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Queer Theory, Sexuality and Religion

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  • L350 Religion
  • L320 Gender Studies
  • L300 Sociology
  • L900 Cultural Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Religious Science


The chapter seeks to situate the approaches of queer theory as they have developed over the last twenty years in relation to the study of religion. Its focus is on the notion of queering religion as well as methodology in religious studies. By starting with methodology, the chapter offers pointers toward how queer critiques might be engendered. We give some thought to when – that is to say the historical context of queer theory and its emergence out of the politics of identity. Offering insight into how queer ‘doubts’ might be productively raised concerning the whatness - the nature, purpose and effects of categories such as religion, spirituality, theology (and their epistemologies) – will outline its deconstructive purpose. We next speculate on who has been key in synthesising questions of religion, spirituality, and sexuality in significant ways, namely Butler and Foucault, but also others less known such as Althaus-Reid, Warner, and Loughlin. We also draw attention to where queer theory has been exercised, and what its geo-political influences might be. Finally we mention how the trope of damage has permeated thinking on religion, spirituality and sexuality.

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