2013 Jain Conference: Women’s Perspectives in the Dharma Traditions (and beyond)

August 23 – 24, 2013



Claremont Lincoln University
Mudd Theatre
1325 N. College Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711

In this conference, diverse and many-sided voices will take on two primary tasks: First, to examine how texts and traditions pose concrete obstacles to the full citizenship of women. Second, to articulate new approaches, cultivate alternative readings, and re-frame marginalized perspectives of those very same texts and traditions in order to usher in social equity, gender inclusion, and the co-shaping of abundant communities.

The keynote speakers and presenters represent multiple traditions, philosophical perspectives, and modes of experience. They are scholars, practitioners, activists, and sometimes all three simultaneously.

The conference begins with a candid look at the state of women around the world and will be anchored by keynotes on the state of women in Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Guest presenters open up constructive dialog on topics such as:

  • cultural norms and religious hierarchy
  • women’s bodies and spirituality
  • gendered mythology
  • women and disabilities
  • ecology, animals, and women’s rights
  • confronting and resisting violence
  • “feminism” in diaspora communities
  • gender in the Indian epics
  • alternative gender identities
  • and many more . . .

Additionally, there will be a special evening panel conversation on “Life and Liberation: Diverse Religious Approaches to Gender and Eros” hosted by Dr. Rita Sherma, an exhibit of Jain art previously displayed at the Parliament of World Religions, as well as a trip to the Jain Center of California in Buena Park (transportation by chartered bus provided) for a cultural program, temple tour, closing keynote, and shared meal on Saturday evening, a unique experience not to be missed.

Please join us for this tremendous coalition of fluid, yet forceful, voices as we nurture our bodies with delicious Jain vegan meals, share in ample time for discussion and friendship, and spark our imaginations toward collective actions that can change the shape of our future communities.


Speakers and Schedule

Our distinguished keynote speakers include:

  • Masum Momaya (The Smithsonian)
  • T. S. Rukmani (Concordia University, Montreal)
  • Manisha Sethi (Jamia Millia Islamia University)
  • Rita Gross (University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire)
  • Nikki-Guninder Kaur Singh (Colby College)
  • Edina Lekovic (Muslim Public Affairs Council)
  • Rosemary Radford Reuther (Claremont School of Theology)
  • Rabbi Gail Labovitz (American Jewish University)
  • Rita Sherma (University of Southern California)
  • Karen Torjesen (Claremont Graduate University)

For a complete list of keynote speakers, presenters, and biographies, click here.


Conference Dates and Hours

Friday, August 23: 8:30am-9:00pm
Saturday, August 24: 8:30am-9:00pm

There will be ample times for meals, discussions, and conversation.
A detailed conference schedule can be found here.

2013 Jain Conf Poster-Women in Dharma Trad 8.7

Registration Closed

General Registration: $60
Student Registration: $20
Claremont Faculty/Staff: Free
Conference Speakers: Free

Registration includes (vegan) Jain food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and breaks on both days; and transportation from Claremont Lincoln University to the Jain Center of Southern California in Buena Park on Saturday, August 24th, for a dinner hosted by the Jain community, followed by a final lecture, and Jain cultural program.

Work Trade: There is a limited availability for up to 12 students who wish to work at least 2.5 hours at the conference in lieu of registration fees. Please contact Whitny Braun (whitny.braun@claremontlincoln.org) if interested.

Registration Closed


Travel and Hotel Information


We have reserved a limited number of rooms at the Claremont DoubleTree Hotel, 555 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont, CA, 91711; (909) 626-2411. You can make reservations at a reduced rate ($115/night) until Friday, August 2nd at the 2013 Jain Conference group page or mention the Jain conference rate if you make a reservation by phone. After August 2nd, the room rates return to their regular seasonal prices.  The DoubleTree Hotel is 0.4 miles from campus, or a 10-minute walk.

Please see Travel and Hotel Information page for other hotel options.


The Ontario International Airport (ONT) is 15 minutes from Claremont by car. Taxis are available outside the baggage area (approx. $20-25 for a ride to campus) or you can book a shuttle here.

The Los Angeles International Airport is 50 miles from Claremont. During peak traffic hours (7am-9am; 3pm-6pm), this can be a very lengthy ride (2.5 hours). You can book a shuttle here.

Local Map (click to expand)

Claremont Lincoln University shares the Claremont School of Theology campus, which can be confusing for first-time visitors. This map will help with parking and navigating.

2013 Women's Conf. Map - General






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Co-sponsored by: Center for Jain Studies at Claremont Lincoln UniversityClaremont Lincoln University, the International School for Jain Studies, the Jain Center of Southern California, Jain Meditation International, and the Federation of Jain Associations in North America (JAINA)


Organizing Committee:

Dr. Mamta Shaha
Alka Dalal
Dr. Nitin Shah
Poorvi Parekh
Philip Clayton, Ph.D.
Whitny Braun
Brianne Donaldson, Ph.D.



Jainism is one of the oldest religions originating from India. At the very heart of Jainism is the ethic of non-violence, Ahimsa , which means ‘Respect for all living beings.’ Ahimsa continues to guide the daily lives of all Jains, who are vegetarians, and practice ecology, and conservation. Out of 14 million Jains in the world, 125,000 are settled in North America.

The other two tenets of Jainsim are non-absolutism, which means that real truth has multiple facets, and non-possessiveness, which means that one should balance one’s needs and desires. JAINA is the umbrella organization of nearly 70 Jain centers and congregations in North America, that has Special Consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.