Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2012 LGBTQ guide to AAR (American Academy of Religion) and SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) Annual Meeting

A mind-boggling variety of about 40 LGBT and queer events are planned for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature Nov. 17-20 in Chicago.

Here is the Jesus in Love guide to LGBTQ activities at AAR-SBL. My unique guide covers both AAR and SBL, including all the official LGBTQ events, plus “buried treasures” that are sponsored by other interest groups, and panels on other topics with a lone queer voice. Please let me know if I missed anything!

The joint annual meeting is the largest gathering of biblical and religion scholars in the world with more than 11,000 attendees. This list is a useful summary for those attending -- and a sneak-preview of the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer religious scholarship for those of us who can’t be there.

Events on this list cover everything from Arab masculinities to Zambian Pentecostal ideas on homosexuality. LGBTQ programs at the conference present liberating new ideas about the Bible, the church and the impact of Christianity on individuals. They go on to take a queer look at every major world religion from various racial, ethnic and cultural perspectives.

The dizzying array of topics includes lesbian dharma teachers, queer Quaker utopias, the homosexuality of the Hebrew patriarch Joseph, a theology of LGBTQ homeless youth, and the Korean Christian fundamentalist antigay movement. There are drag kings in Corinth and “gender performance” in the Prophets. They’ve got “outsider theology” and “indecent ecology.” And much more.

A few trends emerge: Same-sex marriage is discussed in various contexts ranging from ancient Mesopotamia to today’s historically black churches. Two separate sessions will examine gay artist David Wojnarowicz, whose video art was recently censored by the Smithsonian after pressure by religious conservatives. At least four sessions apply ideas from the book Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others by Sara Ahmed, professor of race and cultural studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

The meeting also features LGBTQ entertainment, such as the animated film Tokyo Godfathers and the one-person play “Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible” by Peterson Toscano -- both followed, of course, by scholarly reflections on their queer Christian content.

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 spent many happy hours searching the conference program books with a fine-toothed comb to create this list.

As one friend wrote when I posted my guide last 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!

Note: Session numbers begin with "A" for AAR and other letters for SBL. These events are subject to change.

Friday, Nov. 16

A16-108 AAR Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Committee Meeting
Friday - 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

M16-407: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Caucus at AAR
Friday - 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM

Saturday, Nov. 17

A17-120 Gay Men and Religion Group
Theme: Behold the Book, the Author, and the Critics: Kent Brintnall's book Ecce Homo: The Male-Body-in-Pain as Redemptive Figure (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
Saturday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Patrick Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School, Presiding
(The Ecce Homo book analyzes the way narratives of Christ's death and resurrection both support and subvert cultural fantasies of masculine power.)
Björn Krondorfer, St Mary's College, Maryland
Aaron Klink, Duke University
Joseph A. Marchal, Ball State University
Karmen MacKendrick, Le Moyne College
Stephen Moore, Drew University
Kent Brintnall, University of North Carolina, Charlotte


A17-123: Liberal Theologies Group
Theme: New Contexts for Liberal Theology
Saturday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Panelists include:
Hussein Abdul Latif, University of Alabama, Birmingham
Towards Muslim Same-sex Unions


A17-109 Theology and Religious Reflection Section
Theme: Theorizing Maternality
Saturday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Panelists include:
Carolyn Roncolato, Chicago Theological Seminary
Mimetic Conception: Infertility Treatment as Deconstruction and Reinscription of Western Maternality and Heteronormativity
(She applies queer theory to infertility treatments.)


