Religious, Feminist, Activist


Religious, Feminist, Activist

Cosmologies of Interconnection

Laurel Zwissler

Anthropology of Contemporary North America Series

336 pages
4 photographs, 4 illustrations, index


April 2018


$30.00 Add to Cart

April 2018


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

April 2018


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

April 2018


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

In Religious, Feminist, Activist, Laurel Zwissler investigates the political and religious identities of women who understand their social-justice activism as religiously motivated. Placing these women in historical context as faith-based activists for social change, this book discusses what their activities reveal about the public significance of religion in the pluralistic context of North America and in our increasingly globalized world. Zwissler’s ethnographic interviews with feminist Catholics, Pagans, and United Church Protestants reveal radically different views of religious and political expression and illuminate how individual women and their communities negotiate issues of personal identity, spirituality, and political responsibility.

Political activists of faith recount adventurous tales of run-ins with police, agonizing moments of fear and powerlessness in the face of global inequality, touching moments of community support, and successful projects that improve the lives of others. Religious, Feminist, Activist combines religion, politics, and globalization—subjects frequently discussed in macro terms—with individual personalities and intimate stories to provide a fresh perspective on what it means to be religiously and politically engaged. Zwissler also provides an insightful investigation into how religion and politics intersect for women on the political left.

Author Bio

Laurel Zwissler is an assistant professor in the Philosophy and Religion Department at Central Michigan University.


“A valuable window into the complex but important role of religion in many progressive feminist groups. Zwissler’s volume helps us to better reflect on the challenging dance of religion and feminism, within the all-important context of activist work. Focusing on cultural and religious resources, rituals, and discourses that shape and constrain movement activity, this is a beautifully written, thoughtfully argued, and timely contribution.”—Courtney Bender, professor in the Department of Religion at Columbia University

“The most effective way to understand activist religion is [through] finely tuned ethnographic work. Laurel Zwissler asks perceptive questions, listens to complex responses, and observes the multiple layers of women engaged in progressive public enactments in Toronto. The result is a convincing, compelling book.”—Ronald L. Grimes, director, Ritual Studies International and professor emeritus of religion and culture at Wilfrid Laurier University

“Laurel Zwissler’s comprehensive and up-to-date summary and synthesis of matters pertaining to religious, spiritual, and political uses of ritual, ceremony, and action are critical to every large scale protest movement of our time.”—Mary Keller, assistant academic professional lecturer for the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Changing Rituals, Changing Worlds
2. “The Shrine Was Human Rights”: Pilgrimage and Protest
3. “Spirituality” as Feminist Third Choice: Gendering Religion and the Secular
4. Self, Community, and Social Justice
Source Acknowledgments

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