Queer Women and Religious Individualism

Queer Women and Religious Individualism

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Description

Melissa M. Wilcox explores the complex spiritual lives of queer women in the Los Angeles area. She takes the reader on a tour of a colorful array of religious and secular groups that serve as spiritual resources for these women-from the well-known Metropolitan Community Churches to Wiccan covens, from the Gay and Lesbian Sierrans to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Arguing that these women's stories are exemplary cases of postmodern patterns of religious identity, belief, and practice, Wilcox offers a nuanced analysis of contemporary Western spirituality and selfhood, and a detailed exploration of the history of queer religious organizing in Los Angeles. Queer Women and Religious Individualism is important reading for scholars in religious studies, sociology, women's studies, and LGBT studies.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 20.32mm | 544.31g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 1 map
  • 0253221161
  • 9780253221162
  • 1,451,400

Review quote

Wilcox (Whitman College) has crafted a remarkably fine study in the sociology of religion that she developed from a base of only 29 LBT core interview subjects. Here she proves herself the equal of Robert Bellah et al., in their landmark community studies Habits of the Heart (1985) and The Good Society (CH, Mar'92, 29-4200), by combining the skills of an adept urban historian, social geographer, gender philosopher, and empathetic observer. The resulting book integrates her interview data into a broader base that enables her to move beyond the responses of interviewees and boundaries of institutional religion into a close description of contemporary styles of spiritual seeking and alternative strategies of human identity formation. Wilcox's insights extend to the dilemmas faced by a large cross-section of 21st-century American citizens so that her study makes good on the two key phrases in her title. It is about religious individualism as well as queer women. She earlier published Coming Out in Christianity: Religion, Identity, and Community (CH, Jun'04, 41-5867) and coedited, with D. R. Machacek, Sexuality and the World's Religions (CH, Apr'04, 41-4608). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. -- ChoiceG. R. Thursby, emeritus, University of Florida, April 2010 "Original research into areas that have not been much investigated or written about... A rather masterful user of [theory], Wilcox is especially interested in taking the idea of 'intersectionality'... and using it as a theoretical reminder that one must represent women in their clearest life contexts of race, gender, community, economics, physical and emotional resources, etc., as well as the individual power they muster to create their own religious lives." -Leonard Primiano, Cabrini College "[This book] approaches the dialogue [of women and religion] with a timely case study that explores the intersection of religious experience and queer identities." -JAAR / Jrnl American Academy of Religion "In this volume Wilcox explores her findings of a survey of women conducted in the Los Angeles area, investigating female sexual variations in relation to religion and spirituality...The volume usefully concludes with biographical summaries and methodological considerations." -Stephen Hunt, Religion and Gender "A remarkably fine study in the sociology of religion. [Wilcox] proves herself the equal of Robert Bellah et al., in their landmark community studies Habits of the Heart (1985) and The Good Society, by combining the skills of an adept urban historian, social geographer, gender philosopher, and empathetic observer. [The result is] a close description of contemporary styles of spiritual seeking and alternative strategies of human identity formation. Highly recommended." -Choiceshow more

About Melissa M. Wilcox

Melissa M. Wilcox is Associate Professor of Religion and Gender Studies at Whitman College and author of Coming Out in Christianity: Religion, Identity, and Community (IUP, 2003) and editor (with David Wayne Machacek) of Sexuality and the World's Religions.show more

Table of contents

ContentsAcknowledgmentsMap of Los Angeles1. Beyond the Congregation2. Setting the Stage: Historical Contexts3. Queering the Spiritual Marketplace4. Negotiating Religion: Continuity, Conversion, Innovation5. Tiles in the Mosaic: Organizations as Resources6. Building a Mosaic: The Sacred (and the) Self7. Queer Women, Religion, and PostmodernityAppendix A. Biographical Summaries Appendix B. Methods and Methodological ConsiderationsAppendix C. Interview SchedulesNotesSelected BibliographyIndexshow more

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