The 2018 Annual Willis Wood Lecture will feature Judith Plaskow discussing "Bathroom Anxiety: Frankness, Disgust and the Dilemmas of Being Human."
As the flurry of 'bathroom bills' restricting access for transgender people in North Carolina and other states suggests, there is something about the topic of toilets that engenders intense anxiety, fascination and disgust. Attitudes towards toilets and elimination are connected to understandings of what it means to be human as well as the ways social hierarchies are constructed and justified. The lecture will look at the relationship between attitudes towards toilets, excretion and issues of access through the lens of Jewish sources.
Judith Plaskow wrote the very first book of Jewish feminist theology 27 years ago, the 1991 classic Standing at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective. This landmark book critiqued the patriarchal foundations of Judaism and led to a watershed moment in Jewish thought, as feminist-minded scholars and practitioners alike sought to reshape the tradition in ways that supported women’s full participation in Jewish leadership and worship. She writes and speaks extensively on the subject of Jewish feminism and theology. She is the author/co-author of several other books on feminism and religion, including The Coming of Lilith: Essays on Feminism, Judaism, and Sexual Ethics (2005), Weaving the Visions: New Patterns in Feminist Spirituality (1989) as well as the recent (2016) Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology. She is co-founder of the Journal of Religious Studies in Religion and has formerly served as president of the American Academy of Religion.