Edited by Niamh Reilly and Stacey Scriver



Fadwa Al-Labadi is an Associate Professor and Director of Insan Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies and the Department of Development Studies at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. She received her PhD and MA in Women’s Studies from the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK. Al-Labadi was a post-doctoral researcher in International and Comparative Legal Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University. She was a founding member of the Women’s Studies Centre in East Jerusalem. Her areas of interest include gender and development, women’s rights and law, women and citizenship, gender and social change, and gender and diaspora. She was a Fulbright visiting scholar at the University of Michigan (Dearborn) in the United States, where she taught Gender, Displacement and Oral History, and was also a visiting Scholar at York University in Canada, working with on the Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) “Diaspora, Islam and Gender: a Comparative Study of Four Displaced Communities from Islamic Cultures.”

Tina Beattie is Professor of Catholic Studies and Director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing at the University of Roehampton, UK. She received her PhD from Bristol University, which formed the basis for her book God’s Mother, Eve’s Advocate (2002). Her latest book is Theology after Postmodernity: Divinising the Void (forthcoming). Her research interests include gender and symbolism in Roman Catholic theology, natural law, human rights and women's rights, and Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. Beattie is a former President of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain and she is a Director of the Catholic weekly The Tablet. She has published widely in academic and non-academic publications.

Sarah Bracke is Assistant Professor of Sociology of Religion and Culture at the Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium. She holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from Utrecht University (“Women Resisting Secularisation in an Age of Globalisation: Four Case Studies in a European Context,” 2004), and was a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of California Santa Cruz and Utrecht University (2006-2008). Her work is situated at the intersection of religion, secularism, and gender and draws upon feminist theory, critical theory, and post-colonial theory. It explores questions of modernity, religion, and (transformations of) the secular, as well as multiculturalism, in relation to notions of subjectivity, agency, and gender. She co-authored a book on multiculturalism and one on how Islam is framed within the social sciences (both in Dutch), directed a video-essay on how LGB rights figure in contemporary war discourses (Pink Camouflage, 2009) and has published in Theory, Culture and Society, The European Journal of Women’s Studies, Feminist Review and Religion and Gender.

Esra Demir Gürsel is a PhD candidate in Public Law at Marmara University, Turkey, where she also works as a research assistant at the Human Right Law Department. Demir Gürsel’s doctoral dissertation addresses the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights with regard to religion and morality. Her research particularly focuses on the patterns that consolidate the liberal nation states' sovereignty in the Court's application of the democratic necessity clause in articles 8-11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Her broader research interests involve theories of rights and state, liberalism, democracy, secularism, and gender. Her previous work addressed issues such as women's religious subjectivities before international human rights bodies, regulation of rape through law, and articulations of universalist and relativist arguments in the context of human rights law.

Duncan Dormor is the President and Dean of Chapel of St John’s College in the University of Cambridge where he also lectures on sociology of religion in the Divinity Faculty. He studied Human Sciences at Magdalen College, Oxford, and Medical Demography at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine before working as a Press Officer for the charity One plus One: Marriage and Partnership Research. He trained for ministry in the Church of England at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and then served as a curate in St Peter’s Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton, before moving to St John’s College in 1998. He is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England and sits on a number of other national church bodies, including the Mission and Public Affairs Council and Anglican Roman Catholic Committee. He writes primarily on sexual ethics and is the author of Just Cohabiting? The Church, Sex and Getting Married (DLT, 2004), and a co-editor of Anglicanism: The Answer to Modernity (Continuum, 2003) and An Acceptable Sacrifice? Homosexuality and the Church (SPCK Publishing, 2007).

Naomi Goldenberg is Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies and former Director of Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada. She obtained her PhD in religious studies from Yale University in 1976 after having done graduate work at Princeton University in classical studies. Her areas of specialization include religion and popular culture, religion and gender, and religion and psychoanalysis. She has a keen interest in the emerging field of “critical religion,” which focuses on deconstructing the category of religion and its relationship to concepts such as “the secular” and “politics.” With co-editors Timothy Fitzgerald and Trevor Stack, she is compiling a collection of essays to advance theory in this area. She continues to support feminist scholarship in religious studies as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. Her published books include Resurrecting the Body: Feminism, Religion and Psychoanalysis (Crossroad, 1993) and Changing of the Gods: Feminism and the End of Traditional Religions (Beacon, 1979). She is currently writing a book which has as its working title The Category of Religion in the Technology of Contemporary Statecraft.

