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U-M Frankel Institute to co-host
symposium on gender, sexuality.
It drives the next
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20 :anuary 23 • 2014
hat did the rabbis of the
Talmud have to say about
hermaphrodites? What was
the approach of Jewish women's orga-
nizations toward abortion? What is the
Muslim attitude toward marital sex?
The answers to these and many
other provocative questions will
be addressed on Feb. 3 during the
Symposium on Gender and Sexuality
in Law and Religion taking place at the
University of Michigan. The event is
being co-sponsored by the U-M Jean &
Samuel Frankel Institute for Advanced
Judaic Studies and the Institute for
Research on Women and Gender.
It is also a highlight of the Frankel
Institute's year-long theme focusing on
gender and Jewish life.
"Gender and sexuality are expand-
ing areas of research by scholars of
both law and religion:' noted Deborah
Dash Moore, Frankel Center director
and Frederick G.L.
of history at U-M.
"For this sympo-
sium, we've invited
scholars who work
on related themes
— for example, the
question of violence
within families —
and asked them to think about these
issues in relation to a specific religious
tradition:' she said.
"The University of Michigan's
Institute for Research on Women
and Gender promotes and supports
focused on women,
gender and sexual-
ity:' said Deborah
professor of linguis-
tics and women's
\ studies, IRWG's
and a member of the
Frankel Institute's steering commit-
tee. "This symposium will explore the
ways that changing gender norms have
prompted religious and secular leaders
to reconsider longstanding rules, laws
The full-day event will include ses-
sions led by U-M professors as well as
leading scholars from Arizona State
University, Dartmouth College, New
York University, Villanova University,
Washington University and Wright
State University. Discussions will focus
on papers previously submitted for
sessions on legal sex, sexual politics
and crimes of passion.
The opening panel, for example,
will address the question of what con-
stitutes legal sex in both Judaism and
"Religious legal traditions have a lot
to say about sex:' said Dash Moore.
"Certainly, current debates over what
constitutes marriage — and by exten-
sion, legal sexual partners — make
us aware of how attitudes and laws
Sessions throughout the day will
explore religious accommodations and
gender inequality in secular law, queer
bodies in rabbinic literature, and sex
and order in the Christian household.
A final roundtable session promises
debate over broader issues raised dur-
ing the symposium.
"Our hope said Frankel Institute
Convening Head Fellow Beth Wenger,
"is that this symposium will spark a
conversation about how different faith
traditions have been shaped by and are
challenging both religious and secular
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The Symposium on Gender and Sexuality
in Law and Religion will take place from 9
a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, at Rackham
Assembly Hall, 915 E. Washington St.,
Ann Arbor. The event is free and open to
the public. Attendants are encouraged to
download the recommended readings at