Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New project

I have started organizing a set of folders with archive material that I collected four years ago, and have not really looked at since. The material contains notes, correspondence, manuscripts, minute books, articles, meeting reports, etc etc, from some of the so-called "mission feminists" in early twentieth-century Norway. And today I have spent some time collecting together books from our shelves that I want to read (or skim...), articles on gender and Christianity that I've been saving, stray references that I've noted down on green post-its regarding this project.

This is an anthropological project again, or more precisely historical anthropology. My specific case study is a network or movement of women who were active as part of the Norwegian Mission Society in the first decades of the twentieth century. They managed to secure the right for women to vote within the Society, they managed to get a woman formally employed at the headquarters of the Society in Norway, and so on. I'm interested in how they blended gender and theology - sometimes they would use what was perceived as "feminine" traits (e.g. feminine piety, an emphasis on intimacy) in order to try to get their will, at other times they would use theological arguments (e.g. related to Jesus' conversations with women).

Over the next months I'll try to carve out time to read about gender and religion. I always like this phase of the research process.

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