Call for Papers – Queer(ing) religion: Transnational perspectives on gender and sexual diversity in religious communities and texts
Queer/disrupt, in collaboration with the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, invites abstract submissions for its second online international conference held on June 14th – 15th 2022. This year’s topic is the intersections between queer theory and religious communities and texts. The conference is funded by the Margherita von Bretano Center (Freie Universität Berlin).
In scholarly as well as activist circles, religious and queer projects are frequently seen as incommensurable (Boellstorff, 2005). As a result, religion or piety as a crucial factor in shaping queer experience is often elided, rendering the experiences of those who desire/struggle to integrate the two irrelevant to the study of sexuality and gender. In fact, Melissa Wilcox observes that “many queer theorists, like many queer activists and perhaps many LGBT people in general, regard religion as so inimical to their purposes and lives that it is not even worthy of critique” (Wilcox, 2006, p. 73). This tendency is especially problematic given the well-documented role that religion plays in the lives of many queer individuals (Minwalla et al., 2005; Rodriguez & Ouellette, 2000; Shah, 2016), as well as the abundance of religious scholarship that is inclusive of gender and sexual diversity (Greenough, 2019; Kugle, 2010; Muhammad et al., 2011). Adriaan van Klinken has observed that the lack of critical attention of queer theorists to religion obscures the potential of the latter to challege heteronormativity. Addressing this gap is crucial within any decolonial project in what he calles a “postsecular intervention,” which “must address the secular assumption that underlies much of queer studies (van Klinken, 2019, p. 14).
This conference aims to address not only the lack of a comprehensive exploration of the ways in which queerness and religion can be “reconciled,” but also aspires to a critical re-evaluation of the assumptions this binary is based on. In doing so, we aim to offer a platform to foster and strengthen transnational connections between and within marginalized communities, and to envision alternative patterns of solidarity.
We accept proposals for a wide variety of topics and formats, both academic and non-academic. We especially encourage contributions that seek to reconcile queer theory and religious studies through exploring new and productive ways in which the two fields can inform each other. The lists below are not exhaustive, and we welcome experimental contributions.
- Decolonial interventions challenging the secular assumptions of queer studies/queer theory
- Critical perspectives on the perceived binary between religious studies and queer theory
- Interpretations of religious sources and/or religious practices that explore the mutually empowering aspect of gender, sexuality, and faith.
- Religiosity and its intersections with, for example, class, race, and age in queer communities
- Critical perspectives on the lack of attention to religion/religiosity in queer activism
- Global South perspectives on the intersections between non-normative gender, sexuality, and religion
Formats (max. 20 minutes):
- Performance (poetry, performance art, theater, etc.)
- Presentation of activist/community work & best practices
- Presentation of academic work
Submissions should be emailed to email@example.com before March 18th, 2022 and use the following format:
- Max. 300 words providing details of the proposed presentation/paper. Please keep in mind presentations are limited to 20 minutes with additional time being allocated for questions.
- We would encourage deviations from this format, but please contact us before formally submitting.
- Please include a biography (max. 150 words) with:
- Name and pronouns (if you are comfortable providing)
- Any affiliations (institutions, organizations, etc.) you have that you wish to provide
- Broader research/work interests
- The time zone you will be in at the time of the conference.
With your submission, please indicate your interest in a post-conference publication project on PubPub, an open-source, community-led, end-to-end publishing platform.
We aim to respond to all submissions by April 18th, 2022.
We are able to provide a fee (€100,-) for a limited number of panelists if selected. As queer artists and activists of faith are frequently marginalized as well as underpaid for their efforts, we wish to compensate those who do not have access to any other way of funding for their time and valuable work. In some cases, we would also extend this offer to academic presenters working under precarious circumstances, if necessary. Please indicate with your submission whether you want to be considered for the panelist fee, and if so, add a very brief justification.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to get back to as soon as possible.