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Sacrilege and Secularity: Queer Provocations in the Study of Religion

Tuesday March 19, 2019 from 5:30-7:00pm
Concordia University
1450 Guy Street, MB 9CD

In 2007, two Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence attended a Roman Catholic Mass in habit, and received the Eucharist from the Archbishop of San Francisco. Conservative horror and radical glee over the event recalled reactions to the Stop the Church protest in New York City nearly two decades earlier, during which a protester had crumbled a consecrated communion wafer. The Sisters were there too. And just two years earlier, in 1987, the Sisters held a Papal Mass in reaction to Pope John Paul II's visit to San Francisco, protesting the pontiff's attitudes toward gays and lesbians, AIDS, and reproductive rights. Were these acts secular? Religious? Sacrilegious? Our answers to these questions may reveal far more about our assumptions regarding what "counts" as religion than they reveal about the events themselves. Focusing on queer activism and its relationship to the religious, this talk will explore the fraught politics of defining religion and the secular in a world where Christian hegemony passes as neutrality and religion is considered the sole province of the hetero- and homonormative.

Melissa M. Wilcox is Professor and Holstein Family and Community Chair of Religious Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author or editor of several books and journal issues, and numerous articles, on gender, sexuality, and religion. Her books include Coming out in Christianity: Religion, Identity, and Community; Sexuality and the World's Religions; Queer Women and Religious Individualism; Religion in Today's World: Global Issues, Sociological Perspectives; and Queer Nuns: Religion, Activism, and Serious Parody. She is currently at work on two textbook projects in the areas of queer studies and sexuality studies in religion. 

Please see the attached poster.


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