A17-135 LGBTIQ Mentoring Lunch
Saturday - 11:45 AM-12:45 PM
Melissa M. Wilcox, Whitman College, Presiding
Claudia Schippert, University of Central Florida
Cameron Partridge, Harvard University
Mary E. Hunt, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual
Rudy V. Busto, University of California, Santa Barbara
Kent Brintnall, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Patrick Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School
Horace Griffin, Pacific School of Religion
W. Scott Haldeman, Chicago Theological Seminary
Rebecca Alpert, Temple University
Mark Jordan, Harvard University
Laurel Schneider, Chicago Theological Seminary
Jennifer Harvey, Drake University
Heather White, New College of Florida


A17-220 Lesbian-Feminist Issues and Religion Group
Theme: Queering Women's Religious History: Desire, Identity and Religious Practice
Saturday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Yvonne Zimmerman, Methodist Theological School, Ohio, Presiding
Judith Weisenfeld, Princeton University
“From Father in Me”: Celibacy and Same Sex-Desire in Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement

Emily L. Silverman , Graduate Theological Union
Out of Line: Sarah Ahmed’s “Queer Phenomenology” Applied to Edith Stein’s and Regina Jonas’ “Out of Place” Religious Identities.

Marie Cartier, California State University, Northridge
Wendy Griffin, Cherry Hill Seminary
Herlands: Finding Goddess on Lesbian Land

Heather White, New College of Florida
Melissa Wilcox, Whitman College


A17-233 Latina/o Critical and Comparative Studies Group and Religion in Latin America and the Caribbean Group
Theme: Contested Spaces: A Critical Engagement of Latina Spirituality
Jennifer Hughes, University of California, Riverside, Presiding
Saturday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Panelists include:
Laura Perez, University of California, Berkeley
Latina/o Feminist Spirituality and the Decolonial: (Non)violence and the (Non)Western
(She examines the recent work of queer U.S. Latina/o artists, including Alex Donis and Maya Gonzalez.)


A17-322 Queer Studies in Religion Group
Theme: Queer Reorientations: Questioning Bodies and Futures
Saturday - 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Claudia Schippert, University of Central Florida, Presiding
(Panelists discuss topics in the context of Sara Ahmed’s book Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others)
Brandy Daniels, Vanderbilt University
Is Kinship Always Already Reproductive? Ecclesiology, Ethics, and the Antisocial Thesis

Brian Blackmore, Chicago Theological Seminary
Quaker Unprogrammed Liturgy as Queer Futurity

Sarah Bloesch, Southern Methodist University
Maximus Confessor and God's Queer Table

Heike Peckruhn, University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology
Bodies as Orientation in/to the World – Bodies in Queer Phenomenology and Religious Studies

S17-304 Bible and Cultural Studies. Theme: Difference
Sponsored jointly by various groups, including LGBT/Queer Hermeneutics
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Difference and pedagogy
Jacqueline Hidalgo, Williams College, Presiding
The first part of this session, “Difference and pedagogy,” considers how to teach concepts of difference to undergrads.

Encouraging hermeneutics of difference
Lynn Huber, Elon University, Presiding
Melanie Howard, Princeton Theological Seminary, Presiding
James Hoke, Drew University, Presiding
The second part, “Encouraging hermeneutics of difference,” is a mentoring session for graduate students working in “non-traditional” approaches.


A17-326 Roman Catholic Studies Group.
Theme: Disrupting Complementarity II: Male Bodies
Saturday - 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Panelists include:
Jeffrey Marlett, College of Saint Rose
Getting the Cloud: Leo Durocher and Catholic Manliness
(He applies queer theory to Hall of Fame baseball manager Leo Durocher)


A17-319 Kierkegaard, Religion, and Culture Group
Theme: Memory and the Ethics of Forgiveness
Saturday - 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Panelists include:
Adam Pryor, Graduate Theological Union
Who Are We? Remembering and Forgetting in the Reparation of Communal Memory
(He proposes that Kierkegaard’s ideas on forgiveness can help congregations heal after votes on gay and lesbian ordination.)


A17-404 LGBTIQ Scholars/Scholars of LGBTIQ Studies Reception
Saturday - 8:00 PM-10:00 PM


A17-407 Film: Tokyo Godfathers
Saturday - 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
(Japanese anime film about three homeless people, including a flamboyant ex-drag entertainer / transvestite, who find a baby on Christmas Eve.)

