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Chapter 8 Life’s Lesions 1. World religions include all of the following except ________. a. Buddhism b. Shamanism c. Confucianism d. Judaism Answer: B Rationale: Shamanism is not typically considered one of the major world religions. It is more of a cultural practice involving spiritual healing and communication with the spirit world, rather than a structured religious system like Buddhism, Confucianism, or Judaism. 2. Which of the following statements about world religions is true? a. World religions have some specialists for thinking and healing, and others for emotions and performing ritual. b. They may expand through colonialism, evangelism, military enforcement, or economic coercion. c. World religions depend on embodied rather than authoritative knowledge. d. They acknowledge human suffering, and appoint women to specialize in religious healing. Answer: B Rationale: World religions have historically expanded through various means such as colonialism, evangelism, military conquests, and economic influence, spreading their beliefs and practices to different regions and cultures. 3. Which researcher/research interest pair is matched correctly? a. Janice Boddy/zār cult b. Brigitte Jordan/womanism c. Mama Lola/Vodou d. I.M. Lewis/Korean shamanism Answer: A Rationale: Janice Boddy is known for her research on the zār cult in Sudan, particularly its impact on women's lives and experiences. The zār cult involves spirit possession and healing rituals, making it a fitting match for Boddy's research interest. 4. Generally-speaking, women’s religions _______. a. denounce pregnancy and motherhood for the pain these experiences bring to women b. can be conceived of as spiritual expressions of patriarchal religious hierarchies c. acknowledge and attempt to alleviate suffering through various and often eclectic means d. all of the above Answer: C Rationale: Women's religions often acknowledge and attempt to alleviate suffering through various means, including spiritual practices, rituals, and communal support systems. They may offer avenues for empowerment and healing, countering traditional patriarchal structures rather than reinforcing them. 5. Women as healers create authority through _________. a. embodied knowledge b. evangelism c. spells and potions d. fear Answer: A Rationale: Women as healers often create authority through their embodied knowledge, gained through experience, intuition, and cultural teachings. Their ability to understand and address health issues on a holistic level, incorporating physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions, grants them authority within their communities. 6. Which of the following statements about the relationship between healing and religion is true? a. The current boundaries between biomedicine and religion did not always exist. b. The boundaries between science and religion were created long ago, and will never be renegotiated. c. Most people around the world view the supernatural and therapeutic as completely separate. d. Healing and religion have nothing to do with one another in the United States today. Answer: A Rationale: The current boundaries between biomedicine and religion are relatively recent developments in human history. In many cultures, healing and religion were deeply intertwined, with spiritual beliefs and practices playing a significant role in healthcare and well-being. 7. Complete the sentence: Spirit possession ________. a. addresses and explains imaginary problems b. is the same as mental illness c. is an experience unique to women d. separates individuals from their socially constructed selves e. is only done in primitive cultures Answer: D Rationale: Spirit possession is often believed to separate individuals from their socially constructed selves, allowing them to channel spirits or divine entities and engage in behaviors or activities that are not typical of their everyday personalities. 8. In the Zuni religious tradition, women are considered ________. a. inferior to men who have a stronger connection to the supernatural b. closer to nature, and therefore impure c. purer than men, and therefore less in need of publicized ceremonies d. more powerful than men, and should be feared Answer: C Rationale: In the Zuni religious tradition, women are often considered purer than men and are therefore less in need of publicized ceremonies to maintain spiritual balance and harmony. This belief reflects cultural attitudes towards gender and spirituality within the Zuni community. 9. All around the world, women practice various forms of divination. Divination means ________. a. becoming divine, through reincarnation b. discovering the otherwise unknowable c. becoming possessed by spirits d. taking over traditional male religious roles Answer: B Rationale: Divination involves attempting to discover the otherwise unknowable, often through supernatural or mystical means such as interpreting signs, symbols, or omens. Women have historically played significant roles in divination practices across different cultures and religious traditions. 