1st Edition

The Ashgate Research Companion to Contemporary Religion and Sexuality

By Andrew K.T. Yip, Stephen J. Hunt Copyright 2012

    The Ashgate Research Companion to Contemporary Religion and Sexuality provides academics and students with a comprehensive and authoritative state-of-the-art review of current research in the area of sexuality and religion, broadly defined. This collection of expert essays offers an inter-disciplinary study of the important aspects of sexuality and religion, calling upon sociological, cultural, historical and theological contributions to an under-researched subject. The Companion focuses on the exploration of diverse religious faiths, spiritualities, and sexualities with contributions that embrace many contrasting approaches related to the contemporary context. By adopting a truly inter-disciplinary and multi-dimensional perspective, the Companion embraces the complexities of both sexuality and religion. Aimed primarily at a readership with specialist interest in both, The Ashgate Research Companion to Contemporary Religion and Sexuality offers an innovative and refreshing analysis of key theoretical and empirical issues in an increasingly relevant and expanding area of academic interest. The Companion comprises five main thematic sections, each with chapters ranging across a variety of crucial topics traversing various faith traditions. The principal themes are: epistemological and methodological issues; the significance of religious text; institutional religious settings; stability transformation and change; contesting hegemonic structures and discourses. Each section includes four chapters contributed by leading international experts in their respective fields and who are at the cutting-edge of current research. Collectively, they offer an inter-disciplinary and comprehensive survey of sexuality and religion.

    Contents: Introduction, Stephen J. Hunt and Andrew Kam-Tuck Yip; Part 1 Epistemological and Methodological Issues: To know in the Biblical sense? Abrahamic religious epistemologies of sexuality and gender, Susannah Cornwall; Feminist critique of sexuality and religion, Lisa Isherwood; Queer theory, sexuality and religion, Olu Jenzen and Sally R. Munt; Looking ’in’ from the ’outside’: the methodological challenges of researching minority ethnic gay men and lesbian women, Asifa Siraj. Part 2 Religious Texts: Reading about sex in the Bible: coping with ambiguities, Adrian Thatcher; Competing identities: uniformity versus diversity in the Roman Catholic priesthood, Jane Anderson; Textual queerings: contesting Islam as heteronormative inheritance, Dervla Shannahan; Menstruation, sexuality and spirituality in Buddhism, Kustiani Kustiani and Stephen J. Hunt. Part 3 Institutional Settings: Virginity in a multidimensional perspective: negotiating pre-marital sex in Dakar, Anouka van Eerdewijk; Probing the boundaries: how religion and sexuality are negotiated within Islamic educational institutions, Fida Sanjakdar; Separating Church and God: an exploration of gay clergymen’s negotiations with institutional church, Michael Keenan; Bisexuality and Christianity: negotiating disparate identities in Church life, Alex Toft. Part 4 Stability, Transformation and Change: Contextualising sexuality and religiosity in contemporary social changes, David A.J. Richards; The queer case of Hinduism: religious discourse and the legitimacy of non-heterosexuality, Stephen J. Hunt; Virgin pride: born again faith and sexual identity in the faith-based abstinence movement, Heather Rachelle White; Risk and the imagined future: young adults negotiating religious and sexual identities, Sarah-Jane Page, Andrew Kam-Tuck Yip and Michael Keenan. Part 5 Contesting Hegemonic Structures and Discourses: Contesting sex-restrictive sexual narratives from within: Jewish laws of menstrual purity and Ort


    Stephen J. Hunt is Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of the West of England, UK and Andrew K.T. Yip is Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham, UK.

    ’The Ashgate Research Companion to Contemporary Religion and Sexuality is a welcome and much-needed addition to books on religion and sexuality that seeks to situate this new field through a collection of excellent papers on: epistemological and methodological issues; religious texts; institutional settings; stability, transformation and change; and contesting hegemonic structures and discourses. It is comprehensive, covering a wide range of topics, religious traditions, methods and theories. In particular, the book recognizes the fluidity of lived religion as well as the often-regulatory nature of official religious voices. In this volume there is much of use for both scholars and students alike. This book will definitely become compulsory reading for my Religion and Sex course.’ Pamela Dickey Young, Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada ’By bringing religion and sexuality into constructive conversation through interdisciplinary inquiry, Stephen J. Hunt and Andrew Yip have achieved a cutting-edge contribution to scholarship. Written by both senior and junior researchers, the essays in the Ashgate Research Companion to Contemporary Religion and Sexuality are fresh, innovative and inspiring.’ Lori G. Beaman, University of Ottawa, Canada ’This is a fascinating collection of essays on the complex relationships and negotiations between religions and human sexualities. It is the sheer diversity of perspectives and approaches that makes this volume so interesting and challenging. Scholarly, yet written in an accessible style, these essays will be of interest to all of us who study this topic.’ Elizabeth Stuart, University of Winchester, UK ’The number of those practicing religion may be in decline, but religion and its practice - both as ritual and social engagement - is ever more discussed, contested or lauded, and not least with regard to what religion has to say about sex and gender, religion’s construction of the human sexes and their pass