Loy H. Witherspoon Lecture in Religious Studies

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


UNC Charlotte Center City Building
320 E. 9th St.
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202

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Loy H. Witherspoon Lecture in Religious Studies
Dr. Mark Jordan, “The Very Idea of Queer Religion” 

“Queer religion” is a phrase with too many meanings—perhaps because each of its terms is a riddle.  When they are put together, they often mean the beliefs or ceremonies of people who count themselves queer in one way or another.  The phrase then covers a wide range from theological debates within organized religions to studies of impromptu rituals.  At other times, more rarely, the phrase claims an intrinsic connection between spirituality and dissents from sexual or gender norms.  Writers use this second sense of “queer religion” to advocate for fabulous mythologies and vivid rites—not to say, radical reforms of language.  If there is an intrinsic connection to spirituality, what does that imply about who is queer?  And how might it alter our understanding—or misunderstanding—of being religious?

Dr. Mark D. Jordan is Niebuhr Professor at Harvard’s Divinity School.  A scholar of Christian thought, European philosophy, and gender studies, he currently teaches courses on the relations of religion to literature and the prospects for sexual ethics.  His recent books including Convulsing Bodies: Religion and Resistance in Foucault (Stanford 2015) and Tongues of Fire Shared Out: Scenes of Christian Teaching (forthcoming at Eerdmans).  Jordan is the recipient of a number of grants and fellowships, including a Fulbright-Hays grant (Spain) and a John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.  He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

To read more about Dr. Jordan, visit his webpage.

The Loy H. Witherspoon Lecture in Religious Studies, the oldest and most prestigious endowed lecture series at UNC Charlotte, was established in 1984 to honor the distinguished career and service of its namesake, the first chairperson of the Department of Religious Studies at UNC Charlotte. Witherspoon was professor emeritus of philosophy and religion when he died Jan. 15, 2017.

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