Sunday, Nov. 18

A18-100 Sex, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion Cluster
Theme: Naming Our History, Rebuilding Our Alliances, Mapping Our Future
Sunday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Jacqueline Hidalgo, Williams College, Presiding.
Bjorn Krondorfer, Men, Masculinities and Religions Group; St. Mary's College, Maryland
R. Marie Griffith, Religion and Sexuality Group; Washington University, St. Louis
Stephanie Mitchem, Womanist Issues in Religion and Society Group; University of South Carolina
Jay Emerson Johnson, Gay Men and Religion Group; Pacific School of Religion
Jung Ha Kim, Women and Religion Section; Georgia State University
Marie Cartier, Lesbian Feminist Issues in Religion Group; California State University, Northridge
Karen Alliaume, Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Group; Lewis University
Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Group; Moravian Theological Seminary
Melissa Wilcox, Queer Studies in Religion Group; Whitman College


S18-131 LGBT/Queer Hermeneutics
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
James Hoke, Drew University, Presiding

Kathleen McCaffrey, Independent Scholar
Same Sex Marriage in Ancient Mesopotamia (Newt is Wrong)

David Tabb Stewart, California State University, Long Beach
Another Look at Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13: Can Anything New Be Said?

Nicholaus Benjamin Pumphrey, Claremont Graduate University
The Lack of Action: Textual Evidence for Joseph’s Homosexuality

A18-101: Arts, Literature, and Religion Section
Theme: Expanding Borders: Religion and the Arts
Sunday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Panelists include:

Benjamin Lindquist, Yale University
Sex, Art, and Censorship: Chris Ofili’s Black Madonna and David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly


A18-110 Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Group
Theme: Asian North American “Conservative” Christian Communities, Masculinities, and Gender Issues
Sunday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Michael Sepidoza Campos, Graduate Theological Union, Presiding
(Topics include the experience of a trans-male in a Korean American Christian community in New York, and the activism of conservative Asian Americans in opposing LGBTQI rights in America.)
Steve B. Hu, University of California, Santa Barbara
Mark Chung Hearn, Azusa Pacific University
Sung Won Park, Union Theological Seminary
Justin K.H. Tse, University of British Columbia
Patrick S. Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School

Grace Yia-Hei Kao, Claremont School of Theology


S18-141: Reading, Theory, and the Bible. Theme: Affect Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Joint Session With: Reading, Theory, and the Bible, Bible and Cultural Studies
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Panelists include:
Alexis G. Waller, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
The Thunder: Perfect Mind as a queer approach to trauma
(Looks at shifting gendered self-characterizations in a Nag Hammadi text)


S18-240: Postcolonial Studies and Biblical Studies. Theme: Postcolonial Theory in Dialogue
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Panelists include:
Stephen D. Moore, The Theological School, Drew University
Does the Empire of Heaven Run on Roman Time? Postcoloniality, Queer Temporality, and Matthew’s Canaanite Woman


A18-208: Religion in South Asia Section
Theme: Re-figuring Bodies That Matter: Sex, Gender, and Alternative Bodily Identities in South Asian Traditions
Sunday - 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Vasudha Narayanan, University of Florida, Presiding
(Panelists engage the queer theories of Judith Butler)
Panelists include:
Barbara A. Holdrege, University of California, Santa Barbara
Alternative Bodily Identities in Gaudiya Vaishnava Discourse: From Karmically Constructed Sexed Bodies to Eternally Gendered Nonmaterial Bodies

Anya Pokazanyeva, University of California, Santa Barbara
Sexed Voices, Gendered Bodies: Constructions of the Feminine Subject in Bhakti Poetry

Harshita Mruthinti Kamath, Emory University
Paris is Burning, Gender is Burning: The Drag Performer versus the Kuchipudi Female Impersonator
(Female impersonation is done by brahmin male Kuchipudi dancers in South India)

Elaine Craddock, Southwestern University
Altered Bodies and Alternative Lives: Tirunangai Communities in Tamilnadu (Tirunangais are Tamil male-to-female transgender people.)


