Colloquium with Lori Pearson, Carleton College. For Religious Studies faculty, graduate students, and guests. RSVP to Sunny Toy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This paper uses the work of Marianne Weber (wife of Max Weber) to show that political and cultural debates about women’s rights were part of the discursive formation of theories related to religion, social order, and secularization in fin-de-siècle Germany. In part one, I focus on Marianne Weber’s analysis of marriage codes in monotheistic religions, and the models of authority and legitimate domination that she employs to assess their effect on the status of women. In part two, I link Weber’s account of the history of marriage codes to narratives of modernization that circulated among scholars involved in the shaping of religion and social theory as modern academic disciplines. Through my analysis, I suggest that gender is one missing link in scholarly understandings of the origin and rhetorical function of theories about religion and modernity.
Lori Pearson is Associate Professor of Religion at Carleton College and a specialist in the history of Christian theology and modern European philosophy of religion. Her research has focused on theories of tradition, and on concepts of religion, modernity, and the secular in the long nineteenth century. She is author of Beyond Essence: Ernst Troeltsch as Historian and Theorist of Christianity (Harvard University Press 2008), and is co-editor with Slavika Jakelic of The Future of the Study of Religion (Brill 2004). Pearson is chair of the Nineteenth-Century Theology Group of the American Academy of Religion, and for 2012-13 is a visiting fellow in the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School. She is currently at work on a new project that uses Marianne Weber’s work to explore the ways in which cultural and political debates about women’s rights informed early 20th-century theories of religion, social order, and secularization in fin-de-siecle Germany.