Witherspoon Lecture to address ‘The Very Idea of Queer Religion’

Mark Jordan
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Harvard Divinity School’s Mark Jordan will present “The Very Idea of Queer Religion” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18, at UNC Charlotte Center City.

His talk, the 36th annual Witherspoon Lecture in Religious Studies, will address how the phrase, queer religion, has many meanings. Because each term is a riddle, according to Jordan, when they are put together, they often mean the beliefs or ceremonies of people who count themselves queer in one way or another. He added the phrase 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. 

Jordan, who is the Richard Reinhold Niebuhr Professor at Harvard’s Divinity School, is a scholar of Christian thought, European philosophy and gender studies. Currently, he teaches courses on the relations of religion to literature and the prospects for sexual ethics. His recent books include “Convulsing Bodies: Religion and Resistance in Foucault” (Stanford 2015) and the forthcoming “Tongues of Fire Shared Out: Scenes of Christian Teaching.”

 A graduate of St. John’s College, Jordan complete a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. His Feb. 18 lecture is free and open to the public; however, RSVPs are required.

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.