Canadian Women Shaping Diasporic Religious Identities
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This collection of essays explores how women from a variety of religious and cultural communities have contributed to the richly textured, pluralistic society of Canada. Focusing on women’s religiosity, it examines the ways in which they have carried and conserved, and brought forward and transformed their cultures—old and new—in modern Canada.

Each essay explores the ways in which the religiosities of women serve as locations for both the assertion and the refashioning of individual and communal identity in transcultural contexts. Three shared assumptions guide these essays: religion plays a dynamic role in the shaping and reshaping of social cultures; women are active participants in their transmission and their transformation; and a focus on women's activities within their religious traditions—often informal and unofficial—provides new perspectives on the intersection of religion, gender, and transnationalism.

Since the first European migrations, Canada has been shaped by immigrant communities as they negotiated the tension between preserving their religious and cultural traditions and embracing the new opportunities in their adopted homeland. Viewing those interactions through the lens of women’s religiosity, the essays in this collection model an innovative approach and provide new perspectives for students and researchers of Canadian Studies, Religious Studies, and Women’s Studies.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 janvier 2016
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781771121552
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 29 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0052€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Women Shaping
Diasporic Religious
*WLU Lee-Woo text.FINAL.indd 1 2015-11-17 9:53 AMStudies in Women and Religion
Études sur les femmes et la religion
Studies in Women and Religion is a series designed to serve the needs of
established scholars in this new area, whose scholarship may not conform
to the parameters of more traditional series with respect to content,
perspective, and/or methodology. The series will also endeavour to promote
scholarship on women and religion by assisting new scholars in
developing publishable manuscripts. Studies published in this series will refect
the wide range of disciplines in which the subject of women and religion
is currently being studied, as well as the diversity of theoretical and
methodological approaches that characterize contemporary women’s studies.
Books in English are published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
Inquiries should be directed to the series coordinator.
Heidi Epstein
St. Thomas More College
University of Saskatchewan
Coordinatri Ce
Monique Dumais
Université du Québec, Rimouski
*WLU Lee-Woo text.FINAL.indd 2 2015-11-17 9:53 AMCanadian
Women Shaping
Diasporic Religious
Becky R. Lee and Terry Tak-ling Woo, editors
*WLU Lee-Woo text.FINAL.indd 3 2015-11-17 9:53 AMThis book has been published with the help of a grant from the Canadian Federation for
the Humanities and Social Sciences, through the Awards to Scholarly Publications
Program, using funds provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
of Canada. Wilfrid Laurier University Press acknowledges the fnancial support of the
Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund for its publishing activities. This
work was supported by the Research Support Fund.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Canadian women shaping diasporic religious identities / Becky R. Lee and
Terry Tak-ling Woo, editors.
(Studies in women and religion ; v. 13)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Issued in print and electronic formats.
ISBN 978-1-77112-153-8 (bound).—ISBN 978-1-77112-154-5 (paperback).—
ISBN 978-1-77112-156-9 (epub).—ISBN 978-1-77112-155-2 (pdf)
1. Women—Religious life—Canada. 2. Feminism—Religious aspects—Canada.
3. Canada—Religion—21st century. I. Lee, Becky R., [date], editor II. Woo, Terry Tak-ling,
1952–, editor III. Series: Studies in women and religion (Waterloo, Ont.) ; v. 13
BL625.7.C35 2015 200.820971 C2015-902615-6
Cover design by Blakeley Words+Pictures. Front-cover illustration copyright © Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette, 2014. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Text design by Lime
Design, Inc.
© 2015 Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
®This book is printed on FSC certifed paper and is certifed Ecologo. It contains
postconsumer fbre, is processed chlorine free, and is manufactured using biogas energy.
Printed in Canada
Every reasonable efort has been made to acquire permission for copyright material
used in this text, and to acknowledge all such indebtedness accurately. Any errors and
