I was privileged to present the following blind peer-reviewed paper titled “The Hermeneutics of Gendered Sacred Space: Multivalent Perspectives from the Christian Tradition” during the 11th Architecture Culture Spirituality Symposium at Taliesin West in Arizona on May 18, 2019.
ABSTRACT: One social construct that is sometimes overlooked in the study of sacred architecture involves how the binary symbolism of gender (i.e., feminine and masculine) is mapped or “encoded in built form.” What are the meanings associated with placing women or a bride on the left (north) side of a church and the men or groom opposite on the right (south)? This paper seeks to explore the social construct of gendered sacred space for the Christian tradition and its multivalent perspectives that have lasted nearly 1,700 years. In particular, the paper advances a claim to improve the impoverished, neglected, and underappreciated understanding that gender separation in sacred architecture was not always a demeaning practice but one that celebrated the complementary nature of men and women.
CITATION: Brandon Ro. “The Hermeneutics of Gendered Sacred Space: Multivalent Perspectives from the Christian Tradition.” In Collected Abstracts of the Eleventh Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality Symposium, edited by Julio Bermudez, Suzanne Bott, Michael Crosbie, and Michael Desmond, pp.1-7. (Scottsdale, AZ: ACS Forum, 2019).