Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2015 LGBTQ guide to AAR (American Academy of Religion) and SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) Annual Meeting

An amazing variety of 40 LGBT and queer events are planned for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) Nov. 20-23 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Presentations cover everything from Afro-cosmopolitan imagination to ex-gays in in the Dutch Bible Belt, from traditional topics such as Pauline Epistles to pop-culture phenomona like Comic-con and Conchita Wurst. Several presentation titles touch on the erotic with references to “divine enjoyment,” the “hard-body Christianity” behind body-building “muscle gods,” and “intimacy, ecstasy, and the lesbian relation of Annunciation.”

They present liberating new ideas about the Bible, the church, sexual ethics and the impact of Christianity on individuals. Scholars will also take a queer look at every major world religion from various racial, ethnic and cultural perspectives.

Reading the schedule provides a sneak-preview of the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, interesex and queer religious scholarship, even for those who can’t be there. 

The joint annual meeting is the largest gathering of biblical and religion scholars in the world with more than 11,000 attendees.

Books that are up for major LGBTQ discussion this year include "Intersex, Theology, and the Bible: Troubling Bodies in Church, Text, and Society" by Susannah Cornwall, “Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism by Deborah Jian Lee and "Pray the Gay Away: The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays" by Bernadette Barton.

One session is of special interest to readers of the Jesus in Love Blog because it focuses on LGBT Christian art. Three scholars from Europe will deliver presentations on "Queering Christ in Controversial Art: The stagings, effects and subversive potential of the Other Jesus."

It’s possible to do LGBTQ religious events almost non-stop for five days! Sometimes multiple events even overlap.

Getting access to this information is not easy. The Jesus in Love AAR-SBL guide offers a rare glimpse into the fairly private world of scholarship-in-the-making. I hours searching the conference program books with a fine-toothed comb to create this list.

As one reader wrote in response to this guide in a previous year, “Wow - that is so great that you will be consolidating all the LGBTQ sessions - very helpful! Your blog is going to become my go-to site for choosing where to go next :)”

Best wishes to the many friends of the Jesus in Love Blog who will be attending and presenting at AAR-SBL!

If you appreciate this list, please donate to support the Jesus in Love Blog.

Note: Session numbers begin with "A" for AAR, "S" for SBL and "M" for additional meetings. These events are subject to change.

Friday, Nov. 20

A20-100 AAR Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Committee Meeting
Patrick S. Cheng, Chicago Theological Seminary, Presiding
Friday - 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

P20-316 Book Discussion: "Divine Enjoyment: A Theology of Passion and Exuberance" by Elaine Padilla.
Jacob Erickson, St. Olaf College, Presiding
Friday - 6:00 PM-8:30 PM
The book includes interpretations of God as a queer lover.

M20-407 Word Made Fresh: Full Acceptance of LGBTIQ Christians in the Church: Should Evangelicals Change Their Minds?
Thomas Oord, Northwest Nazarene University, Presiding
Friday - 7:00 PM-9:00 PM
The Word Made Fresh lectures seek to stimulate creative dialogue among evangelical Christian scholars from diverse backgrounds about pressing issues in contemporary theology. Sponsored by Azusa Pacific University and Point Loma Nazarene University.
David P. Gushee, Mercer University
Ronald J. Sider, Eastern University

A20-404 Film: "Al Nisa: Black Muslim Women in Atlanta's Gay Mecca"
Friday - 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
In this documentary by Red Summer, women discuss their triple identity as black Muslim lesbians.

A20-402 Film: "Pariah" about a black lesbian in Brooklyn, NY.
Friday - 8:00 PM-10:00 PM

Saturday, Nov. 21

A21-115. Honoring the Scholarship of Randall Bailey, who has advocated for queer,feminist and contextual Bible interpretations.
Saturday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM.

