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Sunday, March 6 • 3:00pm - 3:50pm
TRANSforming Traditions: Exploring Trans Issues in Jewish and Islamic Texts and Discourses

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In societies that were defined by clear gender binaries, and in which ritual, social, and physical work was divided along gender lines, it is perhaps not surprising to discover that both Jewish and Islamic texts had anxieties about bodies that did not easily fit into these sex/gender paradigms. The Talmud explores the ritual obligations of the tumtum and the androgynus, while Islamic legal sources examine the rights of the khuntha and the mukhannath, all of whom represent either intersexed bodies, bodies with ambiguous genitalia, or those who "behave" like someone of the opposite sex. While the mere recognition of sexual diversity in such ancient texts is encouraging, can these texts serve as a basis for more inclusive discourses on LQBTQ issues in contemporary Jewish and Muslim communities? Or does the fact that they were written to solve 'the problem' presented by these 'nonconforming' bodies render them too problematic to be useful? This session will explore the relationship between Jewish and Islamic textual traditions and contemporary attempts at inclusion in living Jewish and Muslim communities, using translated passages from classical texts as well as examples from popular media such as the Amazon Prime series "Transparent" and a recent documentary on the "Trans" mosque of Indonesia.

avatar for Shari Golberg

Shari Golberg

Shari Golberg has a PhD in Religion from the University of Toronto. Her academic work explores feminist approaches to Jewish and Islamic texts and contemporary text-based collaborations between Jewish and Muslim women. Her other research interests include Canadian public policy and... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 3:00pm - 3:50pm EST