CFP: Religion and Sexual Revolutions in the U.S.

Monica L. Mercado

It's that time of year when course evaluations for the previous term roll in, and I've been pleasantly surprised by student reflections on my Fall 2013 course, Sex and Sexualities in Modern U.S. History, some articulating the goals of the course even more elegantly than I did:
I think there are some ways in which I previously thought of sexuality as a private matter between individuals, but this class has constantly challenged me to think about the multitude of ways in which larger cultural, economic, political, and religious forces have shaped individual’s sexual identities, experiences, and choices.
As I had hoped, when sharing my syllabus back in September, my students did in fact express interest in discussing the intersections of religion and sexuality in American culture. A handful of final papers pursued these issues more in depth, exploring recent movements of gay Christians, evangelical marriage manuals (a la Amy DeRogatis), and organizations like the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., which emerged out of the 1961 North American Conference on Church and Family

So I was particularly excited to see the latest CFP out of the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics for the graduate student conference "Religion and Sexual Revolutions in the United States," taking place in St. Louis on May 9, 2014, with the University of Delaware's Rebecca Davis giving the keynote. 

Graduate Student Conference Call for Papers: 

“Religion and Sexual Revolutions in the United States”
Submission deadline: Friday, February 28, 2014

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis invites paper proposals for a graduate student conference on the topic of “Religion and Sexual Revolutions in the United States.” 

We are interested in graduate student papers that focus on any aspect of religious responses and/or contributions to changing sexual cultures in the United States, from the colonial period to the present. While we expect the conference to generate insights on the sexual revolutions that grew out of the 1960s and 1970s, we also invite submissions that interpret the idea of “sexual revolution” more broadly, to include for example: the sexual politics of new religious movements during the First or Second Great Awakening; religious responses to the “flapper” and “pansy” crazes of the 1920s; or religious voices in the feminist “sex wars” of the 1980s. 

We particularly welcome proposals that complicate existing narratives about religious conservatism and sexual politics, that highlight leftist and centrist religious responses to sexual revolution, or that emphasize the contributions and reactions of minority religious communities and new religious movements to shifting sexual cultures and debates.

The conference will be held on Friday, May 9, 2014 at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. Graduate students at any institution are invited to submit paper proposals. Limited funding will be available for all speakers. 

To apply, please submit a paper proposal of no more than 500 words and a current C.V. to by February 28, 2014, with “Religion and Sexual Revolutions” in the subject line.


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