Sunday, November 24, 2013

What is Mormon Studies? III

Sometimes Mormon Studies papers are not necessarily recognizable from their titles. Little in the following title hints that it is a paper about Mormon Studies:
Captive Bodies, Queer Religions: Scripting North American Religious Difference
The abstract, however, reveals that it is indeed supposed to be about Mormons:
Queering of the study of North American Religions requires taking seriously the embodied construction of religious difference. In this paper, I argue that attempts to render certain religions “bad” or unAmerican are often processes of queering specific modes of embodied religiosity. I first suggest that queering the study of North American religions requires more than simply recovering the voices of American LGBT people of faith – that we must rather mobilize critical theories of sexualities to think about religious difference in North America. Next, I consider three examples of the North American captivity narrative genre—Mormon, Neopagan, and Muslim—as articulations of American Protestant anxieties about the perceived challenges marginal religions pose to heteronormativity. Following Sedgwick, I conclude by insisting that the study of North American religions is not only incomplete, but damaged, if it fails to critically engage cultural assumptions about sex.

The paper was presented by Megan Goodwin, then a graduate student in Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, but now Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University.

Was this perhaps presented at some session on queer religions? No, it was presented in the North American Religions Sections. Perhaps this was done a long time ago. Well, actually, it was only two years ago, in 2011.

So the study of Mormonism "is not only incomplete, but damaged, if it fails to critically engage cultural assumptions about sex." So, according to Dr. Goodwin, this is what Mormon Studies is about.