A21-124 Progress and Perils in the Queer-Evangelical Sea Change
Deborah Jian Lee, author of “Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism," Presiding
Saturday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
David P. Gushee, Mercer University
Joshua Wolff, Adler UniversityHaven Herrin, Soulforce, Abilene, TX
Paul Southwick, On God's Campus

A21-146 Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Committee Roundtable Lunch
Patrick S. Cheng, Chicago Theological Seminary, Presiding
Saturday - 11:45 AM-12:45 PM

S21-230 Queering Canons
James Hoke, Drew University, Presiding
11/21/2015 - 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Eric A. Thomas, Drew University on When Eunuchs Read: Black Queer Ambi-veil-ence, Matt 19:12, and Others.
Lynne Gerber, University of California-Berkeley, on Queering the Sacred, Sacralizing the Queer: The Bible and/as Gay Literature at the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco, 1986–2001.
Teresa J. Hornsby, Drury University, on The Slender Man: A Trans Hermeneutic of the Apocalypse
LGBTI/Queer Hermeneutics Business Meeting

S21-252 Intersections of Gender, Race, and Class in Biblical Literature
11/21/2015 - 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Includes Caryn Tamber-Rosenau, Vanderbilt University, on Un-gendering Texts: A Queer Critique of Looking for “Male” and “Female” Voices

A21-227 Lesbians, Dykes, Feminists, and Queers: Who Really Is Part of the "L-Word" Today?
Jennifer Rycenga, San Jose State University, Presiding
Saturday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Raedorah Stewart, Washington, DC on Queer Femmes: Lipstick on My Dipstick and Other Womanist Feminist Lesbian Poems.
Amey Victoria Adkins, Duke University, on Hail, Mary: Intimacy, Ecstasy, and the Lesbian Relation of Annunciation
Sarah Bloesch, Southern Methodist University, on Lesbians in Space and Out of Time: Sexuality on Display from Museums to Prisons
Amy Milligan, Elizabethtown College
Lesbian-Feminist Issues and Religion Group Business Meeting:
Marie Cartier, California State University, Northridge

A21-224 Unfamiliar Spaces: Critical Perspectives on Ethics, Sexuality, Pedagogy, and Erotics
Saturday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Includes Jeremy Posadas, Austin College, on Queering and De-Protestantizing "Religion and Sex/uality” Courses

A21-222 Orthodoxy and Eros: Gender, Sexuality, and Embodiment in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition
Vera Shevzov, Smith College, Presiding
Saturday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Includes Crystal Lubinsky, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, on What’s in a Name?: The Transvestite or Andromimetic Saints of Eastern Christendom

A21-308 Binding Practices: Relational Connection in Visual and Performing Art
Saturday - 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Includes Anne-Marie Korte, Utrecht University, on Queer Iconoclasm and Queer Iconoclash: From the Christas to Madonna

A21-327 Book discussion: The Relevance of Lynne Huffer's Mad for Foucault (Columbia University Press, 2009) and Are the Lips a Grave? A Queer Feminist on the Ethics of Sex (Columbia University Press, 2013) for Theology and the Study of Religion
Mary Keller, University of Wyoming, Presiding
Saturday - 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Includes Jason Frey, Chicago Theological Seminary, on A Queer Vulnerability: Body Ethics and Foucauldian Relationality

A21-341 From Tolerance to Recognition: Recognition and the Acceptance of Otherness
Risto Saarinen, University of Helsinki, Presiding
Saturday - 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Includes Elina Hellqvist, University of Helsinki, on Recognition, Toleration and Identity: LGBTQ in the Lutheran Church

A21-339 Global Perspectives on Religion and HIV/AIDS Seminar
Lynne Gerber, University of California, Berkeley, Presiding
Saturday - 4:00 PM-6:30 PM

A21-312 Guns, Climate, Contraception, and Marriage: How Religion is Shaping American Politics Heading into 2016
Robert P. Jones, Public Religion Research Institute, Washington, D.C., Presiding
Saturday - 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Includes Marie Cartier, California State University, Northridge, on Spouses for Life: How the Fight for Gay Marriage is Changing Religion and Politics

