Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Feedback for Brainstorming

Okay...Here's the deal. Every spring the College of Arts and Sciences hosts a colloquium w/ a particular theme (obviously) and years past, I've made a practice of submitting a proposal. This year's theme is "Thinking about Religion". So, I've been tossing around some ideas. Just wanted some feedback...Is this a direction worth heading? Is it too broad? Too cliche? Would love to hear what you all think.

The very general catagory for my paper would be "Feminism and Religion: Can the Two Coexist?"

My research question would be something like this: "Through the eyes of female participants, to what extent does (insert religion--still haven't decided on one--might use several) either empower or suppress women devotees through its doctrines, and how does this affect women's views of the religion and themselves as females?"

Importance of the Question: "Celebration of spirituality is an important part of many people's lives, including women, but even modern religion often cotinues to detract from feminine empowerment while reaffirming the patriarchy in obvious or subtle ways, leading women with strong feelings about independence to either reject religion or continue to participate although they feel the religion fails to reflect their true values."

Some things I still have to clarify are: 1. What will my definition of "feminism" be for the purpose of the paper, and is this even something that is possible to put a concise and agreed upon definition to? 2. Decide on a particular religion (or decide to use several), and research extensively or pick ones I am qualified to speak about. 3. Perhaps search for female writers (fiction or non-fiction) who participate in a religion and write about their impressions of themselves as empowered women in relationship to their religion. 4. Is the problem a question of the definition of "feminism," or is the more traditionally minded woman simply more likely to embrace religion? 5. How do these problems change across religions?

I have a couple of approaches in mind: I could use literature (both fiction and non-fiction), I could interview real women and/or do a survey, or I could do a mixture of both....
Anyway, this is what I've come up w/ so far w/out having done any actual research. Comments are welcome and appreciated!!!


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