AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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The Gay Men and Religion Unit:
• provides scholarly reflection and writing on the intersections of gay male experience, including sexual experiences, with religious traditions and spiritual practices;
• fosters ongoing contributions by gay men to religious scholarship in all its forms;
• critically challenges homophobic scholarship and religious teaching, on the one hand, and aspects of the LGBTQI equality movement that promote assimilation and normalization, on the other;
• engages a variety of theoretical and political discourses, which critique essentialist notions of gay male identity; and,
• promotes recognition of the diversity of men-who-have-sex-with-men across time and throughout the world and investigates both the common and the particular among such persons—including their discourses around sexuality and around religion.
The Gay Men in Religion Unit presents our 2017 Call for Papers that addresses the following questions/themes:
Gay Male Religious Experiences and Public/Private Lives
The notion of vulnerability among gay men is changing in the era of the dating app. What kinds of vulnerability are constructive (queerness as a gift) and which are destructive? How have gay/MSM dating apps affected experiences/practices of embodiment? Does the representation of religious identities on gay dating apps increase or decrease vulnerability? Does cyberspace enable new kinds of engagement (engaygement)? How can religious doctrines and practices (incarnation and the (virtual) body of Christ, detachment and alleviation of suffering, etc.) reconceive gay male vulnerability?
In the U.S. and other Western countries gay clubs/bars/other gathering spaces are closing and LGBT churches are shrinking. Is there a correlation between the disappearance of religious and secular gay spaces, or are they separate phenomena? What explains these developments (e.g., the success of online dating apps or growing inclusiveness of churches)? What are the effects (e.g., decrease of visibility of, and sense of community among, (religious) LGBTs)? [possible co-sponsorship with Religion and City Unit]
Gay Theologies and Activism
In the aftermath of Brexit and the rise of Trump, we want to examine the intersections of religion, gay male identities, and activism. Further, we invite examination of white gay male support for Trump and the roles of homonationalism and racism. Are there new moral frames or epistemic changes in language and concepts that we may use in response to homonationalism and racism in gay communities? Is there a prophetic call for gay men to “Act Up” again? What role might gay theologies play in responding to these events?
Given that Trump will have the opportunity to nominate at least one potential Supreme Court justice, will have a Republican controlled Congress, and can roll back President Obama’s Executive Orders, there may be a very different legal and political landscape for LGBT relationships. We invite papers that examine the role of theology in response to Trump/Pence’s anti-LGBTQ stances, particularly in relation to gay marriage. This is a continuation of 2016’s “Did We Win?” conversation that examined the Obergefell decision and its meanings for LGBTQI relationships. (co-sponsored with Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion)
Author Meets Critics
We invite paper proposals that examine Heather R. White’s Reforming Sodom: Protestants and the Rise of Gay Rights (University of North Carolina Press, 2015)
Broader Theoretical Questions
We seek papers that address the general terrain and most urgent questions in the broad field of research on gay men and religion. We welcome papers that propose new directions in research in this area.