10. Anthropologist Kaja Finkler is known for her work on _________. a. female Spiritualist healers in Mexico b. women and shamanism in Korea c. women’s secret societies in Sierra Leone d. Haitian Vodou in New York City Answer: A Rationale: Kaja Finkler is known for her research on female Spiritualist healers in Mexico, particularly their role in providing spiritual and therapeutic services within their communities. Her work highlights the intersection of gender, spirituality, and healing practices in Mexican society. 11. Which of the following statements about Santería is correct? a. Santería is the religion of elite Cuban Roman Catholics. b. Santería is too secret to talk about. c. Santería incorporates ritual assistance from Yoruba spirits and orishas. d. Santería has become extinct as a result of the African slave trade. Answer: C Rationale: Option C is correct because Santería, originating from the Yoruba religion of West Africa, involves the veneration of Yoruba spirits and orishas, which are believed to intercede on behalf of practitioners. Santería is a syncretic religion that combines elements of Yoruba spirituality with Roman Catholicism, making option C the accurate statement. 12. Of the following, which is common to Vodou, Candomblé and Santería? a. rejection of anything associated with world religions b. the absence of female ritual specialists c. the use of witchcraft d. a history of colonialism and slavery Answer: D Rationale: Option D is correct because all three religions—Vodou, Candomblé, and Santería—share a history of colonialism and slavery. These religions emerged in regions heavily impacted by European colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade, shaping their beliefs, practices, and cultural contexts. 13. Which of the following characterizes healing in women’s religions? a. Female healers spend years in extensive training away from home. b. Women’s religious healing is a deviant form of the Western biomedical tradition. c. Healers generally have suffered and know of loss and pain. d. The written traditions go back many centuries. Answer: C Rationale: Option C is correct because healing in women's religions often involves healers who have personally experienced suffering and loss. This firsthand understanding of pain and struggle can enhance their effectiveness as healers within their communities. 14. Mama Lola is the name of _______. a. a Vodou priestess in New York City b. professional healer Alourdes Margaux c. a woman who calls out spirits like Ezili, Dambala, and Gede d. all of the above Answer: D Rationale: Option D is correct because Mama Lola is a renowned Vodou priestess in New York City named Alourdes Margaux. She is well-known for her spiritual work, calling upon spirits like Ezili, Dambala, and Gede in her practice. 15. “Harshly fated” Korean housewives experience what we in America might call a “nervous breakdown.” Which of the following statements apply to these women? a. Western medicines have proven effective for women in the early stages of illness. b. Bed rest and herbal medicines will return the woman to good health. c. Women may be possessed, transformed into shamans, and thus healed. d. Victims become obsessed with performing feminine tasks like housecleaning. Answer: C Rationale: Option C is correct because in Korean culture, "harshly fated" women who experience mental health issues may be viewed as potential candidates for possession and transformation into shamans. This process is seen as a means of healing and spiritual empowerment. 16. With which of the following would women of the zār cult in Sudan disagree? a. Women must strictly control their speech and actions, even during periods of possession. b. Zār spirits are like husbands—they are unpredictable and restrict women. c. Women who have lost many children or have unstable marriages are likely to become possessed. d. Zār spirits are subject to the laws of Allah. Answer: A Rationale: Option A is correct because women of the zār cult in Sudan believe that during possession, they should not control their speech and actions strictly. Instead, they allow themselves to be influenced by the spirits, expressing themselves freely during these trance states. 17. The “life lesions” of women _______. a. tend to be expressed in their physical bodies b. stem from their feelings of betrayal and struggle c. are not easily “cured” d. all of the above Answer: D Rationale: Option D is correct because the "life lesions" experienced by women encompass physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. These lesions are often expressed through physical symptoms, stem from experiences of betrayal and struggle, and may not have straightforward solutions, making all options applicable. 18. Which of the following has NOT been offered as an explanation for women’s high participation in possession trance behavior? a. Women are often deprived of sufficient levels of important nutrients, like calcium, making it easier for them to enter altered states of consciousness. b. Women benefit from spirit possession when they receive material gifts, such as jewelry and clothing, demanded by the spirits. c. Men have no natural ability to enter trance, only women do. d. Possession allows women to process experiences restricted by everyday gender ideologies. Answer: C Rationale: Option C is correct because women's high participation in possession trance behavior is not explained by the assertion that men have no natural ability to enter trance. In fact, trance states are not inherently gender-specific, and both men and women across cultures can experience possession. 