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PThU Academic Event: Pearls of Genderstudies in Theology and History 

How are gender studies important to theology? On 10 December, esteemed international researchers in the field of gender studies will provide lectures and discussions on this topic. The event will focus on Gender, Theology, and History and will feature three visiting professors from Kenya, Israel and the UK. 

Programme overview

The programme aims to give you a taste of what makes gender studies in theology, religious studies, history and contemporary culture so fascinating and necessary. This afternoon will give you some pearls, showing how gender studies are an important part of theology and history. What could you and what could PThU gain by (stronger) attention to gender issues in society, church, and academy?

Mini lectures will be given by prof. Esther Mombo (Kenya), prof. Bat-Sheva Stern (Israel), prof. Nicola Slee (UK/VU) and prof. Heleen zorgdrager (PThU Amsterdam).   

Dates, locations and cost

Date: Tuesday 10 December 2019
Time: 13:30 - 17:00 hrs
Venue: Protestant Theological University, Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105 (VU building), Wing E1, room 1E-24
Cost: free

Please register for the event by emailing Marjolein Klapwijk, student-assistent, at m2.klapwijk @ pthu.nl.

About the programme 

13.00 Walk in for coffee and tea

13.30 Welcome and Introduction

13.40 Lecture by Esther Mombo: '"Saved and Safe": Women Culture and Well Being in the Church'

14.00 Q&A, and ‘looking in the mirror’ (creative assignment)

14.10 Lecture by Bat-Sheva Stern: ‘Killing Softly with Words: Current Politics, Past Narratives and Herstory in Present-Day Israel.’

14.30 Q&A and ‘looking in the mirror’

14.40 Lecture by Nicola Slee: 'Prayer, Gender, and the Body: Feminist Liturgical Pearls of Practice'

15.00 Q&A and ‘looking in the mirror’

15.10 Break for coffee and tea

15.30 Lecture by Heleen Zorgdrager: ‘Polarisation on gender and sexuality in Europe: theological anthropology as a third space?’

15.50 Q&A and ‘looking in the mirror’

16.00 Response 

16.10 Response

16.20 Panel discussion, Q&A

16.45 Closing

After the session, you are kindly invited to have a drink and a further chat with each other. 

Organisers are Anne-Claire Mulder, associate professor Women’s and Gender Studies, and coordinator and supervisor of the Internships of the PThU Groningen, Heleen Zorgdrager, professor of Systematic Theology and Genderstudies, PThU Amsterdam. 

Introduction to the speakers

Prof. Esther Mombo is an associate professor in the theology department at St. Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya. She teaches church history and theology from women’s perspectives, and interfaith courses. Se also writes on women’s issues, evangelism, HIV/AIDS, Christian-Muslim relations, and poverty in Africa. She works closely with the Programme for Christian and Muslim relations in Africa and is a member of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians. Prof. Mombo earned her Bachelor's Degree from St. Paul’s United Theological College, Master in Philosophy from Trinity College Dublin, and PhD at Edinburgh University.


Prof. Bat-Sheva Margalit Stern is an associate professor of history at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Her fields of research include Women’s Studies, Modern Jewish History and Land of Israel Studies. Professor Stern got her PhD at the University of Haifa and her post-doctoral training at Stanford University. After several years of exploring life in the US, she came back to Israel and became a member of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. She has written several books and articles, including Redemption in Bondage: The Women Workers Movement in Eretz Israel 1920-1939, (Hebrew), 2006, which won the Hecht Prize in 2009.

Prof. Nicola Slee is Director of Research at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, UK and Professor of Feminist Practical Theology at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. She earned her PhD from the University of Birmingham after undergraduate and masters studies at Cambridge. Her fields of research include qualitative research into women’s faith development, feminist poetics, liturgy and spirituality. She convenes the Symposium on the Faith Lives of Women and Girls at Queen’s, Birmingham, and is currently Chair of the British and Irish Association of Practical Theology.
One of her books is called Researching Female Faith: Qualitative Research Methods (2017).  

Prof. Dr. Heleen Zorgdrager is a professor of Systematic Theology and Genderstudies at the Protestant Theological University in Amsterdam. Her current research focuses on theology, gender and sexuality, and Public Theology from a feminist perspective. Part of it focuses on the religious meanings in life stories of transgender persons, and (homo)sexuality, gender, ‘traditional values’ in ecumenical dialogues, in particular in encounters with Orthodox churches. She received her Doctorate of Theology at the Theological University in Kampen, Netherlands. She is co-author of a book on transgenders in church: Wondermooi, zoals U mij gemaakt hebt. Handreiking voor transgender personen en werkers in de kerk, 2019.