Religion and Sexuality

History 285U.001

Spring 2009
2227 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Wed 4-6

Homosexuality has become, to many people's surprise, the crisis issue for Christianity in late
modernity. Despite all the external pressures that threatened Christianity in earlier phases of modernity, whether science, a rapid decline in churchgoing or the totalitarian state, the volatile, touchstone issue of our day, across the churches and in other major religions, that threatens to tear religious institutions apart from the inside out, is (homo)sexuality. This seminar will ask: why sex? While my own expertise and interests lie primarily in the area of modern Christianity, our preliminary common readings will cover different periods and different religions, and we will have four seminar sessions with visitors who work in the areas of Islam, Judaism, Fundamentalism, and the Law and religion. Graduate students who take this seminar may write research papers on any area of this broad theme, and will give presentations on their research in the second half of the semester. This seminar is
the first stage in an ongoing Mellon-funded research project on religion and sexuality in the modern world, run by Tom Laqueur and myself.


Also listed as Gender and Women's Studeis 210.005. ---------------------------------------------------Jane Shaw is a visiting professor from Oxford, where she is Dean of Divinity at New College, and
teaches in the history and theology departments in the University. Her research and teaching interests include: modern British history; gender history; history of Christianity in the modern world; history of sexuality and religion; and collective biography and life-writing. Her most recent publication is Miracles in Enlightenment England (Yale UP 2006).