The South Asian Times

Jain Conference to focus on women's perspectives in Dharma traditions


New York: Center for Jain Studies at Claremont Lincoln University at Claremont, California, Jain Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, International School for Jain Studies and Federation of Jain Associations in North America ( JAINA) will be holding a two day International Jain Conference on Aug 23-24, 2013 on “Women’s Perspectives in the Dharma Traditions.”

Women’s voices are not always easy to hear among traditional and contemporary Dharma texts. Yet, women are active and vibrant members of these communities. They are leaders, teachers, artists, philosophers, mothers, wives, professionals, politicians, monastics. Women are at the forefront of identifying crucial issues and fractures that hinder their own thriving and that of their community and ecosystem. This conference will provide a place to identify problems, to discuss underlying causes, and to propose and inspire solutions (especially) within religious communities.

The conference will be anchored on six Keynote presentations. First, a specialist in global women’s issues will set the stage, highlighting the five or six main areas of concerns, offering vital statistics, and issuing a call for the religious traditions to get actively involved. Additionally, an invited speaker will approach women’s issues from each of the Dharma traditions (Hindu, Buddhism, Jain, Sikh). As specialists in their field, they will have freedom to choose their approach and topic.

Some guiding questions: What is the state of women in this tradition?; What texts are relevant?; What are the primary challenges for women in marriage (non-marriage), society, culture, and politics?; What new arenas or spheres are women’s voices emerging within?; and What challenges to tradition or reinterpretations of norms are shaping current contexts?

The conference will also feature a Keynote Panel with women from western traditions.

Submissions are welcome from any tradition, gender category, sexual orientation, or philosophical perspective, with the only stipulation that the proposals intersect the Dharma traditions as a significant component of their content. Younger scholars and practitioners from the Dharma traditions are encouraged to submit proposals.

Update: 12 April, 2013

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