PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Denver, CO
November 17-20, 2018

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Gay Men and Religion Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

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
• 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.

Call for Papers: 

The Gay Men in Religion Group presents our 2018 Call for Papers that addresses the following questions/themes:

• AAR Theme
The theme for the 2018 Annual Meeting is “Religious Studies in Public: The Civic Responsibilities, Opportunities, and Risks Facing Scholars of Religion.” In keeping with the theme, we invite papers that address the intersections of gay men’s religious and sexual lives and how we construe and navigate various “publics”.

• Religious Exemptions/Freedom
We invite paper proposals that continue to explore the challenges posed by religious exemption laws and how they affect LGBT persons. We also welcome papers that explore conservative organizations’ (e.g., Focus on the Family, or the American Family Association) representations of homosexuality—particularly gay male sexuality—as a threat to religious freedom—and how gay male conceptions of freedom/liberty might compare and contrast with queer conceptions of liberty.

• The Rise of Conservatism, Homonationalism and Islamophobia among LGBTs
We invite paper proposals that explore the global emergence of conservatism, nationalism and/or Islamophobia among LGBTs. In the United States, we are seeing a surge in white gay men openly embracing forms of racist behaviour. We also think of author and former Breitbart journalist Milo Yiannopoulos, leader of Germany’s right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland Alice Weidel, and—although already more than fifteen years ago—Dutch right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn (assassinated in 2002), and other LGBT politicians or activists that combine conservatism, nationalism and/or Islamophobia. Papers could respond to questions such as: How do conservatism, nationalism and Islamophobia interrelate? Do we see these developments among LGBTs more broadly or only/mainly among certain white gay men—and how can we make sense of this? How do these developments relate to how radical Islamists take sexual freedom and diversity as a major symptom of western liberalism that they condemn? Do these movements point to the bankruptcy of progressive/left, globalist LGBT policies? How are (LGBT) theologians and scholars of religion to respond?

• Moonlight in the Spotlight
The movie Moonlight won rave reviews and awards for its complex presentation of Black male sexuality. We invite papers that would situate Moonlight and its representations of Black male sexuality in religious contexts.

• African American and Afro-Latin Gay Male Diva Worship: Black Divas as Religious Text
We invite papers that explore the religious or quasi-religious relationship between African diasporic gay men (particularly African American and Afro-Latin gay men) and “Black Divas” (e.g., Beyoncé, Rihanna, RuPaul etc.).

• Religion and Indigenous Gay Sexualities
We welcome papers that address the intersection of gay sexualities (dissident, non-normative, non-conforming) and religious identity or subjectivity in indigenous cultures/societies—past and present—and how the meaning of subjects that engage in heterodox or antinomian acts is constructed, negotiated, and contested by hegemonic religious discourses, or by its connection to indigeneity.

• BDSM as Theology
We welcome papers that explore how BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission & Sadism & Masochism) can be used as a lens to analyze theological concepts or religious practices and/or vice-versa.

• Pre-Arranged Panel: Un/Familiar Theology
We have pre-arranged a book review panel on Susannah Cornwall's new book Un/Familiar Theology: Reconceiving Sex, Reproduction, and Generativity (T&T Clark, 2017). Through engagement with theologies of adoption, pro-natalism, marriage, and queer theology, Susannah Cornwall figures developments in models of marriage and family not as distortions of or divergences from the divinely-ordained blueprint, but as developments already of a piece with these institution's being. Much Christian theological discussion of family, sex and marriage seems to claim that they are (or should be) unchanging and immaculate; that to celebrate their shifting and developing natures is to reject them as good gifts of God. However, models of marriage, family, parenting and reproduction have changed and are still, in some cases radically, changing. These changes are not all a raging tide to be turned back, but in continuity with goods deeply embedded in the tradition. Alternative forms of marriage and family stand as signs of the hope of the possibility of change. Changed institutions, such as same-sex marriage, are new beginnings with the potential to be fruitful and generative in their own right. In them, humans create new imaginaries which more fully acknowledge the interactive nature of our relationships with the world and the divine. We are looking forward to this pre-arranged panel, and while we are not considering proposals for this panel, we do invite a range of proposals on queer theory, texts, and theological construction. Co-sponsored by the Gay Men and Religion Unit and the Sacred Texts, Theory, and Theological Construction Unit.

• The Future of Gay Male Studies in Religion
We welcome paper proposals that respond to the question, “What is the future of gay male studies in religion?” We also welcome papers that propose future directions in gay male studies in religion.

• Open Call
In addition, we also invite paper or panel proposals that fit within the mission of the Gay Men and Religion Group.

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection
ChairSteering Committee