Evangelical Christian Women draws on two years of ethnographic research nationwide to shed new light on the gender conflict faced by women in evangelical Christianity. Julie Ingersoll goes beyond previous attempts to find avenues of empowerment for fundamentalist women to offer a more nuanced look at the challenges they face when they occupy positions of leadership which violate traditional gender norms. She looks where other studies do not—at women who, while remaining entrenched in and committed to evangelical Christianity, are also resisting accepted gender roles.
Evangelical Christian Women offers a look at conservative women who challenge gender norms within their religious traditions, the fallout they experience as part of the ensuing conflict, and the significance of the conflict over gender for the development and character of culture. In the face of a growing number of scholarly studies of conservative religious women that argue that submission is somehow “really” empowerment, this book seeks to get at the other side of the story; to document and explore the experiences of the women caught in the middle of the conservative Christian culture war over gender.
“These war stories from women in the evangelical subculture are fascinating. What did they do? How do they survive? Why do they stay? And what is going on in that subculture anyway? Part history, part ethnography, part cultural criticism, Ingersoll has made an important contribution to our understanding of religion and gender in our time and in our culture.”
—Betty DeBerg, author of Ungodly Women: Gender and the First Wave of American Fundamentalism
“Especially valuable for religious studies and women’s studies scholars and sociologists of religion interested in gender and/or women in religious movements.”
“It is the trend in scholarship these days to argue that women find empowerment in restriction. Ingersoll argues, however, that an alternative interpretation may be that subordinate living may empower a form of relational power.”
—Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
“The feminist resistance [Ingersoll] documents, if able to assert itself, could have profound consequences not only for evangelical women but for the rest of us as well, by opening up the door for a detente in our current culture wars.”
—The Women's Review of Books
“Ingersoll has done the sociology of religion an enormous service by providing a more nuanced description of the ongoing personal and institutional struggles of the minority of conservative Protestants who identify themselves both evangelical and feminist.”
—Sally K. Gallagher, Oregon State University
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