Queer Shepherds 2019


XII SQS seminar for Lesbian, Gay and Queer Studies
& International Autumn School and Conference of IARG

September 19–20, 2019,
Åbo Akademi University, Finland Arken campus, Fabriksgatan 2

Society of Queer Studies (SQS) in Finland invites submissions for the 12th Turku seminar on the intersections of queer, religion and spirituality. This year the seminar hosts the International Autumn School and conference of The International Association for the study of Religion and Gender (IARG). As a forum for scholars, students, and activists, the event promotes queer scholarship and networking across disciplines and organizations interested in the subject. The organizing partners also include Finnish Society for the Study of Religion (SUS), Center for the Study of Christian Cultures (CSCC), Gender studies in Åbo Akademi University and University of Turku, Study of Religion in Åbo Akademi University and University of Turku.

Keynote speakers

The XII SQS seminar for LGQ Studies and IARG are pleased to announce three keynote speakers during this conference:
– Th.D. Petri Merenlahti (Special Advisor to the Archbishop of Turku and Finland): “Is Christianity a Manly Man’s Religion?
– Professor Melissa Wilcox (UC Riverside, USA): “Theory in the Interstices: Queering and Transing Religious Studies, Religioning Trans and Queer Studies”.
– Dr. Dawn Llewellyn (University of Chester): “Motherhood and Voluntary Childlessness in Christianity: Narrating Religious Reproductive Agency”.
Professor Melissa Wilcox’ keynote is also the 2019 Temenos lecture, organized together with the Finnish Society for the Study of Religion. For more information about the keynote speakers, and to read their abstracts, please click here.


Click here for more information on registration.


The theme of the conference and the autumn school is “Queer Shepherds”. The theme may be understood as governance and authority in religious and spiritual contexts that involve normativizing practices, social control, discriminatory processes or even abuse of sexual and gender minorities. The term “Queer Shepherds” may also signify a variety of guiding practices, rituals and leadership that shape new religious and spiritual subjectivities and empower queer agencies, often transcending dominant hierarchical structures. The broad theme also addresses counter-narratives and re- interpretations that contribute to social change. Issues relating to “Queer Shepherds” can be critically explored on several levels of analyses, cutting through traditions, arts, organizations and everyday mundane lives. It can be scrutinized in light of how forms of authority are currently changing and adapting to new cultural and societal practices, or how the conceptual trichotomy of religion, spirituality and secularity needs to be deconstructed in order to reveal the logics that constitute “Queer Shepherding”.


In addition to several sessions with research presentations, three keynote lectures and and a closing panel discussion, the program includes The IARG Autumn School for PhD students with a PhD workshop is hosted by Dr. Dawn Llewellyn on the theme “Recognizing our own ‘Gaze’: A Workshop on Writing Reflexively” and an opening and presentation by Sonja Siikanen and photos from the God Love Pride exhibition by Ilar Gunilla Persson. … Of course we will also squeeze in social events and get-together with wine & food!

For an overview of the program, please click here.

IARG workshop – Autumn School for PhD students

Hosted by Dr. Dawn Llewellyn:
Recognizing our own ‘Gaze’: A Workshop on Writing Reflexively

What does it mean to ‘write reflexively’ in your research? How does your personal experience and history shape the knowledge you generate? How does your identity – across gender, race, class, age – change your understanding? What are your political, cultural, and social commitments and how do they influence the questions you ask, the way you ask them, and your interpretation and presentation of your answers?
In this workshop, we will explore the theoretical impetus in the study of religion, gender, and sexuality to acknowledge that ‘research is … a social process … that will have our thumbprints all over it‘ (Ribbens, 1999, 591), discuss the potential limits of reflexivity, and consider the practical ways of “writing ourselves in” to our research.


A special issue on the theme of the conference will be published by the SQS-journal at www.journal.fi/sqs. Participants are invited to submit full papers based on their presentations for peer review to the journal after the conference.

Warmly welcome!

In case you have any questions, please contact:
Eetu Kejonen (SQS) eetu.kejonen@abo.fi
Malin Fredriksson (SUS) malin.fredriksson@abo.fi
Peter Nynäs (ÅA) peter.nynas@abo.fi