Patriarchal Religion, Sexuality and Gender

The Wake Forest Journal of Law and Policy is hosting its inaugural symposium, “Patriarchal Religion, Sexuality and Gender,” from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17, in Room 1312 of the Worrell Professional Center.

Patriarchal religion has been the chief guarantor of straight male power historically. Fundamentalist religions continue to claim authority over the principal social and legal issues of today. This symposium explores the ways in which patriarchy continues to exert control over women and sexual minorities through artificial gender and sexuality norms enforced as moral truth.

The symposium will include a critical evaluation of so-called “new natural law” theory, the relationship between patriarchal religious myth and the proliferation of pornography and woman-hating in Western popular culture, the development of gender and sexuality norms and the treatment of non-conformists in the Islamic legal tradition.

The event is free and open to the public.

The featured speakers include :

  • David Richards, New York University School of Law, who will speak on the new natural law theory as it relates to gay rights;
  • Nicholas Bamforth, Oxford Law, Queen’s College, Oxford, U.K., who will discuss how new natural law entails the concealed use of religious argument in political and legal discourse, especially in the United States;
  • Jane Caputi, Florida Atlantic University, who will discuss the relationship between pornography and patriarchal religious myth;

This symposium is made possible by the generous donations by Wake Forest Women’s and Gender Studies, the Office of the Provost, The Easley Fund and the Wake Forest Department of Religion.

Schedule of Events



9:00 – 9:30 a.m. Introduction to topic and speakers


9:30 – 10:20 a.m.

Speaker David Richards(Faculty Respondent – Kevin Jung) (Student Respondent – Peter H. Ledford, JD 2011)



10:20 – 10:30 a.m.



10:30 – 11:20 a.m.


Lunch for Speakers and Invited Faculty in the Autumn Room

1:00 – 1:50 p.m.



Speaker Nicholas Bamforth (Faculty Respondent – Wilson Parker) (Student Respondent – Justin B. Stone, JD 2011)



1:50 – 2:00 p.m.



2:50 – 2:50 p.m.



Speaker Jane Caputi (Faculty Respondent – Andrew Smiler) (Student Respondent – Amanda N. Thompson, JD 2010)



2:50 – 3:15 p.m. Final Questions for Panel


3:15 – 3:30 p.m. Closing Remarks

3:30 p.m. Symposium Reception