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Syllabus: Queerness at the Potluck

This syllabus by Sarah Davis (they/them) and Sam McLoughlin (she/her) is an honorable mention of the LGBTQ Religious Archive Network’s Educational Resource Prize in 2022.

Queerness at the Potluck: Storytelling, Religion, & History

Description

This syllabus intended for a co-taught course for advanced undergraduate students and graduate students at a public university. The course has been made for students in the humanities and social sciences with special interests in 2slgbtq+ religious history.

The course schedule includes hyperlinked activities, assigned engagement materials, discussion questions, and other supplemental resources for consideration. We have designed the unit readings, activities, and course assignments specifically for this collaborative and cohesive experience, however, parts may also be extracted to build units on 2slgbtq+ religious history in introductory-level courses such as World Religions, American Religious History, Gender and Religion, and Religion and Race.

As course instructors, we have designed this course with the express aim to decentralize white patriarchal pedagogical norms by modeling sustainable, intimate connections in and through collaborative methods of building research communities and accessing resources. This course mobilizes religious studies theory from the experiences, practices, and worldviews (or religions) of BIPOC and 2slgbtq+ communities and histories in the American South. Focusing on the American South allows us to identify and disrupt the grand historical narrative that positions 2slgbtq+ existence as obsolete, and therefore insignificant, to instead employ the histories of marginalized peoples surviving, and thriving, amid state violence. It is this disruption that we use as a foundation for reimagining methods of studying the queer religious history of the South.

By inciting 2slgbtq+ forms of historical inquiry and preservation, we refuse normative disciplinary boundaries and elitist perceptions of academia as the sole credible, intellectual knowledge producer by taking seriously through praxis the contributions of BIPOC 2slgbtq+ experience and practice as the religious history of the South.

Objectives

  • Identify the various foundational principles, peoples, practices, and theories of religious studies and 2slgbtq+ studies.
  • Learn to locate, access, and engage with relevant primary and secondary sources. We will focus on unconventional sources or those source materials relegated to the margins of what is typically deemed “scholarly,” such as zines, films, graphic novels, lyrics and beats, oral histories, etc.
  • Form accountable relationships in building material and theoretical connections through collaborative, creative praxis of the methodologies, theories, and otherwise strategies of doing the work of religious and 2slgbtq+ studies that we will explore together this semester.
  • Understand how religious identity operates in relation to other identity markers such as race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc., and identify your own positionality (and responsibilities, histories, communities, etc.) within such relations.
  • Learn how to produce knowledge in small and large groups to utilize collaborative methods for engaging with our sources, communicating our findings, and practically employing relevant takeaways in community with others.

Contents

Course Syllabus