omissions called to the publisher’s atention will be corrected in future printings.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmited, in any form or by any means, without the prior writen consent of the
publisher or a licence from the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright).
For an Access Copyright licence, visit htp:// or call toll free to
*WLU Lee-Woo text.FINAL.indd 4 2015-11-17 9:53 AMContents
Acknowledgements vii
Introduction ix
Part A
Christianity and Judaism in Newfoundland,
Ontario, and Alberta
1 “He’s My Best Friend”
Relationality, Materiality, and the Manipulation of Motherhood
in Devotion to St. Gerard Majella in Newfoundland
†‡ˆ‰Š‹ ŒŠŽ‘‡‹ 3
2 “She Couldn’t Come to the Table ’til She Was Churched”
Anglican Women, Childbirth, and Embodied Christian Practice
in Conception Bay, Newfoundland
ŒŠ‹‹‰• †Šˆ–‡‹ 35
3 On the Margins of Church and Society
Roman Catholic Feminisms in English-Speaking Canada
Œ•™š› œ. ž•• 65
4 Unveiling Leah
Examining Women’s Voices in Two Canadian Jewish
Worship Services
£¤‰¤‡ ¥Š¦§¨•ˆ– 107
*WLU Lee-Woo text.FINAL.indd 5 2015-11-17 9:53 AMPart B
New Religions in Canada
5 Charity Chicks
A Discourse-Analysis of Religious Self-Identification
of Rural Canadian Mormon Women
®‡¯• °ŠŽ•ˆ 141
6 “The Whole World Opened Up”
Women in Canadian Theosophy
¥‰¦¦‰‡‹ †™²‡‹‹ 197
7 Belief, Identity, and Social Action
in the Lives of Bahá’í Women
ž›‹‹ ´™µ•¤‡ˆˆ‰‡ 233
Part C
South Asian Religions in Southwest Ontario
8 Being Hindu in Canada
Experiences of Women
£‹‹• †. °•‡ˆ·Š‹ Ž‰¯µ °ˆ••¯‰ ¸‡›‡š 269
9 Women in Hinduism
Ritual Leadership in the Adhi Parasakthi
Temple Society of Canada
¸‡‹•¯¯• œ. ¹º‰‹‡ 301
Conclusion 337
Bibliography for Women and Religion from 1951 to 2013 341
About the Contributors 351
Index 355
vi Contents
*WLU Lee-Woo text.FINAL.indd 6 2015-11-17 9:53 AMAcknowledgements
We would like to thank all of the contributors to this
volume for their patience and generosity. Special
thanks are owed to those who worked behind the
scenes to make this volume possible: the editors
at Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses Francis
Landy and Patricia Dold; Heidi Epstein at St. Thomas
More University of Saskatchewan and series editor
of Studies in Women and Religion; Kerry Fast, our
copy editor; and the editorial team at Wilfrid Laurier
University Press.
*WLU Lee-Woo text.FINAL.indd 7 2015-11-17 9:53 AMThis page intentionally left blank Introduction
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, prime minister of Canada from 1968
to 1984 but for nine months, likened living next to the United States to
sleeping with an elephant. Although he was commenting on the
political implications, it is equally true in the academic sphere. Today there is
a considerable body of scholarly analyses of North American women’s
1 Because of the disparity in size participation in their religious traditions.
between Canada and the United States, and their geographic proximity,
much of that scholarship focuses on American women’s experiences. For
those same reasons, there is a tendency to assume that Canadian women’s
experiences approximate American women’s. However, the setlement and
religious histories of Canada difer signifcantly from its neighbour to the
south. This collection of chapters explores the ways in which women in
diferent religious-cultural communities have contributed to the richly
textured, pluralistic society of Canada shaped by those histories.
Diasporic Religious Beliefs and Practices in Ordinary Circumstances
the chapters in this collection put women at the centre of their
religious traditions and examine the ways in which they have carried and
conserved, brought forward and transformed their cultures through
religion in modern and contemporary Canada. All of the religious groups
represented in these chapters are diasporic setler communities. Some, like
*WLU Lee-Woo text.FINAL.indd 9 2015-11-17 9:53 AMthe Bahá’í and Hindu communities, arrived relatively recently in Canada.
Others, especially Roman Catholics and Anglicans, have such long histo -
ries in Canada that we tend to forget that they, too, have been transplanted
here from other lands. That tendency is the reason we have chosen to call
this collection Canadian Women Shaping Diasporic Religious Identities. Paul
Bramadat raises “the problematic understanding of Canadian identity” that
2 According to Bramadat, underlies the common use of the term “diaspora.”
“on some basic level, the concept of diaspora frames members of so-called
3diasporic communities . . . as those who really belong somewhere else,”
unlike Christians of European heritage for whom, it is assumed, Canada is
their homeland. We agree with Bramadat. The interactions between place,
diference, and identity within the Canadian context are far more complex.
Bramadat suggests that rather than rejecting the term, we should “broaden
the meaning of ‘diaspora’ to

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