[Skip to Content]

Marcella Althaus-Reid’s works, Indecent Theology (2000) and The Queer God (2003), theoretically and theologically consider the relations of poverty and capitalism, of sexuality and the AIDS crisis, and of histories of place and domination. Althaus-Reid’s insights into community, queerness, resistance, and care are grounded in her own place as a Christian theologian. This call offers Althaus-Reid’s work as a starting point for inquiring about other relationships and histories that structure our current global pandemic. We invite paper proposals that explore spaces where ‘religion’ (broadly conceived) and its varied practices intersect with sexuality, gender, race, geography, and non/institutionalized power dynamics as inseparable from public health crises. Who has suffered under capitalism’s machinery that exploits essential workers and unequally distributes medical resources, and what are the responsibilities of religious communities?  What have technologies of patholization and bioethics contributed to or challenged the use of  what Alison Kafer terms “Feminist, Queer, Crip” theory (2013)  in religious studies? Under-represented scholars and scholarship that advances people of color, persons with disabilities, decoloniality, and economic justice are encouraged to submit proposals.

A possible co-sponsorship with the Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion unit that invites papers investigating what lesbian-feminisms might contribute to ethnographic methodologies, especially when investigating poor, queer subjectivity. Some examples would include Matt Brim’s 2020 book Poor Queer Studies: Confronting Elitism in the University and Casey Golomski’s 2020 article "Countermythologies."

In this co-sponsored session  titled Off this Border Called My Back: Towards a New Politics of Solidarity the Latina/a Religion, Culture, and Society and the Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion program units invite proposals that constructively engage the legacy of the queer Chicana scholar Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004).  Anzaldúa’s work grapples with the legacies of colonial violence and seeks to deconstruct oppressive gender norms. She invites readers to explore these critical questions by tapping into their body as a source of sacred knowledge.  Drawing from various fields, Anzaldúa’s scholarship represents an intersectional approach that, we believe, can guide our cross-disciplinary conversations and critical interventions as scholars of religion. Reflecting on Anzaldúa’s corpus, we invite proposals that address one of the following questions:

1.      In what ways can Anzaldúa inform the contemporary study of religion in light of the economic, environmental, technological, or geopolitical challenges of the 21st century?

2.     How can Anzaldúa’s legacy help scholars, activists, and practioners envision and enact networks of belonging?

3.     What intellectual or political role should feminists of color play in the academy and/or in society at large in a post-Trump era?

4.     How can Anzaldúa’s critical thought inform our understanding of social protests?

5.     What insights can we glean from Anzaldúa’s work to address issues of poverty and other social justice concerns?

6.     Given that religious texts, practices and ethical debates can function both to encourage individuals and/or governments in redressing social inequality and to justify a stance of ignoring it, how might we as scholars of religion draw on Anzaldúa to communicate the role of religion in shaping the public sphere?

Papers can focus on, but are not limited to, the following themes: decolonial aesthetics, borderlands, epistemology, sexuality, or spirituality.


Mission Statement:

For over 25 years this unit has been committed to lesbian-feminism in the study of religion. 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. We are especially committed to scholars and scholarship that advance people of color, persons with disabilities, decoloniality, and economic justice. This is accomplished with diverse and timely themes, and by providing a theoretical space for probing and further developing the openings and opportunities afforded by changing sociopolitical and theoretical contexts.

Method of Submission:




Sarah Bloesch, sbloesch@smu.edu

Michelle Wolff, michellewolff@augustana.edu


Steering Committee:

Laulie Eckeberger, ldeckeberger@gmail.com

John Erickson, jerickson85@gmail.com

Rachel A. Heath, rachel.a.heath@vanderbilt.edu

Wendy Mallette, wendy.mallette@yale.edu

Myrna Sheldon, sheldonm@ohio.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 1 – Two 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2025