Breda Gray is Director of postgraduate programs in Gender, Culture & Society and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Limerick, Ireland. She is also Co-Convener of the University of Limerick and National University of Ireland, Galway, research consortium, Gender ARC ( She is author of Women and the Irish Diaspora (Routledge, 2004), editor of the Irish Journal of Sociology 18.3, a special issue on the transnational turn in sociology, and joint editor of the journal Mobilities 6.2 on methodological innovations in mobilities research. She has also published widely on themes of gender and migration and the politics of emotion in feminist politics. She is principal investigator for the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS)-funded research project “The Irish Catholic Church and the Politics of Migration” and joint principal investigator on the Irish Social Science Platform project “Nomadic Work/Life in the Knowledge Economy.”

Anka Grzywacz is Programme Coordinator dealing with sexual and reproductive health and rights at the Federation for Women and Family Planning. Previously she was the International Executive Secretary of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), Poland’s largest social democratic party, where she also serves as a member of the National Executive Committee and General Secretary of the Women's Organization. She is one of the European advisors of the US-based organization Catholics for Choice, which challenges the official views of Roman Catholic hierarchy on abortion, condom use, and sexuality, and works to ensure that all people have access to safe and affordable reproductive healthcare services. She has been providing and advocating for comprehensive sexuality education with the Ponton Group of Sex Educators since 2002. Her areas of interest include education, health, human rights, and politics. She holds an MA in Applied Linguistics from Warsaw University and a postgraduate degree in clinical sexology. She lives in Warsaw.

Nida Kirmani is an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the School of Humanities and Social Science at Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan. She was previously Research Fellow in the Religions and Development Research Programme, University of Birmingham. Kirmani completed her PhD in 2007 at University of Manchester. Her primary research interests are related to religion, urban space, gender, and development in South Asia. She has contributed to multiple journals and edited collections, including The Journal of Gender Studies, Contributions to Indian Sociology, and Progress in Development Studies. Her latest book is Questioning the Muslim Woman: Space, Identity and Insecurity in an Urban Locality (Routledge, 2013, forthcoming).

Titia Loenen is Professor of Legal Theory at Utrecht University. Previous to this post she was Professor of Gender and Law. She received her PhD from Leiden University on the topic “Difference in Equality” in 1992. Her research interests include equality and law, human rights, gender, and multicultural issues. She is the co-editor of the Dutch Journal of Human Rights and the NJCM-Bulletin, and is a member on the Board of the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM). Loenen has been published in Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights and has published extensively on the non-discrimination law and sex equality.

Vesna Malesevic is Lecturer at the School of Political Science and Sociology at National University of Ireland, Galway. She obtained her PhD from University College Cork, Ireland. Her areas of research cover religion and religious organizations, especially the Catholic Church, sexuality, and LGBT issues, civil society, Irish society, and Central and Eastern Europe. She has over a decade’s experience in research projects on subjects including ethnicity, sexuality, and religion. Malesevic is on the editorial board of the Irish Journal of Feminist Studies and the scholarly journal Gender, Sexuality and Feminism. She has published refereed articles dealing with the topics of ethnicity, sexuality, and religion.

Rubya Mehdi is a Senior Research Associate at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at Carsten Niebuhr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She holds a PhD in law from the Faculty of Law, Copenhagen. Her field of research is Islamic law, legal pluralism, and South Asia. Mehdi has written several articles and books, including Islamization of Laws in Pakistan (Curzen Press, 1994), Women’s Law in Legal Education and Practice in Pakistan: North-South Cooperation, edited with Farida Shaheed (New Social Science Monograph, 1997), Gender and Property Law in Pakistan (DJØF Publishing, Copenhagen & Vanguard Lahore, 2001), Integration and Retsudvikling (DJØF Publishing, 2007), Law and Religion in Multicultural Societies, with Hanna Petersen, Erik Reenberg Sand, and Gordon R. Woodman (DJØF Publishing, 2008), and Embedding Mahr in the European Legal System, edited with Jørgen S. Nielsen (DJØF Publishing, 2011). She is editor in-chief of the Journal of Law and Social Research (JLSR). She is an expert in Islamic law and in 2006 she received the Kafkatten Award for her work on Muslim women’s rights from the Danish Association on Legal Affairs. Presently she is visiting professor at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan.