A21-306 Engaging Trans Studies in Religion: Scholarship, Teaching, and the Intersectionalities of Trans Lived Experience
Cameron Partridge, Harvard University, Presiding
Saturday - 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Pacific School of Religion
Jacob Lau, University of California, Los Angeles
Max Strassfeld, University of Arizona
Justin Tanis, Graduate Theological Union
Erin Swenson, Atlanta, GA

A21-408 LGBTIQ Scholars / Scholars of LGBTIQ Studies Reception
Saturday - 9:00 PM-11:00 PM

Sunday, Nov. 22

S22-130 Book discussion on "Intersex, Theology, and the Bible: Troubling Bodies in Church, Text, and Society" by Susannah Cornwall (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
11/22/2015 - 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Joseph Marchal, Ball State University, Presiding
Sean Burke, Luther College
Megan DeFranza, Boston University School of Theology
Teresa Hornsby, Drury University
Candida Moss, University of Notre Dame
Max Strassfeld, University of Arizona
Susannah Cornwall, University of Exeter, Respondent

A22-102 Queer Disability Theory and Theology
Leigh Ann Hildebrand, Graduate Theological Union, Presiding
Sunday - 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Deborah Creamer, Association of Theological Schools, Pittsburgh, PA, and Heike Peckruhn, Daemen College on Cripping Religion.
Max Thornton, Drew University on Trans/Criptions: Gender, Disability, and Liturgical Experience.
Brian Blackmore, Temple University, on Towards a Crip Theology: Biblical Foundations of the Queer Disability Drive.
Cassie Houtz, Harvard University, on Saving the Unsavable: A Queer Redemption.
Karen Bray, Drew University, on Willfully Unredeemed: The Mad Cripping of Liberal Queerdom.

A22-101 Critical Analysis of Gender and Transgender in Indigenous Cultures
Suzanne Owen, Leeds Trinity University, University of Chester, Presiding
Sunday - 9:00 AM-11:00 AM

A22-142 Yoga and Nationalism: Identity and Destiny
Andrew J. Nicholson, Stony Brook University, Presiding
Sunday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Includes Andrea Jain, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, on Where Yoga, Homophobia, and Nationalism Intersect: Baba Ramdev and the Sexual Politics of Yoga

M22-102 Struggling in Good Faith
Sunday - 11:45 AM-12:45 PM
An opportunity to discuss the forthcoming book "Struggling in Good Faith: LGBTQI Inclusion from 13 American Religious Perspectives" with its editors Rabbi Mychal Copeland and Rabbi D'vorah Rose.

A22-212 Violence against Women in Africa: Politics, War, and Religion
Dianna Bell, Vanderbilt University, Presiding
Sunday - 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Includes Michelle Wolff, Duke University, on The “Corrective” Rape of Black Lesbians in South Africa: Locating the Failure of Progressive Politics within Secular Democracy

S22-203 African-American Biblical Hermeneutics
Shively Smith, Wesley Theological Seminary, Presiding
11/22/2015 - 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Includes Stacy Davis, Saint Mary's College (Notre Dame) on Beyond Male and Female: Same-Sex Imagery in Malachi 2

A22-210 Contesting Authority, Reclaiming Traditions: Religion and Gender in Southeast Asia
Emma Tomalin, University of Leeds, Presiding
Sunday - 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Includes David Brian Esch, Florida International Univerity, on The World's First Transgender Mosque: Javanese, Gendered, and Religious Embodiments

A22-230 Book discussion: Erin Runions's "The Babylon Complex: Theopolitical Fantasies of War, Sex, and Sovereignty" (Fordham University Press, 2014)
Edward Silver, Wellesley College, Presiding
Sunday - 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Scholars look at the book based on queer theorizing.

