Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, Vol 33, No 3 (2020)

Ventures of Women in Relation to Religion and Violence

Morny Joy
Issued Date: 28 Apr 2021

Abstract


This article is one of gratitude to three scholars—Grace Jantzen, Hannah Arendt and Judith Butler—who encouraged my feminist leanings. Jantzen’s reading of Arendt’s The Human Condition (1959) prompted her move from a literal to a figurative form of the term ‘natality’. Arendt’s emphasis on human suffering also attracted Jantzen. Instead of rejecting Arendt’s ‘natality’ as a literal mode of maternity, Jantzen affirmed Arendt’s position, where, together with constructive work, ‘natality’ can initiate dynamic change. Such a new beginning, inherent in birth, is recognized in the world only because newcomers possess a capacity of beginning, of something new, i.e., of action. ‘It initiates the dynamic element of action, and thus natality, which is inherent in all human activity’ (Arendt 1959: 10–11). Judith Butler’s publications have provided provocative challenges since Gender Trouble (1990). Recently, however, Butler has invoked ethical responsibility in an era of ‘senseless death’. She recommends a new bodily ontology which may initiate another dynamic change.

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DOI: 10.1558/jasr.42948

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