What are 'subjugated knowledges' anyway?

Women’s Voices, the event that promotes theology from a women’s perspective, is now into its 8th year and is due to take place on 15 October. This year four different speakers will offer their views on different aspects of Christian theology, all from a woman’s viewpoint.

The event description has been catching the eye of people around the diocese and only a handful of tickets remain. Some people have commented on the event description and have been curious to know more:

What do our bodies tell us about God? This year's conference focuses on the “subjugated knowledges” of women; truths about God, faith, and life that have traditionally been controlled by others.

If you haven’t read French philosopher, Michel Foucault, you may not have come across the phrase “subjugated knowledges” before.

Foucault coined the term in his writing, Two Lectures in 1980. It refers to those ideas and values held by a minority group in society which struggle to gain mainstream acceptance due to a system of power that seeks to promote and maintain the status quo over the promulgation of new ideas.

Event organiser the Revd Liz Shercliff, an academic and author, as well as diocesan Director of Readers, says that our understanding of Christian theology is dominated by rationalism and argues that because of this, “Christians are more likely to ask what a theology says than what it does, particularly how it might oppress others.”

Liz says that she hopes the event will help us explore what we might learn from women whose voices have been silenced, or whose experiences of God have been discredited. She says: “Michel Foucault suggests that in the modern world power operates in invisible, coercive ways that are difficult to identify and resist. How does this affect the ways we read the Bible and understand God?”

It might be an event that raises more questions than offers answers, but it is hoped people of all church tradition, men and women, young and old, will come to hear these different perspectives on the Bible. 

Book your tickets here

The speakers on the day are: 

The Revd Jenny Bridgman, an ordained priest and Church House officer in the Diocese of Chester who in clergy and lay training. She is currently studying a doctorate exploring power and leadership in local ministry contexts.

Dr. Eve Parker, MLitt, MTh, PhD, Director for Global Mission at USPG and previously a Research Associate in Theological Education at Durham University. Her recent publications include, Trust in Theological Education: Deconstructing 'Trustworthiness' for a Pedagogy of Liberation (London: SCM, 2022) and Theologising with the Sacred 'Prostitutes' of South India: Towards an Indecent Dalit Theology (Leiden: Brill, 2021). 

The Revd Dr. Jasmine Devadason is originally from the Church of South India. Jasmine worked for the Diocese of Manchester as a World Mission officer and has been ordained by the Diocese of Manchester and served as a curate in Christ Church and St. Christopher, West Didsbury. She has completed a PhD at the University of Manchester on examining the Book of Job from a Dalit woman’s perspective.

The Revd Liz Shercliff, is a writer, speaker and researcher. Her books include Exploring Missional Reader Ministry (Grove Books); Straw for the Bricks with Gary O’Neill (SCM); Preaching Women: Gender, Power and the Pulpit (SCM); Out of the Shadows: Preaching the Women of the Bible with Kate Bruce (SCM); and The Present Preacher with Matt Allen (Canterbury Press). She is also the Director of Studies for Readers in Chester Diocese. 

The Revd Dr. Kate Bruce is an RAF Chaplain, writer, speaker, and  retreat leader. She has written Igniting the Heart: Preaching and Imagination (SCM) ; co-edited Wrestling with the Word: Preaching Tricky Texts (SPCK) and co-written, with Liz Shercliff, Out of the Shadows: Preaching the Women of the Bible (SCM). She regularly contributes to conferences on preaching.


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