Reading: The Normative Power of Images: Religion, Gender, Visuality


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Guest Editorial

The Normative Power of Images: Religion, Gender, Visuality


Stefanie Knauss ,

Villanova University, US
About Stefanie

Stefanie Knauss is assistant professor of theology at Villanova University (USA).

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Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati

University of Zurich, CH
About Daria
Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati ia s professor fot teh Study of Religion and director of the interdiszilinary Centre for Religion, Economy and Politics.
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In this introductory article to the special issue of Religion and Gender on gender, normativity and visuality, we establish the theoretical framework to discuss the influence of visual culture on gender norms. This introduction also provides a reflection on how these norms are communicated, reaffirmed and contested in religious contexts. We introduce the notion of visuality as individual and collective signifying practices, with a particular focus on how this regards gender norms. Two main ways in which religion, gender and normativity are negotiated in visual meaning making processes are outlined: on the one hand, the religious legitimation of gender norms and their communication and confirmation through visual material, and on the other hand, the challenge of these norms through the participation in visual culture by means of seeing and creating. These introductory reflections highlight the common concerns of the articles collected in this issue: the connection between the visualisation of gender roles within religious traditions and the influence of religious gender norms in other fields of (visual) culture.

How to Cite: Knauss, S. and Pezzoli-Olgiati, D., 2015. The Normative Power of Images: Religion, Gender, Visuality. Religion and Gender, 5(1), pp.1–17. DOI:
Published on 05 Oct 2015.


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