Pride Month Reading

Some Suggested Titles from AAR's Reading Religion

Reading Religion is an openly accessible book review website published by the American Academy of Religion. The site provides up-to-date coverage of scholarly publishing in religious studies, reviewed by scholars with special interest and/or expertise in the relevant subfields. Reviews aim to be concise, comprehensive, and timely.

Below, the editors of Reading Religion have selected some books and reviews from the site and have shared some titles available to review. If you’re interested in reviewing books for Reading Religion, take a look at the guidelines. If there are any books missing from the Reading Religion site that you think should be there, email [email protected].

Reviews to Read

Circuits of the Sacred: A Faggotology in the Black Latinx Caribbean

By Carlos Ulises Decena

From the review:

“More than memoir, more than monograph, [this book] boldly undresses dominant preconceptions surrounding queer spiritual and sexual identity. But this undressing does not leave us stripped and shivering in the cold light of academic discourse. Instead, Decena welcomes us into a blistering faggotology...” - Marion Eames White

Constructive Theology and Gender Variance: Transformative Creatures

By Susannah Cornwall

From the review:

"Cornwall engages in a deeply knowledgeable, insightful, and creative way with the theological, pastoral, ethical, medical, political, and legal aspects of trans issues, drawing on helpful analogies . . .  to better understand what really is at stake in the debates about trans concerns.” - Stefanie Knauss

Sacred Queer Stories: Ugandan LGBTQ+ Refugee Lives and the Bible

By Adriaan van Klinken, Johanna Stiebert, Brian Sebyala, and Fredrick Hudson

From the review:

“[This book] extends van Klinken’s project of demystifying and decolonizing the LGBTQ+ experience in the African continent and Stiebert’s project of gender-informed biblical studies, and complexifies the conventional narrative that conservatism and homophobia are the only faces of Christianity on the continent.” - Flora x. Tang

Flaming?: The Peculiar Theopolitics of Fire and Desire in Black Male Gospel Performance

By Alisha Lola Jones

From the review:

“I found Flaming? to be an insightful and provocative book. Jones does an excellent job of exploring how black male gospel singers use their music and performances to challenge traditional notions of masculinity and sexuality. Jones’ analysis of black male gospel singers is nuanced and insightful. She avoids the trap of celebrating or condemning these singers and offers a complex and nuanced analysis of their work.” - Michelle Ann Patterson

Queer Judaism: LGBT Activism and the Remaking of Jewish Orthodoxy in Israel

By Orit Avishai

From the review:

“Avishai's work offers a nuanced perspective on the intersection of Orthodox identity and LGBT experiences, challenging traditional sociological frameworks and shedding light on the complex interplay between Orthodoxy and LGBT identity in Israel.” - Katrina Daly Thompson

Available for Review

Jewcy: Jewish Queer Lesbian Feminisms for the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Marla Brettschneider

From the publisher:
Jewcy: Jewish Queer Lesbian Feminisms for the Twenty-First Century presents the rich diversity of Jewish life from perspectives that center lesbian and queer Jewish feminist people and issues. Blending scholarship with poetry, memoir, and other genres, it reopens the field of Jewish lesbian writing that has been largely dormant since the early 2000s. The contributors illustrate the diversity of Jewish lesbian experience through a range of topics, voices, and genres and explore how this experience intersects with Black, Mizrahi, Sephardi, Indigenous, and trans identities. Opening timely new dialogues between the various fields of Jewish, feminist, queer, trans, decolonial, and critical race studies, Jewcy encourages readers both inside and outside the academy to rethink narrow conceptions of Jewishness.”




Appalling Bodies: Queer Figures Before and After Paul's Letters

By Joseph A. Marchal

From the publisher:
“The letters of Paul are among the most commonly cited biblical texts in ongoing cultural and religious disputes about gender, sexuality, and embodiment. Appalling Bodies reframes these uses of the letters by reaching past Paul toward other, far more fascinating figures that appear before, after, and within the letters. The letters repeat ancient stereotypes about women, eunuchs, slaves, and barbarians--in their Roman imperial setting, each of these overlapping groups were cast as debased, dangerous, and complicated.

Joseph Marchal presents new ways for us to think about these dangers and complications with the help of queer theory. Appalling Bodies juxtaposes these ancient figures against recent figures of gender and sexual variation, in order to defamiliarize and reorient what can be known about both. The connections between the marginalization and stigmatization of these figures troubles the history, ethics, and politics of biblical interpretation. Ultimately, Marchal assembles and reintroduces us to Appalling Bodies from then and now, and the study of Paul's letters may never be the same.”



The Sexual Politics of Black Churches

Edited by Josef Sorett

From the publisher:
“This book brings together an interdisciplinary roster of scholars and practitioners to analyze the politics of sexuality within Black churches and the communities they serve. In essays and conversations, leading writers reflect on how Black churches have participated in recent discussions about issues such as marriage equality, reproductive justice, and transgender visibility in American society. They consider the varied ways that Black people and groups negotiate the intersections of religion, race, gender, and sexuality across historical and contemporary settings.

Individually and collectively, the pieces included in this book shed light on the relationship between the cultural politics of Black churches and the broader cultural and political terrain of the United States. Contributors examine how churches and their members participate in the formal processes of electoral politics as well as how they engage in other processes of social and cultural change. They highlight how contemporary debates around marriage, gender, and sexuality are deeply informed by religious beliefs and practices.”



Queer Bible Commentary, Second Edition

By Mona West, Robert E. Shore-Goss

From the publisher:
“First published over ten years ago, The Queer Bible Commentary brings together the work of several scholars and pastors known for their interest in the areas of gender, sexuality and Biblical studies. Contributors draw on feminist, queer, deconstructionist, utopian theories, the social sciences and historical-critical discourses. The focus is both how reading from lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender perspectives affect the reading and interpretation of biblical texts and how biblical texts have and do affect LGBTQ+ communities. This revised 2nd edition includes updated bibliographies and chapters taking into account the latest literature relating to queer interpretation of scripture.”




Kids on the Street: Queer Kinship and Religion in San Francisco's Tenderloin

By Joseph Plaster

From the publisher:
“In Kids on the Street, Joseph Plaster explores the informal support networks that enabled abandoned and runaway queer youth to survive in tenderloin districts across the United States. Tracing the history of the downtown lodging house districts where marginally housed youth regularly lived beginning in the late 1800s, Plaster focuses on San Francisco’s Tenderloin from the 1950s to the present. He draws on archival, ethnographic, oral history, and public humanities research to outline the queer kinship networks, religious practices, performative storytelling, and migratory patterns that allowed these kids to foster social support and mutual aid. He shows how they collectively and creatively managed the social trauma they experienced, in part by building relationships with johns, bartenders, hotel managers, bouncers, and other vice district denizens. By highlighting a politics where the marginal position of street kids is the basis for a moral economy of reciprocity, Plaster excavates a history of queer life that has been overshadowed by major narratives of gay progress and pride.”