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Online Workshop 

28 February - 1 March 2024 

This conference aims to question how the religious lives of Catholic people in the Asia-Pacific region are informed by socially and temporally specific understandings of emotions and affects, and normative ideas about gender. It thus seeks to further our understanding of perceptions, experiences, practices, beliefs of Asia-Pacific Catholic women, men, and non-binary people by using lenses of both gender and emotion.


Since the inception of gender studies in the mid-twentieth century, gender remains a critical lens in studies of religion to identify the ways in which the expression of masculine and feminine spiritualities are shaped by different religious traditions and sociocultural norms.


The Asia-Pacific region has been the focus of many studies in this sense and past research has analysed the impact of gender norms on individual and group expression and how they influence relationships with religion (Kawai 2021; Strasser 2020; Ambros 2015; Como 2009; Menegon 2009), often focusing on colonial and post-colonial contexts and/or moments of significant religious contacts, such as Christian missions (O’Leary 2023; Amsler 2018; Singh 2013; Ward 2009; Brewer 2004).


Recently, the emotional turn has introduced new analytical possibilities to the study of gender. Theoretical approaches from emotions studies and affect theory, for instance, have provided guidance not only on how the study of human feelings, but also on how researchers can identify and analyse how emotions, feelings, and affects inform the range of human actions and experiences, including those connected to gender (Reeser 2023; Strasser 2020; Barclay 2018; Bloomer 2017;  Broomhall 2015; Ahmed 2014). However, gender and emotion remain understudied as a joint theoretical frame to examine the role of emotion in shaping religious experiences, groups, and cultures outside Western contexts.


We invite historical and social science contributions on the conference themes. Among the questions that contributors are invited to respond, we suggest:


  • How was/is the interconnection between gender and emotions understood in different forms of Catholicism in the Asia-Pacific world?

  • What is the impact of normative gender and emotion on traditions, practices, or experiences of Asia-Pacific Catholicisms? Which kind of normative representations of gender and emotion are spread through visuals, arts, and social media?

  • How are the relations between specific emotions (anger, fear, love, etc.) and gender understood in Asia-Pacific Catholic contexts?

  • How do past iterations of gender and emotion influence present and future Asia-Pacific Catholicisms?

  • How has the discourse on emotion promoted by the Second Vatican Council, for instance in the realm of liturgical practices, been received and adjusted within the different cultural contexts of Asia-Pacific?

  • How are emotions mobilised to negotiate the ways Asia-Pacific Catholic institutions embodied gender hierarchy?

  • How are Catholic norms on gender and emotion contesting and reshaping kinship structures of Asia-Pacific societies?


This online conference was initiated in dialogue with the Gender and Women’s History Research Centre at Australian Catholic University. It is organized by the Initiative for the Study of Asian Catholics (ISAC), National University of Singapore.

The full program is available through this link: 


2 Recordings of the panels are available online: 


Selected Bibliography

  • Ahmed, Sara. 2014. Cultural Politics of Emotion. Edinburgh University Press.

  • Ambros, Barbara R. 2015. Women in Japanese Religions. New York University Press.

  • Amsler, Nadine. 2018. Jesuits and Matriarchs. Washington University Press.

  • Barclay, Katie. 2018. “Love and friendship between lower order Scottish men: or what the history of emotions has brought to early modern gender history.,” in Revisiting Gender in European History, 1400–1800 (Routledge), edited by Elise Dermineur, Virginia Langum and Åsa Karlsson Sjögren, 121– 44.

  • Bautista, Julius. 2019. The Way Of The Cross: Suffering Selfhoods In The Roman Catholic Philippines. Hawai’i University Press.

  • Bloomer, Kristin C. 2017. Possessed by the Virgin. Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, and Marian Possession in South India. Oxford University Press.

  • Bolotta, Giuseppe. 2017. ““God’s Beloved Sons”: Religion, Attachment, and Children’s Self-Formation in the Slums of Bangkok.” Antropologia 4, no.2 NS.

  • Broomhall, Susan, ed. 2015. Gender and Emotions in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Destroying Order, Structuring Disorder. Routledge.

  • Brewer, Carolyn. 2004. Shamanism, Catholicism and gender relations in colonial Philippines 1521-1685. Ashgate.

  • Como, Michael. 2009. Weaving and Binding: Immigrant Gods and Female Immortals in Ancient Japan. University of Hawaii Press.

  • Gallo, Ester and Francesca Scrinzi. 2021. “Gendering the Migration-Religion Nexus.” Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa 3.

  • Kawai, Sachiko. 2021. Uncertain Powers. Sen’yōmon-in and Landownership by Royal Women in Early Medieval Japan. Harvard University Press.

  • Menegon, Eugenio. 2009. Ancestors, Virgins, & Friars : Christianity as a Local Religion in Late Imperial China. Harvard University Press.

  • O’Leary, Jessica. 2023. “Luís Fróis, Gendered Knowledge, and the Jesuit Encounter with Sixteenth-Century Japan.” The Historical Journal, 1–19. 

  • Reeser, Todd W., ed. 2023. The Routledge Companion to Gender and Affect. Routledge.

  • Singh, Maina C. 2013. Gender, Religion, and the Heathen Lands: American Missionary Women in South Asia, 1860s-1940s. Routledge.

  • ​Ward, Haruko N. 2009. Women Religious Leaders in Japan's Christian Century. Ashgate.

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