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Diversity and Intersectionality

Studies in Religion, Education and Values

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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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Introduction

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By the time of the meeting in York St John University in England in July 2014, the International Seminar on Religious Education (ISREV) was clearly regarded as the leading international forum for serious researchers working in the field of religious education, from a range of academic disciplines, and from a range of religious and nonreligious backgrounds. When John M. Hull, the key founding inspiration behind ISREV, debated the most appropriate name for this initiative, each word was chosen with care. The core conjunction of religious education and values assured an agenda of inclusivity that found room for religious educators working within secular educational systems, for religious educators firmly grounded within faith-based communities, and for educators who preferred to work in the field of values. The prefacing qualifier ‘international’ appreciated the importance of conversations crossing national, cultural, and religious boundaries to advance scholarship and to generate new knowledge across the domain of religious education and values. But the most original and formative of Hull’s linguistic choices was the selection of ‘seminar’.

Conferences may be conceived as places where people talk and confer; associations may be conceived as organisations in which people associate for mutual benefit, for support, and for collective identity; societies may be conceived as generating social networks, leading to various social benefits and capitals; symposia may be conceived, at least ethnologically, as places where people drink together and share conviviality. Seminars, however, are serious places where people go to work, where they engage one with...

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