Gender - K. Merinda Simmons

K. Merinda Simmons [+-]
University of Alabama
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K. Merinda Simmons is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, and author of Changing the Subject: Writing Women across the African Diaspora (Ohio State University Press, 2014). She focuses in her teaching and research on identi- cations of race, gender, and religion in the Caribbean and the American South.
Craig Martin [+-]
St. Thomas Aquinas College
Craig Martin, Ph.D., is Professor of Religious Studies at St. Thomas Aquinas College. His work focuses on method and theory in the study of religion, as well as discourse analysis and ideology critique of modern rhetoric on religion. His recent works include Capitalizing Religion: Ideology and the Opiate of the Bourgeoisie and A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion.


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 2021. ISBN 9781781795446. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=31084. Date accessed: 23 Oct 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.31084. Oct 2021

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