A22-275 Reimagining Religion as Queer Resistance
Linn Tonstad, Yale University, Presiding
Sunday - 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Sonia Crasnow, University of California, Riverside, on Talking About Transition: Addressing Transgender Inclusion in Judaism.
Drake Konow, Meriden, CT, on The Cathedral Project: Protest, Liturgy, and AIDS Activism at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Mara Block, Harvard University, on “Baudelaire’s Dream”: Queer Writing and Parodies of Clinical Discourse.
Heather White, New College of Florida
Queer Studies in Religion Group Business Meeting:
Kent Brintnall, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Thelathia Young, Bucknell University

A22-315 Male Aesthetics and Muscle Gods
Brett Krutzsch, College of Wooster, Presiding
Sunday - 5:00 PM-6:30 PM
This panel explores what the gym-built bodies such as bodybuilders known as "muscle gods" say about gay/hetero/bi men and religion.
Jeffrey F. Keuss, Seattle Pacific University, on Crossfit and Muscular Christianity Resurrected.
Jason Smith, Vanderbilt University, on Foucault for Heisman: Normalizing Power and the "Gym-Built" Amateur Athlete.
Scott Strednak Singer, Temple University, on From Muscular Christianity to Hard-Body Christianity: The Power Team and the Meaning of Muscle in Sports Evangelism.
Jared Vazquez, Iliff School of Theology, University of Denver, on When This Boy is Not a Bottom: Effeminate Men and the Failure of Masculine Performances.

Monday, Nov. 23

S23-117 Gender, Sexuality, and the Bible
11/23/2015 - 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Includes Katy E. Valentine, First Christian Church (Chico, CA) on Disrupting the Binary: Creating a GNC (Gender Non-Conforming) and Transgender Hermeneutic

A23-104 Queer Utopias and Dystopias
Roger A. Sneed, Furman University, Presiding
Monday - 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Allison Covey, University of Toronto on Comic-Con International as Performance of Queer Utopia.
Christopher Ashley, Union Theological Seminary on A Kind Angel's Thesis: Religion, Technology, and Queer Humanism in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Andrea Tucker, Vanderbilt University, on Desiring Earthseed: Teaching Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower behind the Gate.
Anthony Hoshaw, Chicago Theological Seminary, on Trash Animals, Queers, and the City.
Marco Derks, Utrecht University
Gay Men and Religion Group Business Meeting:
W. Scott Haldeman, Chicago Theological Seminary

A23-101 Regulating Sexuality in Postwar American Jewish Communities: Navigating Queer Bodies, Heteronormativity, and Hegemonic Christianity
Laura S. Levitt, Temple University, Presiding
Monday - 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Brett Krutzsch, College of Wooster on Jewish in Life, Christianized in Death: The Jewishness of Harvey Milk’s Gay Activism.
Gregg Drinkwater, University of Colorado, on AIDS Was Our Earthquake: American Judaism in the Age of AIDS.
Jonathan Jackson, Maxwell School of Syracuse University, on Useful and Inhuman: Inversions of Queer and Corrections of the Jewish Body.

A23-138 Sin, Suffering, and Spatiality: Exploring Culture, Caste, and Critique
Eboni Marshall Turman, Duke University, Presiding
Monday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Sailaja Krishnamurti, York University, on Hindu Religiosity at the Margins of Diaspora: Queer and Feminist Activism, South Asian Diaspora Communities, and the Critique of Caste.
Elyse Ambrose Minson, Drew University, on Liberative Ethics at "The Pier": Environmental Transphobia and the Christopher Street Pier, New York City.

