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Diversity and Intersectionality

Studies in Religion, Education and Values


Edited By Jeff Astley and Leslie J. Francis

This volume brings together two core concepts that are central to understanding the social and public significance of religions and theologies within the contemporary world and are therefore of key importance to the discipline of religious education: diversity and intersectionality. Religious diversity requires an understanding of religions and theologies and their roles within a plural society. However, the effect of the intersectionality of multiple social identities on a person’s flourishing illuminates the ways in which the broader complexity of diversity must be viewed from different perspectives.

These core constructs were brought together in a recent conference convened by the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values, the leading international association for religious educators across the world. This volume presents twelve key contributions made to the seminar, spanning both conceptual and empirical approaches, and represents a unique collection of international perspectives on the interlocking themes of intersectionality and diversity.

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8 Combating Sexism, Homophobia, Religionism, and Subjectism: Equality and Diversity in Religious Studies and Religious Education



This chapter will examine how religious studies in universities and religious education in schools can address inequalities of gender, sexual orientation, and religion and belief. It will draw upon feminist and queer theory to critique both content and methodology of religious studies as a discipline and ways in which it can become a vehicle for liberation. Omission, neglect, stereotype and distortion can also apply to our treatment of religious traditions and other belief systems in education. The chapter draws upon John Hull’s concept of ‘religionism’ to argue for a religious education with space for smaller traditions, nonreligious beliefs, and students who are ‘existentially interfaith’, as well as emphasizing diversity within as well as between traditions. Finally, it will argue that in some contexts, religious education is itself subject to the characteristic processes of inequality.

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