Gender - K. Merinda Simmons
K. Merinda Simmons [+]
University of Alabama
K. Merinda Simmons is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Graduate Director of the Religion in Culture MA Program at the University of Alabama. Her books include Changing the Subject: Writing Women across the African Diaspora (Ohio State UP, 2014), The Trouble with Post-Blackness (co-edited with Houston A. Baker, Jr., Columbia UP, 2015), and Race and New Modernisms (co-authored with James A. Crank, Bloomsbury, 2019). She is editor of the book series Concepts in the Study of Religion: Critical Primers (Equinox).
Craig Martin [+]
St. Thomas Aquinas College
Craig Martin, Ph.D., is Professor of Religious Studies at St. Thomas Aquinas College. He writes on discourse analysis and ideology critique; his most recent books include Capitalizing Religion: Ideology and the Opiate of the Bourgeoisie (Bloomsbury, 2014) and A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion, 2nd Edition (Routledge, 2017).
This chapter will provide an intellectual history of social constructionism and how discourse on gender as a social construct developed as a response to appeals to a stable, biologically predetermined gendered reality. With surveys of the “waves” of feminism, we will discuss the utility and limitations of the sex/gender dichotomy that emerged to make initial sense of constructionist approaches. In so doing, we will also introduce Judith Butler’s distinction between “performance” and “performativity,” discussing some of the implications of this distinction. Finally, we will offer an analysis of and response to contemporary scholarship on that political and fraught category called “the body.”