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  • Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Fisher-Bennett Hall Faculty Lounge (room 135)

Please join us to celebrate the release of
Queer Faith: Reading Promiscuity and Race in the Secular Love Tradition
by Melissa Sanchez
Tuesday 22 October 5:00 Fisher-Bennett 135 (Faculty Lounge)

Melissa Sanchez - Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and core faculty in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Queer Faith: Reading Promiscuity and Race in the Secular Love Tradition
is out now from New York University Press

Putting premodern theology and poetry in dialogue with contemporary theory and politics, Queer Faith reassess the commonplace view that a modern veneration of sexual monogamy and fidelity finds its roots in Protestant thought. What if this narrative of “history and tradition” suppresses the queerness of its own foundational texts? Queer Faith examines key works of the prehistory of monogamy—from Paul to Luther, Petrarch to Shakespeare—to show that writing assumed to promote fidelity in fact articulates the affordances of promiscuity, both in its sexual sense and in its larger designation of all that is impure and disorderly.

At the same time, Melissa E. Sanchez resists casting promiscuity as the ethical, queer alternative to monogamy, tracing instead how ideals of sexual liberation are themselves attached to nascent racial and economic hierarchies. Because discourses of fidelity and freedom are also discourses on racial and sexual positionality, excavating the complex historical entanglement of faith, race, and eroticism is urgent to contemporary queer debates about normativity, agency, and relationality.

Deliberately unfaithful to disciplinary norms and national boundaries, this book assembles new conceptual frameworks at the juncture of secular and religious thought, political and aesthetic form. It thereby enlarges the contexts, objects, and authorized genealogies of queer scholarship. Retracing a history that did not have to be, Sanchez recovers writing that inscribes radical queer insights at the premodern foundations of conservative and heteronormative culture.

Refreshments will be served. Please contact Alicia Meyer ( with any questions.