Literature & literary studies:

Queer Faith

Reading Promiscuity and Race in the Secular Love Tradition


Paperback / softback

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Queer Faith by Melissa E. Sanchez

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Uncoversthe queer logics of premodern religious and secular texts Puttingpremodern theology and poetry in dialogue with contemporary theory andpolitics, Queer Faith reassess thecommonplace view that a modern veneration of sexual monogamy and fidelity findsits roots in Protestant thought. What if this narrative of "history andtradition" suppresses the queerness of its own foundational texts? Queer Faith examines key works of theprehistory of monogamy-from Paul to Luther, Petrarch to Shakespeare-to showthat writing assumed to promote fidelity in fact articulates the affordances ofpromiscuity, both in its sexual sense and in its larger designation of all thatis impure and disorderly. At the same time, Melissa E. Sanchez resists castingpromiscuity as the ethical, queer alternative to monogamy, tracing instead howideals of sexual liberation are themselves attached to nascent racial andeconomic hierarchies. Because discourses of fidelity and freedom are alsodiscourses on racial and sexual positionality, excavating the complexhistorical entanglement of faith, race, and eroticism is urgent to contemporaryqueer debates about normativity, agency, and relationality. Deliberatelyunfaithful to disciplinary norms and national boundaries, this book assemblesnew conceptual frameworks at the juncture of secular and religious thought,political and aesthetic form. It thereby enlarges the contexts, objects, andauthorized genealogies of queer scholarship. Retracinga history that did not have to be, Sanchez recovers writing that inscribesradical queer insights at the premodern foundations of conservative andheteronormative culture.

Author Biography

Melissa E. Sanchez is Associate Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Erotic Subjects (2011) and Shakespeare and Queer Theory (2019), and the co-editor of Rethinking Feminism in Early Modern Studies: Gender, Race, Sexuality (2016).
Release date NZ
August 20th, 2019
2 Illustrations, black and white
Country of Publication
United States
New York University Press
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