A18-282 World Christianity Group
Theme: Sex, Gender, Society, Faith: Homosexualities in World Christianity
Sunday - 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Jane Redmont, Guilford College, Presiding

Min-Ah Cho, St. Catherine University
The Other Side of Their Zeal: Evangelical Nationalism and Anticommunism in the Korean Christian Fundamentalist Antigay Movement Since the 1990s

Adriaan van Klinken, University of London
The Homosexual as the Antithesis of “Biblical Manhood”? Queer(y)ing a Zambian Pentecostal Discourse


A18-272 Religion and Cities Group and Religion, Film, and Visual Culture Group
Theme: Roots in the Concrete: Urban Tales of Redemption, Hybridity and Family
Sunday - 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Panelists include:
Julie Hawks, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Constellations of Redemption in the Inner City in Satoshi Kon’s Tokyo Godfathers
(Analysis of Japanese anime film about a homeless transvestite who finds a baby on Christmas Eve)


A18-276: Ritual Studies Group
Theme: Performed Ritual Expression: The Ethnographic Study of Art, Prayer, and Song
Sunday - 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Panelists include:
Avvia Goldberg, York University
Reimagining Ritual: Examining Ritual through a Jewish Queer Lens

A18-279: Sociology of Religion Group
Theme: Sociology of Public Religion: A Global Perspective
Sunday - 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Panelists include:
Helene Slessarev-Jamir, Claremont Lincoln University and Claremont School of Theology
A Cross National Analysis of Religion’s Role in Legislative Debates over Gay Marriage


A18-321 Gay Men and Religion Group
Theme: The Borders of Queer Religion
Sunday - 5:00 PM-6:30 PM
Jared Vazquez, University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology, Presiding
Justin Tanis, Graduate Theological Union
David Wojnarowicz: Outsider Theologian
(Wojnarowicz was a gay artist and AIDS activist.)

Jennifer Loh, School of Oriental and African Studies
Spiritual Practices Among the Hijras of India: Amalgamating Traditions

Elizabeth Perez, Dartmouth College
A 'Trans' Formation of Religious Experience: Transgender and Transsexual Subjects of Afro-Atlantic Traditions

Peter Savastano, Seton Hall University


A18-315: Buddhist Critical-Constructive Reflection Group and Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Group
Theme: Buddhists Shifting Gender Paradigms through Teaching, Chanting, and Transcending
Sunday - 5:00 PM-6:30 PM
Panelists include:
Barbara Sullivan, University of Queensland
Women Dharma Teachers in the West
(She interviewed 20 women dharma teachers, including lesbian and transgendered.)

Hsiao-Lan Hu, University of Detroit, Mercy
Queering Avalokitesvara: From the Thirty-Three Forms in the Lotus Sutra to Minority Identities in Today's World
(Avalokitesvara is also known as Kuan Yin)


A18-336: Beyond the Boundaries
Theme: Religion and Politics
Sunday - 6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Panelists include:
Jermaine McDonald, Emory University
President Obama, Historically Black Churches, and Public Discourse about Same-Sex Marriage


A18-402 Arts Series: Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible
Sunday - 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
Joseph Marchal, Ball State University, Presiding
Theatrical performance followed by cross-disciplinary conversation.
Peterson Toscano, Performance Artist and Guest
Deborah Haynes, University of Colorado
Erin Runions, Pomona College
Lou Ruprecht, Georgia State University
Sharon Fennema, Harvard University
Ken Stone, Chicago Theological Seminary
Peterson Toscano, Performance Artist and Guest

Monday, Nov. 19

S19-128: LGBT/Queer Hermeneutics
Theme: Drag, Performance, and Biblical Traditions

9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
David Stewart, California State University, Long Beach, Presiding
M Adryael Tong, Yale Divinity School
"Dude Looks Like A Lady": Queering Wisdom in Proverbs 1-9

Susan E. Haddox, University of Mount Union
The Queenmakers: Gender Performance in the Prophets

