Gender - K. Merinda Simmons

K. Merinda Simmons [+-]
University of Alabama
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K. Merinda Simmons is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Graduate Director of the Religion in Culture MA Program at the University of Alabama. Her books include Changing the Subject: Writing Women across the African Diaspora (Ohio State UP, 2014), The Trouble with Post-Blackness (co-edited with Houston A. Baker, Jr., Columbia UP, 2015), and Race and New Modernisms (co-authored with James A. Crank, Bloomsbury, 2019). She is editor of the book series Concepts in the Study of Religion: Critical Primers (Equinox).
Craig Martin [+-]
St. Thomas Aquinas College
Craig Martin, Ph.D., is Professor of Religious Studies at St. Thomas Aquinas College. He writes on discourse analysis and ideology critique; his most recent books include Capitalizing Religion: Ideology and the Opiate of the Bourgeoisie (Bloomsbury, 2014) and A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion, 2nd Edition (Routledge, 2017).


Identifications of both gender and religion rely heavily upon identifications of similarity and difference, familiarity and exoticism, both with respect to gender and sexuality and religions themselves. How do we mark “otherness”? Where does it live, geographically and culturally? What does it look like, and how do we use prior understandings of what/who is familiar in order to identify it? How do we strategically use what is alien to denature what students take as natural? Conversely, how do we use what they take to be natural to illuminate what is alien? Along with offering answers to these questions, we will discuss how “otherness” is subsequently policed and what modes of social anxiety are present in such policing. We will draw from examples in the classroom regarding the often unconsciously held? thresholds seemingly present for our students as they go about identifying otherness. Similarly, our own pedagogical choices in determining the case studies to introduce or not introduce are telling.

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Simmons, K. Merinda; Martin, Craig. Exotic/Familiar. Gender. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2024. ISBN 9781781795446. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=31084. Date accessed: 30 Nov 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.31084. Oct 2024

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