This chapter explores the formation of religious and gender scripts in two types of transformation narratives, namely those of religious conversion and transgender transition. These two types of transformation are closely related. Religious conversions almost always include a certain degree of gender transformation, such as adopting rituals that affirm gender identity in new ways. Likewise, transgender transitions are often narrated in ways reminiscent of the traditional Protestant conversion plot (Prosser 1998). I will argue that a dialogue between transgender studies and conversion studies as ‘disciplines of personal transition’ is helpful in understanding the formation, fixedness, and fluidity of the scripts of religion and gender that underlie processes of identity-formation in present-day Western culture. I demonstrate this approach by discussing embodied transition in two transition narratives in the context of Judaism. The analysis is based on two autobiographies that highlight gendered and/or religious transformation in the context of Judaism: Uncovered (2012), in which Leah Lax narrates her conversion to and then departure from Hasidic Judaism, and Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders (2012), by Joy Ladin.
|Title of host publication||Transforming Bodies and Religions|
|Subtitle of host publication||Powers and Agencies in Contemporary Europe|
|Editors||Mariecke van den Berg, Lieke L. Schrijvers, Jelle O. Wiering, Anne-Marie Korte|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2020|
|Name||Routledge Critical Studies in Religion, Gender and Sexuality|