three-year
project about "Women in Modern Chinese History" which is funded by the
Chiang-Ch'ing-kuo Foundation and based at the Institute for Modern History
of Academia Sinica in Taiwan. The project aims to place research resources
on CD-ROMs, create web sites, hold regional workshops with graduate students
and conduct individual research on women and gender in Chinese society.
Benjamin Hubbard, Chair
of the Department of Comparative Religion at California State University-Fullerton,
has been writing a monthly column on religion for the Los Angeles
Times (Orange County edition). He co-authored America's Religions:
An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices, published by Libraries
Unlimited/ Teacher Ideas Press, 1997. He has begun work on a new book
tentatively entitled: Whose Religion is True? An Introduction to Religious
In late 1997, Daniel C. Maguire,
a Professor of Ethics at Marquette University, received the Distinguished
Scholar Faculty Award "for his outstanding contributions to the field
of peace studies" from the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict
Studies. He delivered a paper called "Population-Consumption-Ecology:
The Triple Problematic" at the Harvard University conference on Christianity
and Ecology in April, 1998. ...
A grant from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with matching
assistance from Luther College has enabled James
Martin-Schramm of the Department of Religion and Philosophy
at Luther College and two colleagues (professors of chemistry and sociology)
to initiate a new interdisciplinary course called "Stewardship and Sustainable
Development in the United States." The purpose of the course is to critically
examine the concept of sustainable development and its relationship to
the Judeo-Christian stewardship tradition. Schramm also delivered a paper
on Christianity and the ecological crisis at the Christianity and Ecology
conference at Harvard. ...
Farid Esack, a Muslim
scholar and the Commissioner for Gender Equality in South Africa, will
have a book published by Oxford: Oneworld later this year. Its title is
On Being a Muslim. The current focus of his work is Islam and
gender and the interface between religion, culture and identity. He spoke
on "Freedom and Identity: An Islamic Perspective" at the Jewish-Christian-Muslim
Consultation in Bendorff, Germany in March. He also spoke at the International
Interfaith Council in Oxford that same month. ...
Paul F. Knitter of Xavier
University has become a member of the Board of Trustees of the International
Interreligious Peace Council. His recent publications include a collection
of previously published articles, Horizonte der Befreiung: Auf dem
Weg zu einer pluralistischen Theologie der Religionen, Verlag
Otto Lembeck, 1997, and The Uniqueness of Jesus: A Dialogue with Paul
Knitter, Leonard Swidler and Paul Mojzes, Orbis Books, 1997. ...
Rebecca T. Alpert
has been appointed Assistant Professor of Religion and Women's
Studies at Temple University. Her book, Like Bread on the Seder Plate:
Jewish Lesbians and the Transformation of Tradition, was published
by Columbia University Press in 1997 and is nominated for a Lambda Literary
Award as Best Book in Religion and Spirituality. She is currently working
on two edited volumes: Voices of the Religious Left: A Sourcebook
for Temple University Press, and The First Generation of Lesbian Rabbis,
co-edited with Shirley Idelson and Sue Levi Elwell for Rutgers University
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