Gay Rights, Religion and Society in Transatlantic Perspective (England, Scotland, United States)

Gay rights movements from the 1960s have given sexual minorities a new social visibility which has challenged traditional norms shaped by the religious heritage of the West. Mainstream LGBTQ history has often portrayed the gay rights movements as a campaign against and liberation from religion. Although the negative aspect of religion in LGBTQ rights campaigns and in the formation of the queer conscience has been hugely significant, an exclusive focus on it fails to account for the positive role played by a fair number of religious groups both before and after the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969, which function as a convenient marker of the start of a new era in LGBTQ history. There is also such a thing as liberation by religion which is visible as much in the support given by clerics —and even in some cases by institutional religion— to LGBTQ movements and campaigns, as in the creation of so-called gay churches and synagogues or the rise of queer theology. The queer challenge to social norms includes reclaiming and reshaping religious tradition itself.

This course focuses on three national contexts, England, Scotland and the United States, and seeks to offer comparative insights in the way in which the campaign to deconstruct homophobic social norms has been shaped by the interplay between religious and legal traditions in different social settings. The campaigns for the decriminalisation of homosexuality and for same-gender marriage make for particularly striking case studies.

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Scholarly Papers and Chapters to Annotate (25% of your mark)

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Reviewing an online exhibition (40% of your mark)

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Calendar of the oral presentations

Writing a review of one scholarly paper (35% of your mark)

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