Event Date: 
March 16, 2019 - 9:00 AM
Location: 
UNC Charlotte Center City

Jessica Johnson from the University of Washington will be the plenary speaker for the third annual conference “Sex and Religion,” scheduled for Saturday, March 16, at UNC Charlotte Center City.

The conference, which is organized by graduate students of the UNC Charlotte Religious Studies Department, is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students nationwide to share their research concerning religion and its intersections with sexuality, gender, the body and other areas.

Johnson will deliver “The Carnal Resonance and Political Valences of Conviction.” This presentation will be based on material from her book “Biblical Porn: Affect, Labor and Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Evangelical Empire.”

A lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington, Johnson conducted ethnographic research on Mars Hill Church in Seattle, a megachurch co-founded by Driscoll. It expanded to 15 locations in five states before dissolving in 2014. Driscoll resigned in the wake of public testimonies by former congregants and staff that detailed tactics of emotional manipulation and spiritual abuse, including systematic bullying and shunning practices. Johnson examined Mars Hill’s use of digital technologies and Driscoll’s controversial preaching on gender and sexuality to analyze how congregants were recruited into gendered and collective affective labor, both voluntary and involuntary, on behalf of church growth, a social and embodied process that she termed “biblical porn.”

“Sex and Religion” is open to the public. The conference begins at 9 a.m.; the plenary session by Johnson is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The UNC Charlotte Religious Studies Department and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program are conference co-sponsors.