Thursday, March 26, 2009

Joan Scott, "Secularism and Women's Equality"

Today at McGill: Joan Scott, "Secularism and Women's Equality," Leacock 232, 4 pm.
Joan Scott will look at the current popular assumption that there is a relationship between secularism and gender equality. According to Prof. Scott this secular versus religion argument has been revived as a way of talking about the unacceptability of Muslims, especially in Western European states where they constitute large immigrant populations. Prof. Scott will argue that historically there is no relationship between processes of secularization (separation of church and state) and rights/equality for women; indeed, that the public/private separation (politics/religion) parallels the political/domestic split that consigns women to childbearing and child rearing; the problem of how to address sexual difference plagues secularists still. If there has been a growing flexibility in the realm of sex and sexuality in some areas of the West, it's questionable whether it is a product of secularism.

I believe that this is an inaugural event of the new McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, which succeeds the McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women.