The entanglements of gender and religion among transgender Jews with an Orthodox background: final results and conclusions
In this lecture I would like to present the final results and conclusions of the dissertation I defended last May on the entanglements of gender and religion among transgender with an Orthodox background. This study, the first in its scope on transgender religiosity, is based on observations and in-depth biographical interviews with 13 participants living in Canada, USA and Israel. In the course of my lecture, I would like to provide a summary of the main findings, which illustrate in detail the ways in which gender and religion were negotiated by the participants through what I describe as “dislocations” and “reversal stories.” Gendered religious practices, a key feature of Orthodox Judaism, figure prominently in the analysis. I would also like to discuss the theoretical contribution of the study, not the least by attempting to move beyond the binary resistance/ subordination that feminist scholars have developed to account for the agency of women in traditionalist religions. In order to do so, I deploy the body of theoretical work developed by Karen Barad and known as agential realism. Last but not least, I conclude by examining my initial commitments to social constructionism (in Peter Berger’s definition) and how in the course of my research I have encountered 3 unexpected sites of resistance emerging from my material that have led me to reconsider my epistemological commitments.