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2011/12 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

THEO2280 Women and Religion

20 creditsClass Size: 80

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2011/12

This module is mutually exclusive with

THEO3020Women & Religion

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

Does the Christian tradition hold that women are inferior to men because Eve was created from Adam's rib? Are Muslim women who wear the veil oppressed? Does Hinduism promote 'son preference'? In this module students will examine attitudes towards women in all the major world religions and will assess the impact of such attitudes upon women's 'spiritual' as well as social opportunities. We will look at ways in which religious traditions have been transformed in order to reflect greater equality between men and women as well as the emergence of contemporary goddess worship that is typically 'woman focused'.


This module will:
- examine the experience of women, both past and present, in the major world religions;
- discuss the ways in which religious traditions have responded to the challenge of feminism;
- locate these discussions within the context of broader global processes and issues that impact upon women's lives;
- including post-colonial critique, human rights, sexual ethics, poverty and ecological concerns.

Learning outcomes
- In-depth knowledge of women's position within a range of religious traditions;
- Knowledge about emergent forms of critical theory and praxis that aim to challenge the patriarchy inherent within religious traditions;
- Knowledge about and ability to apply critical and analytical tools to questions raised in the module (e.g. feminist critique, postcolonial critique etc).

Skills outcomes
This module will enable students to develop analytical and methodological approaches essential to the study of religion in particular and other social sciences and humanities subject areas more broadly.


This course provides an overview of attitudes towards women in all the major world religions as well as within contemporary goddess spirituality and religious fundamentalism.
- It also addresses critiques that traditional religiosity has tended to view women as secondary to men and in terms of their domestic role due to their biology.
- We will examine various ways that women are transforming their traditions as a source of empowerment (both spiritual and social).
- The course will also engage with various methodological and theoretical frameworks including feminist theory and post-colonial critique.
- Lectures will provide an overview of key themes and seminar readings will prepare students to participate in debate and discussion around the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of 'religious feminism'.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

5 hours a week preparing for seminar = 50 hours
5 hours a week background reading = 50 hours
78 hours essay preparation/writing

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Informal meetings during office hours, draft essay feedback and attendance.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words50.00
Essay3,000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The only amendment being made to THEO 2280 is to change the assessment to 2 x 3,000 word essays rather than one 6,000 word essay. There are two reasons for this: 1. A reflection of student performance on and feedback about the 6,000 word essay at this level (performance has been quite weak and students say they would prefer a different assessment for this module); 2. To make a clear distinction between the proposed level 3 version of this module which will be examined via a 6,000 word essay.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 23/03/2012


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