S23-234 Queer Approaches to Pauline Epistles and Interpretations
Jeremia Punt, Universiteit van Stellenbosch - University of Stellenbosch, Presiding
11/23/2015 - 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Ben Dunning, Fordham University, on Romans 1, Queer Theory, and the History of Sexuality.
Robert Paul Seesengood, Albright College, on Queers, Jews, and Paul: Struggling with a Pauline "Universal Subjectivity."
Jay Twomey, University of Cincinnati, on Stranger in a Strange Pauline World.
Tyler M. Schwaller, Harvard University, on "A Slave to All": First Corinthians 9 and Paul's Performance in Slave Drag.
Timothy Luckritz Marquis, Moravian Theological Seminary, on Dionysus, Disidentifications, and Wandering Pauline Epiphanies.
Lynn Huber, Elon University, Respondent
Will Stockton, Clemson University, Respondent

A23-203 Latina/o Religious Iconoclasms
Chris Tirres, DePaul University, Presiding
Monday - 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Includes Adrian Emmanuel Hernandez-Acosta, Harvard University, with On Queer Religion, Nationalism, and Sex: A Response by Caribbean (Theological) Bottoms.
Alejandro Escalante, Union Theological Seminary, on God in Drag: An Indecent Approach to the Sacrament of Protest.

A23-225 Book discussion: "Pray the Gay Away: The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays" by Bernadette Barton (New York University Press, 2012)
Marie Cartier, California State University, Northridge, Presiding
Monday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
John Erickson, Claremont Graduate University, on The Power of Interview: Deconstructing the Geographical, Temporal, and Current Experiences of Gay Men and Lesbians in the Bible Belt.
Aaron Klink, Duke University, on Praying after the Gay Wouldn't Go: Ethnography, Theology, and Spiritual Practice.
Daniel Tidwell, Seattle University, on We Pray What Our Bodies Know: A Formational Response to Bernadette Barton's "Pray the Gay Away."
David Bos, University of Amsterdam, VU University, on Perseverance of the Saints: The Short but Meaningful Life of "the Ex-Gay" in the Dutch Bible Belt.
Bernadette Barton, Morehead State University

A23-307 Protest, Performance, and Prophecy: Resisting Violence against Black Queer Bodies
Whitney Bond, Emory University, Presiding
Monday - 4:00 PM-6:00 PM
Adriaan van Klinken, University of Leeds, on Queer Prophecy and Afro-Cosmopolitan Imagination: Kenyan Writer Binyavanga Wainaina’s "Coming Out and Religious Critique."
Thelathia Young, Bucknell University, and Benae Beamon, Boston University, on "Dying" to Live: Protest and the Radical Performativity of Black Queer Bodies.
Jennifer Rycenga, San Jose State University, on Enraged Against Us: African-American Women Students Practicing Non-Violence at Prudence Crandall's Academy, 1833-34.
Indhira Udofia, Duke University, on Whoring the Madonna, Virginizing the Jezebel: Black Women’s Gender Performance.

Tuesday, Nov. 24

S24-130 Queering Christ in Controversial Art: The stagings, effects and subversive potential of the Other Jesus
David Stewart, California State University - Long Beach, presiding
11/24/2015 - 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
This session investigates art in which iconic Christian imagery is deliberately queered.
Anne-Marie Korte, Universiteit Utrecht on Queer Iconoclasm and Queer Iconoclash: From the Christas to Madonna
Mariecke van den Berg, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, on Setting the Table for a Queer Jesus: Ecce Homo in Sweden and Serbia
Srdjan Sremac, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, on Conchita Wurst: A “Jesus-like Figure” Between Blasphemy and Religious Innovation
Susannah Cornwall, University of Exeter, Respondent (25 min)


Readers asked if the AAR-SBL presentations available in any way to people who can't attend?

The panels are usually not recorded or available in printed form, but abstracts of some of the papers are online now. Visit the AAR and SLB links below, go to the online program books and start searching. You can also try contacting the speakers directly.

For more info, visit:

American Academy of Religion

Society of Biblical Literature

Here’s another resource for those who want to follow the latest research and scholarship of various LGBT theologians (and others).

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Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts

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