Project Lead: Dr Chris Greenough
Funding Source: Research Investment Funding
Time frame: 2018-2020
Summary of rationale
Tackling the themes of gender and sexuality poses crucial questions to the discipline of theology and religious studies. It is not uncommon that discussions relating to these questions have often been controversial, sensitive or problematic in religious spheres. There are regular TV and media discussion panels debating questions about how LGBT+ lives and Christianity are seemingly incompatible. In conservative religious settings, we see how verses selected from the Bible are used to condemn same sex relationships/marriage, transgender recognition, gay and lesbian parenting or adoption. In this context, this research project engages with the complexity and diversity of non-normative identities and Christianity. See his blog post here: Is it possible to be queer and religious? Dr Greenough’s work explores some of these questions, as well as engaging with queer theory and non-traditional methods.
Dr Greenough’s first monograph, Undoing Theology: Life Stories from Non-normative Christians (2018, SCM Press) explores life stories as a source for theology and demonstrates how individually constructed and personalised theologies reshape traditional understandings of Christianity. Professor Adrian Thatcher (University of Exeter) describes the book as “engaging and thoughtful”, “bold and truthful” in his review. You can read more on why theology needs undoing in this blog post.
Dr Greenough is completing his second monograph Queer Theologies: The Basics (Routledge, forthcoming). The book offers a comprehensive critical evaluation of the scholarship in this subject area. The aim of the book is to engage with the notoriously difficult texts which are characteristic of queer theory and theologies with the aim of presenting the subject area in an accessible way. The book covers the development of queer theologies, queering ‘traditional’ theology, queer theologies from beyond the Global West, queer Bible and queer Christian lives.
Dr Greenough actively disseminates research from the project as invited speaker to other universities, including recent presentations at seminars at University of Westminster, University of Chester, University of Sheffield.
In November 2019, Dr Greenough is co-organising Queer Faith Voices, a regional collaboration between Edge Hill University, the Diocese of Liverpoool, Homotopia and Liverpool Queer Collective to be hosted in Liverpool. The event will comprise a panel discussion of topics relating to queer and faith identities, considering and celebrating what it means to be an LGBTQ+ person of faith today.
- Undoing Theology: Life Stories from Non-normative Christians (2018, SCM Press)
- ‘Queering Fieldwork in Religion: Exploring Life Stories with Non-normative Christians Online’ in Fieldwork in Religion (Equinox, 2017);
- ‘Visual Intimacies: Faith, Sexuality and Photography’ in Sexuality and Culture (Springer, 2018)
- ‘Queer Literacy: Visibility, Representation, and LGBT+ Research Ethics’ (co-authored with Dr Mark Edward, Edge Hill University) in Iphofen, R. (ed.) Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity (Springer, online first). pp 1-12
- ‘Ambiguities, Authenticity and Actualisation: Life Story Research with a Bisexual Christian’ in Toft, A. and Yip, A.K.T. (eds.) Bisexuality, Spirituality, Identity (Routledge, forthcoming).
- Queer Theologies: The Basics (Routledge, forthcoming).
Dr Greenough is interested in the application of queer theory to disrupt traditional academic pathways of knowledge production, thereby enabling queer researchers to develop new, original and bespoke ways of researching. In this, he explores the relationship between queer theory to “undoing” methods, which queers the binary between theory/practice. He has three journal articles in press detailing the possibilities between queer theory and undoing methods.
- (accepted, in press) ‘Theological Talk in a Salsa Bar on Wigan Pier’, Theology.
- (accepted, in press) ‘Activism in Queer Biblical Studies: Methods, Classroom and Community’ Journal of Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies.
- (under review) “Queer Eye” in Theology and Biblical Studies: “Do you have to be queer to do this?”, Journal of Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies.
As an external member of Sheffield Institute of Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies and The Shiloh Project, Dr Greenough is currently collaborating with Dr Katie Edwards (University of Sheffield) on a project on the figure of Jesus as a victim of sexual abuse and the stigma associated with male sexual abuse.