Making Perfect Men: Isaiah 56:3-5 Through Torah as an Anti-Queer Text
Joseph A. Marchal, Ball State University
Female Masculinity in Corinth?: Drag Kings, Laggings, and Imitations

Lynn Huber, Elon University, Respondent


A19-127 Men, Masculinities, and Religions Group
Theme: Rethinking Hegemonic Masculinities after Twenty-five Years
Monday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Panelists include:
Amy Chaney, Syracuse University
Fragmented Hegemonies: Recovering Arab Masculinities
(She draws from Sara Ahmed’s book Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others to discuss the Arab male body.)

A19-227 Queer Studies in Religion Group and Transformative Scholarship
and Pedagogy Group
Theme: Vanguard Revisited: A Transformative Theology for/with/by LGBTQ Homeless Youth in the 1960s and Today
Monday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Panelist: Megan Rohrer, Pacific School of Religion


S19-221: Gender, Sexuality, and the Bible
Theme: Methods and Afterlives
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Panelists include:
Heather R. White, New College of Florida
The Sexologist’s Bible: Homosexual Acts and Sexual Identities in the Science of Biblical Interpretation


S19-246: Women in the Biblical World
Theme: Bible Trouble: Queer Reading at the Boundaries of Biblical Scholarship
(book edited by Teresa J. Hornsby and Ken Stone; Semeia Series; SBL August 2011)
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Luis Menendez, Vanderbilt University, Presiding
Hal Taussig, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
Jennifer Knust, Boston University
Gail Streete, Rhodes College
Kent Brintnall, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Ellen Armour, Vanderbilt University
Teresa Hornsby, Drury University, Respondent


A19-207 Religion and Ecology Group
Theme: Religion, Ecology, and the Body: Inscribing and Enacting Eco-Imaginings
Monday - 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Panelists include:
Jacob Erickson, Drew University
Indecent Ecologies: Karen Barad, Naturecultural Performativity, and Queer Ecotheology


A19-224 Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Group
Theme: Feminist Theory on Disability, Trauma and Vulnerability
Monday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Panelists include:
Lisa Powell, St. Ambrose University
The Infertile Womb of God: Ableism and the Doctrine of God
(She challenges ideas about Mother God with feminist and queer theory.)

A19-311 Special Topics Forum
Theme: Mentoring Across Sexualities and Genders
Monday - 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Horace Griffin, Pacific School of Religion, Presiding
Cameron Partridge, Harvard University
Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology
Thelathia Young, Bucknell University
Patrick Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School
Mary Hunt, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual
Alice Hunt, Chicago Theological Seminary
Laurel Schneider, Chicago Theological Seminary

Tuesday, Nov. 20

A20-118 Gay Men and Religion Group and Lesbian-Feminist Issues and Religion Group
Theme: (Un)holy Bullies in LGBTQ Lives
Tuesday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, University Denver and Iliff School of Theology, Presiding

Benjamin Lindquist, Yale University
Touch and the Ex-Gay Movement

Carolyn Davis, Vanderbilt University
Bullying as Christian Practice? Homophobic Harassment and Christian Speech

Mauricio Najarro, Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
"Your Son, Your Only One, Whom You Love": Sacrifice, Idolatry, and Reproductive Futurism

Jeanine Viau, Loyola University, Chicago
Does It Get Better? Considering the “Capacity to Persevere in a (Queer and) Livable Life”

Kate Ott, Drew University


A20-128 Paul Tillich: Issues in Theology, Religion, and Culture Group.  Theme: The Radical Tillich
Tuesday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Panelists include:
Christopher Rodkey, Lebanon Valley College and Pennsylvania State University, York
Pirating Paul Tillich, the Patriarch with Good Ideas: Mary Daly and the Radical Tillich
(Mary Daly is a lesbian philosopher.)


If you appreciate this list, please donate to support my work at Jesus in Love.

Last year a couple of readers asked Are 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:

Meeting events list from AAR Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer Persons in the Profession

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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