19. Which of the following is NOT a common characteristic of women’s religions? a. a focus on social, natural, and supernatural experiences b. motherhood as a pivotal metaphor c. acknowledgement of suffering and strategies for healing d. segregation of women from men Answer: D Rationale: Option D is correct because the segregation of women from men is not a common characteristic of women's religions. Many women's religious traditions emphasize inclusivity and community participation rather than segregation based on gender. 20. Which of the following statements is correct? a. Human religions exhibit a sexual division of labor. b. Because of their role as child bearers, women are known as the gate-keepers of world religions. c. In women’s religions, authoritative knowledge is more important than experiential knowledge. d. World religions are the oldest and most long-lasting religions. Answer: A Rationale: Option A is correct because many human religions exhibit a sexual division of labor, with specific roles and responsibilities assigned based on gender. This division often reflects societal norms and expectations regarding gender roles within religious contexts. ESSAY QUESTIONS 1. Describe three types of life’s lesions women face, providing examples from cultures profiled in Chapter 8. What sort of therapies do women seek in order to alleviate their suffering, and why? Answer: Women across cultures face various life challenges, often referred to as life's lesions. Three types of these challenges include reproductive health issues, domestic violence, and economic inequality. For example, in some cultures like parts of rural India, women may suffer from reproductive health issues such as infertility or complications during childbirth due to inadequate healthcare access or traditional practices. Additionally, domestic violence is prevalent in many societies, such as among Indigenous women in North America or women in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, where they may face physical, emotional, or sexual abuse within intimate relationships. Economic inequality is another significant challenge, where women face barriers to education, employment, and financial independence, as seen in many patriarchal societies worldwide. In seeking therapies to alleviate their suffering, women often turn to various forms of healing practices rooted in their cultural and religious beliefs. For example, in India, women facing reproductive health issues may seek treatments from traditional healers or participate in rituals and ceremonies aimed at promoting fertility and well-being. Similarly, survivors of domestic violence may seek support from community elders, counselors, or religious leaders who offer counseling, spiritual guidance, and protection. Economic empowerment programs, vocational training, and microfinance initiatives are also sought after by women aiming to address economic inequality, providing them with opportunities for self-sufficiency and empowerment. These therapies are sought because they offer women a sense of hope, validation, and connection to their cultural and spiritual heritage, empowering them to navigate and overcome their life's lesions. 2. Explain the relationship between 1) biomedicine, science, and world religions and 2) women’s experiences of suffering and healing. Support your answer with specific examples. Include an analysis of how other cultural features, such as political organization, economics, and gender ideologies influence each. Answer: The relationship between biomedicine, science, world religions, and women's experiences of suffering and healing is complex and multifaceted, influenced by various cultural features such as political organization, economics, and gender ideologies. Biomedicine and science, often associated with Western modernity, have had a significant impact on shaping healthcare systems globally. However, these systems may not always align with the cultural beliefs and practices of diverse populations, particularly regarding women's health and healing. World religions play a crucial role in shaping beliefs and practices related to suffering and healing. For example, in Catholicism, suffering is often viewed as redemptive, with rituals such as confession and sacraments providing avenues for spiritual healing. In contrast, in Hinduism, concepts like karma and dharma may influence interpretations of suffering and the pursuit of remedies through rituals, prayers, and offerings. The influence of political organization and economics is evident in access to healthcare and resources for women's healing. In patriarchal societies, political structures may perpetuate gender inequalities, limiting women's access to healthcare and decision-making power over their bodies. Economic disparities also impact women's ability to seek healing, with marginalized women facing greater barriers due to poverty and lack of resources. Gender ideologies shape perceptions of women's suffering and healing, often intersecting with religious and cultural beliefs. For example, in some societies, women's suffering may be attributed to spiritual causes, leading to stigmatization or blame. In others, patriarchal norms may restrict women's autonomy in seeking healthcare or accessing certain treatments. Overall, the relationship between biomedicine, science, world religions, and women's experiences of suffering and healing is dynamic and influenced by cultural contexts. Understanding these dynamics requires considering broader socio-cultural factors that shape women's access to healthcare, beliefs about illness and wellness, and pathways to healing. 