CSGS Visiting Scholar: Márcia Elisa Moser

CSGS Visiting Scholar: fall 2010

Márcia Elisa MoserMárcia Elisa Moser

Márcia Elisa Moser is Assistant Lecturer at the Institute for the Scientific Study of Religion at Free University Berlin. She holds an M.A. in Gender Studies and is a Ph.D. candidate in the Study of Religion. She co-edited Frau-Gender-Queer: Gendertheoretische Ansätze in der Religionswissenschaft (Würzburg, 2010), an anthology concerned with gender/theoretical approaches to the study of religion. In 2009/2010 she held the position as Women’s Officer and is founding member of the Interdisciplinary Forum for Gender and Diversity Studies both at the Department of History and Cultural Studies, Free University Berlin. Her research interests are feminist approaches, gender/queer theory and intersectionality and their integration into the study of religion.

Current research:

Christian Sexualities and Double Commitment: On Meaning and Function of the recent Christian debate on ‘Homosexuality’ in Germany

My Ph.D. project is concerned with the interrelatedness of religion and sexuality from a non-theological point of view. This interrelatedness will be analyzed on the basis of Christian positions about homosexuality. The Christian debate on homosexuality since the 1960s in Germany marks the historical and cultural frame of the analysis. A special interest of this analysis is to question the different definitions of homosexuality and their knowledge foundations. First, in this context “homosexuality” is defined in dissociation from general “sexuality”, i.e., “heterosexuality”, and in combination with questions of gender identity. In my PhD project I will take on the concern of theorizing the correlating Christian concepts of sexuality and gender. Secondly, apart from religious and theological sources to define and evaluate homosexuality (as for example the bible itself) there are many quotations from psychological, medical or anthropological sources. I want to focus on these references of non-religious and non-theological knowledge and highlight the strategies of how they are linked to Christian argumentations.

This focus is related to my theoretical understanding of religion as a social category. Accordingly, religious doctrines are constantly challenged by social change and need to be justified or updated steadily. In this process, knowledge from other scientific, ideological or social areas is taken up and discussed within the Christian debate. With regard to Christian theology’s own knowledge these foundations from other sources are either negated or integrated into a Christian theological argumentation. In my Ph.D. project I want to examine how this transfer of religious and secular knowledge takes place. As such religion is always to be understood and analyzed within specific historical and social contexts and can hardly be separated from them. My approach to theoretically rethink the interrelatedness of religion and sexuality is build on the idea of conceiving of them as historical and social categories.

A further focal point of my work is to investigate the relevance of the issue sexuality in fights regarding the “true” understanding of being Christian and the “true” essence of Christianity itself. Concerning the Christian debate on homosexuality I am especially interested in questioning why homosexuality should be a challenge for Christian identity. I argue that the Christian debate on homosexuality is not just an expression of religious conflicts over sexual ethics which focus on the question of how to define sexuality, but that the debate also circles around the essential definition of “being Christian”.

You can email Márcia Elisa Moser at mmoser(at)zedat.fu-berlin.de