Gender Lecture 2024 - Stumbling  Toward Ecstasy: Queer and (Trans)feminist Methods in the Study of Religion

Prof. Dr. Melissa Wilcox

Feminist studies, queer studies, and trans studies often seem opposed to the study of religion; many scholars either ignore religion or approach it through a classically Marxist lens as “the opium of the people.” Scholars of religion, likewise, have been slow to adopt feminist, queer, or trans studies in a widespread manner, although theologians have engaged with these fields more quickly than have descriptive-analytical scholars. Scholars of religion take religion seriously, but they frequently find the engaged, justice-oriented methods of trans, queer, and feminist studies too subjective and brand them with the insult unique to our field: “confessional.” Trans, feminist, and queer studies scholars think in complex ways about power, research methods, and reflexivity, but all too often refuse to extend that complex analysis to religion. Yet, these differences indicate gaps and resistances in each field that could be addressed with the tools of the other. This lecture offers a poststructuralist and psychoanalytic critique of the accusation of confessionalism, weaving religonists’ valuable skills of empathetic understanding together with trans/queer/feminist scholars’ insistence on the locatedness of knowledge and on reflexive and embodied research methods in order to continue my current efforts to stumble haltingly toward an ecstatic method in the study of religion.

Date: 11th June 2024, 6:30 pm MEST               Place: Aula Alte Universität (Lahntor 3)