Daniel R. Mekonnen obtained his primary legal education in Eritrea, where he served, among other things, as Judge of the Zoba Maekel Provincial Court in Asmara. He obtained his LLM from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2003 and his LLD from the University of the Free State, South Africa, in 2008. Currently, he is a Research Fellow at the Felsberg Institute for Education and Academic Research (FIBW) in Germany, where he is involved in a research project funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He is also a Research Associate at the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law, University of the Free State. His teaching and research interests include human rights, transitional justice, international criminal law, peace and conflict studies, nonviolent struggle, and development cooperation, as well as the intersection between health and human rights. He has worked in several universities as a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer, including serving as a Bank of Ireland Fellow at the Irish Centre for Human Rights (National University of Ireland, Galway), where he taught a graduate course on International Security Law. He has a proven track record of publications in peer-reviewed academic journals and books.

Stephanie Y. Mitchem is Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, University of South Carolina, USA. She is also jointly appointed to the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Her research interests include the intersections of social class, gender constructions, racisms, and religions. Mitchem was the founding director of the African American Program at the University of Detroit Mercy, in Detroit, Michigan, USA. She is a contributing editor of Crosscurrents magazine. She is the author of numerous essays and her most recent book is titled Faith, Health and Healing among African Americans, co-edited with Emilie M. Townes (Praeger, 2008).

Rachel Pokora is Professor of Communication at Nebraska Wesleyan University in the United States. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Pokora earned her BA in Communication in 1990 from Michigan State University. She received both her MA and PhD degrees from Purdue University in 1993 and 1996, respectively. Pokora joined the faculty at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1996. Her first sabbatical took her to Florence, Italy, for the 2003-2004 academic year. Pokora spent 2010-2011 in Ireland, where she was a Visiting Research Associate with the Global Women’s Studies Centre at the National University of Ireland, Galway. While there, Pokora completed work on her book, A Fire on Our Bones, which addresses power, authority, and structure in the Roman Catholic Church. Pokora’s research and academic interests include organizational communication with a focus on gender, religion, dialogue, power, and authority. Pokora teaches courses on theory, leadership, gender, and communication in contemporary society. She was awarded the United Methodist Exemplary Teacher Award in 2001.

Niamh Reilly is Co-Director of the Global Women's Studies Centre and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology, National University of Ireland, Galway. She is also Co-Convener of the NUI Galway–University of Limerick research network, Gender ARC ( Reilly earned a PhD in Politics from Rutgers University (2000), where she worked for several years at the Center for Women's Global Leadership. She has published widely on transnational women's movements, feminist theory, and human rights and is author of Women's Human Rights: Seeking Gender Justice in a Globalising Age (Polity Press, 2009), which was selected as an "Outstanding Academic Title for 2010" by the American Library Association/CHOICE. Reilly has many years' experience working with United Nations processes and civil society organizations internationally and in Ireland and has served as an independent expert on the Irish government's Department of Foreign Affairs Standing Committee on Human Rights (1997-1999) and its Consultative Group to draft Ireland's National Action Plan on UN Security Council 1325 (2010-2011). Before joining NUI Galway in 2007, Niamh was UK Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster (2005-2007) and a postdoctoral fellow in Women's Studies and Politics at the University of Limerick, Ireland (2003-2005).

Sawitri Saharso is Professor of Intercultural Governance at the School of Management and Governance of the University of Twente and Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology of the VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She was the Visiting Professor for “Democracy and Difference in Europe” at the University of Vienna, Austria in 2006-2007. She is general editor of the open access journal Comparative Migration Studies. Saharso is a member of the Council of European Studies (CES) and member of the IMISCOE Research Network. Her research fields include the governance of migration, religious diversity, and citizenship within a European comparative perspective, and migration, care, and participation.

Stacey Scriver is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Political Science and Sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway, working with the Global Women's Studies Centre and the Centre for the Study of Nationalism and Organised Violence. She has published in the Journal of Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, the Journal of Power and Organisation, and is co-author of Rape and Justice in Ireland (Liffey Press, 2009). Her research interests lie in the intersection of gender, religion, nationalism, and political identity.

