AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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For over twenty-five years, this Unit has employed feminist perspectives to explore the multiple dimensions of lesbian interaction with religion, providing one of the few consistent academic settings where discussions on lesbian issues in religion and feminist perspectives on lesbian issues take place. Whether pursued through religious studies, social-scientific, historical, or theological methods during the approach to the academic study of religion, lesbian-feminist scholarship challenges hegemonic discourse within gay, lesbian, and queer movements that function to privilege queer theory as capable of eclipsing theories and methodologies that are explicitly feminist in the face of entrenched patriarchy and self-consciously lesbian in the face of persistent maleness and heteronormativity. Along with the obvious concern for both historical and contemporary issues pertaining to gender and sexuality, a longstanding feature of the scholarship of this Unit has been analysis of race/class/postcolonial critiques. The Unit handles important, diverse, and timely themes, providing a theoretical space for probing and further developing the openings and opportunities afforded by changing sociopolitical and theoretical contexts.
Joint session with the Gay Men and Religion Unit: "Gay Theologies and Activism"
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 LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ relationships. (co-sponsored with Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion and Gay Men and Religion units)
Joint session with the Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching, and Activism Unit and the Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Unit: "Reading Mary Daly in Contemporary Times"
The Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion Unit, the Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching, and Activism Unit, and the Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Unit are co-sponsoring a panel on the work of Mary Daly, and its relevance to feminist critiques of religion in the 21st century. This coincides with the publication of The Mary Daly Reader (ed. Jennifer Rycenga and Linda Barufaldi; NYU Press); the co-editors will be present as respondents. Possible themes include Daly’s significance given the resurgence of explicit sexism, racism, and nationalism in world politics; how and why debates concerning Daly’s thought on issues of race, transgender identity, and separatism, can now be assessed historically; responses of young feminists and womanists to rediscovering Daly’s work; Daly’s transformative yet simultaneously tempestuous impact on the field of women and religion; lesbian identity as an ideological more than embodied position in the 21st century, and the relevance of Daly's legacy for new challenges of androcentricism that take into account a wider "animal-human" framework. Both paper proposals and nominations for a panel presentation will be considered.
Paper session for Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion Unit: "The Lesbian as a Space for Revolution in Communities, Organizations, and Politics"
The Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion Unit seeks papers that challenge, among other topics, the role and space of lesbians in communities, organizations, and politics. We wish to explore the many intersections of lesbian and/or feminist identities, with particular attention to how shared common ground as well as areas of dissonance. What does the contested space of lesbian contribute under the LGBTQ umbrella? How does the LGBTQ community and/or feminist theologies benefit or challenge the idea of lesbian? How does the space of lesbian contribute to revolutionary politics and practice? What are the roles of lesbian allies? How do lesbian identities intersect with gender identities, and how do these intersections come to bear on our shared experiences?
Note: We've been asked to co-sponsor a film screening and audience Q&A, entitled: FORGING VOICE – Feminist Pedagogy, Theopoetics, and Film. We have accepted this co-sponsorship from Religion, Film, and Visual Culture Unit.