3. Compare and contrast spirit possession in the Vodou tradition with the call to shamanism for Korean housewives. Can you cite a similar phenomenon from your own or another culture? Answer: In the Vodou tradition of Haiti, spirit possession is a central aspect of religious practice, where devotees invite spirits to enter their bodies during rituals. This possession is seen as a means of communication with the divine, healing, and addressing social and personal issues. In contrast, the call to shamanism for Korean housewives involves women experiencing dreams or visions prompting them to become shamans, intermediaries between the human and spirit worlds. Shamans perform rituals, offer healing, and provide spiritual guidance to their communities. A similar phenomenon can be observed in various cultures worldwide, such as in parts of Africa where individuals experience spirit possession as a form of divine communication and healing. In these contexts, individuals may undergo trance states or ecstatic experiences, allowing spirits to inhabit their bodies and convey messages or perform healing rituals. These practices are often deeply intertwined with cultural beliefs, cosmologies, and religious traditions, highlighting the diversity of spiritual experiences and expressions across different societies. 4. Why have women’s religions and spiritual practices gone unrecognized by scholars for so long? What power issues are at stake? Incorporate ideas of public and private spheres, conspicuous worship, and embodied and authoritative knowledge in your answer. Answer: Women's religions and spiritual practices have often been overlooked or marginalized by scholars due to various factors, including patriarchal biases, Eurocentrism, and the privileging of certain forms of knowledge over others. Historically, scholarly discourse has been dominated by male perspectives, leading to the neglect of women's religious experiences and contributions. Additionally, women's religious practices have often been relegated to the private sphere, seen as less significant or legitimate than institutionalized forms of worship. Power issues are at stake in the recognition of women's religions and spiritual practices, as these practices challenge dominant narratives and structures of authority. By centering women's experiences and forms of knowledge, scholars disrupt traditional hierarchies of power within religious institutions and academia. Conspicuous worship, or highly visible religious practices performed by women, can challenge norms of gender segregation and patriarchal control over religious spaces. Embodied and authoritative knowledge, rooted in women's lived experiences and spiritual connections, offer alternative perspectives that challenge male-dominated interpretations of religious texts and traditions. However, patriarchal power structures often resist the recognition of women's spiritual authority, fearing the destabilization of existing hierarchies. Recognizing and valuing women's religions and spiritual practices requires confronting entrenched power dynamics and acknowledging the diversity of religious experiences beyond patriarchal frameworks. It involves elevating women's voices, reclaiming marginalized narratives, and challenging patriarchal interpretations of religious texts and traditions. 5. In the zār cult, male as well as female spirits possess women. Do such gender crossings transcend, challenge, or reinforce the gender ideology prevalent in Muslim Sudan? Describe some other trance behaviors that conflict with ideas of proper femininity in the community. Answer: In the zār cult of Muslim Sudan, both male and female spirits possess women, challenging traditional gender norms and roles. These gender crossings can be seen as challenging the gender ideology prevalent in Sudanese society, which often emphasizes strict gender segregation and prescribed roles for men and women. By allowing women to embody male spirits and engage in unconventional behaviors during trance states, the zār cult provides a space for subverting gender norms and expressing alternative forms of femininity. Other trance behaviors in the community may also conflict with ideas of proper femininity, such as vocalizations, movements, or expressions considered inappropriate or immodest according to societal standards. Women in trance states may exhibit behaviors perceived. Test Bank for A World Full of Women Martha C. Ward, Monica D. Edelstein 9780205957620

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