Yafa Shanneik is a research fellow at the Study of Religions Department at University College Cork, Ireland. From 2009 to 2010 she was a post-doctoral researcher in an Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) project on Islam in Ireland, focusing on Muslim women, migrants, and converts. She holds a PhD from the Department of English Literature and Cultural Studies of the University of Würzburg, Germany. Her areas of interest include gender and Islam, migrant identities in Europe, and postcolonial literature. Her articles have been published in Religion and Gender, the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs and the Journal of Muslims in Europe.

Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh is the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and Crawford Family Professor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, USA. She received her PhD from Temple University in 1987. Singh has published extensively in the field of Sikhism. Her areas of interest include poetics, Indian women's issues, major religions of northern India, and the role of women in religious literature. Her latest publications include Of Sacred and Secular Desire (I.B. Tauris, 2012), Sikhism: An Introduction (I.B. Tauris, 2011), and The Birth of the Khalsa: A Feminist Re-memory of Sikh Identity (State University of New York Press, 2005).

Alison Stuart is a Lecturer of Law at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, and a qualified solicitor. Before joining the Department of Law at the Aberdeen Business School she practiced law in both England and Scotland and also worked in the non-profit sector. Stuart is a member of the Governance and Society research group within the Institute for Management Governance and Society (IMAGES) Research Institute. Her research interests are in the areas of international human rights law, specifically equality, regional human rights systems, and the law relating to refugees. She has published articles in Human Rights Law Review and Refugee Survey Quarterly, among other journals.

Emma Tomalin is a Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. Her main research interests are focused around religions and global development and religion, gender, and society. In 2006 she received an “Outstanding Women in Buddhism” award at the United Nations, Bangkok, Thailand, for her fieldwork with Buddhist nuns campaigning for full ordination for women in Thailand. She has been elected to the Steering Committee of the newly formed Religion and International Development group of the American Academy of Religion. Her articles have been published in Oxford Development Studies and Gender and Development, among other journals. Her latest book is entitled: Religions and Development (Routledge, forthcoming).

Mirjam van Reisen is Professor of International Social Responsibility and holds the Marga Klompé Endowed Chair at the School of Humanities, Department of Culture Studies, Tilburg University in the Netherlands. She is the Founding Director of Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA) in Brussels. Van Reisen obtained her PhD from the University of Maastricht in 2009. Her research interests include social poverty policy and cooperation between religion and cultures. She has published widely in these areas and is an expert in European foreign policy. In 2012 she was awarded a Golden Image Award in recognition of her efforts to help women end conflict in Liberia and other countries.

Eilís Ward is a lecturer at the school of Political Science and Sociology at National University of Ireland, Galway. She has taught at University of Limerick, Trinity College Dublin, Villanova University in Philadelphia, and Northeastern University in Boston, in the areas of international relations, politics, and women’s studies. Her main research interests are cosmopolitanism and Buddhist social theory as applied in the context of normative international relations theory and prostitution and sex trafficking from a policy and human rights perspective. She is a founder member of the Irish Network for Studies in Buddhism (INSB).

Sam Wong is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Liverpool, UK. His research interests include gender participation, social capital, and citizenship and his research areas include south China and South Asia (Bangladesh and India). He is the author of Exploring Unseen Social Capital in Community Participation (Amsterdam University Press, 2007) and co-editor of Identity in Crossroad Civilisations: Ethnicity, Nationalism and Globalism in Asia (Amsterdam University Press, 2009).

Nira Yuval-Davis is the Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB) at the University of East London. She has been the President of the Research Committee 05 (on racism, nationalism, and ethnic relations) of the International Sociological Association and a member of the Sociology sub-panel of the British Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) for 2008 and the Research Excellence Framework (REF) for 2014. Yuval-Davis is one of the founding members of the international research network of Women in Militarized Conflict Zones and of Women against Fundamentalism. She has served as an expert and consultant to various international organizations such as Amnesty International, the UNDP, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. Her areas of research include nationalism, racism, citizenship, fundamentalism, identities, and gender relations. Her work has been published in over ten languages. Her most recent book is entitled The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional Contestations (Sage Publications, 2011).