Thursday, July 06, 2006

Article on Women's Exclusion

My article, "When Principle and Authority Collide: Baha'i Responses to the Exclusion of Women from the Universal House of Justice" is now available online. Copies can also be purchased from Nova Religio.

The article has been a long time coming -- I started the survey in 2002, soon after the publication of my Cultic Studies Journal article. It started out with some questions I had about how prevalent Baha'i liberalism is, as opposed to Baha'i fundamentalism. Women's exclusion seemed a good issue to work with, because it was talked about endlessly during the first decade of Baha'i cyberspace, which gave me a lot of material. I also ran into some other questions along the way -- so it was a really good experience for me overall, even though there were times I thought it was going to just end up as another online article. Thanks to Catherine Wessinger and Rebecca Moore at Nova Religio, and to Juan Cole, for giving me advice when I was ready to pull my hair out over the whole thing.


Anonymous said...

Hi Karen--

I still follow your on-line activity from time to time, although I haven't posted in a long time. I enjoyed your article and, at the same time, I'm very much disturbed by the situation in which I find myself. I left the Mormon church, with all its dogma about the role of women, and later became a Baha'i, hoping to be a part of a religious community where the followers were truly equal in their participation and where diversity was valued rather than discouraged. Instead, I am uncomfortably reminded of my Mormon upbringing when I hear leaders echo the familiar refrain: "When the Prophet speaks, the thinking has been done." The exact words may change--although not that much--but the thought is the same And that's sad. Please know your efforts are appreciated.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this and it brought back memories of those days from when i first heard the Service of Women paper in New Zealand in 1988 to Talisman later. I think it is important to have such 'surveys' recorded as a way of moving on and developing and... it gave me hope because I see that my own thinking is more confident these days. Thanks!!!! for all your work here.

Anonymous said...

not all that black and white.
Bahaullah said "Meno f Justice"(Rajal). He also said in this dispensation women are seen as men. AbdulBaha said at the correct time it will be made manifest why women cant sit on the House of Justice --- except --- House of Justice doesnt refer to the Universal House of Justice. It refers to ALL Houses of Justice -- which means on this dictact women should not sit on Local or National assemblies either, which they do, the reason here being the first Local assemblies (in west) were not CALLED local spiritual assemblies, but local assemblies for [] and were later converted to local assemblies. So its a little complex -- can be argued both ways. :0).
My two pennies.
(Allah u Abha).
Another example is Bigamy, which is permitted in the Aqdas, which AbdulBaha amended to monogamy. Need theologians to go through this.
(dont get me wrong Im a Bahai, but Bahai theology is not as simple as they like to make it out)