Tensions abound in nearly every word of this lecture’s title – how can one be a feminist and queer or queer and a Christian? How can one need a category such as “woman” in order to give feminism a focus and still wish to queer the notion of women without doing intellectual and emotional contortions? I propose to navigate these questions and vexations with the aid of our cross-dressing Christian ancestors, queer mystics, and a range of radically incarnated Christian “others.” I will then ask if Christianity is or should be a queer religion and examine whether there is anything in the Christian tradition that enables queer, feminist, and Christian to sit together comfortably. Or indeed, perhaps the discomfort is the very nature of incarnation and why it is so enlivening!
Lisa Isherwood is the Director of Theological Partnerships at the University of Winchester (UK). As a liberation theologian, Professor Isherwood believes theology to be a communal project fuelled by notions of radical equality and empowered by divine companionship. Her work explores the nature of incarnation with reference to embodiment, gender, sexuality and ecological concerns. She has written, co-authored, or edited 17 books, including The Power of Erotic Celibacy, The Fat Jesus: Feminist Explorations in Boundaries and Transgressions, and Introducing Feminist Christologies. She has also served as co-editor with Marcella Althaus-Reid of the Queering Theology series and Controversies in Contextual Theology. Professor Isherwood is an Executive Editor and founding editor of the international journal Feminist Theology and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. She is on the theological consultancy board for Caritas and is a board member of the Animal Ethics Centre in Oxford.