HDS 3203

Sexualities and Religion in the African Diaspora

Jennifer Leath


Contemplating the evolving expressions of Afro-Diasporic Christianity, Islam, and African indigenous spiritualities from the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the present – and exploring twentieth century emergences of Buddhism and alternative religious expressions among Afro-Diasporic individuals and communities, this course acquaints students with a broad landscape of Afro-Diasporic sexual ethics through the lenses of religious traditions. Methodologically, this class challenges students to identify, parse, deconstruct, and reconstruct religious ethical perspectives that calcify as a result of sexualized, gendered, class-oriented, racialized terror and pleasure. Emphasizing the experiences and scholarship of Afro-Diasporic women, this course focuses on the work of scholars and practitioners as chronologically, methodologically, and philosophically diverse as Jarena Lee, Sylvia Wynter, Alice Walker, Amina Wadud, Jan Willis, Emilie Townes, Saidiya Hartman, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, M. Jacqui Alexander, and Katherine McKittrick – recalibrating an academic approach to such scholars and practitioners using the reasoning instruments of religious ethics. This course invites students to uncover ways that religions and sexualities can be (re)imagined to contravene iterations of racial, sexual, gender, class-based, and religious violences. It also prepares students to engage in the constructive work of designing Afro-futurist discursive approaches to diverse social phenomena that develop in tandem with expressions of sexuality and religion in African Diaspora.

Enrollment Limited: Limited to 15 students. Instructor's permission required.
Open to BTI Students: Yes

Course website


0.50 credits
Spring 2015
Fri 12pm-2pm
Rockefeller Hall Room 117

Relationship to Program Requirements

Program Requirement Area / Category / Art / Designation
MTS Area(s) of Focus
  • African and African American Religious Studies
  • Religion, Ethics, and Politics
  • Women, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion
MDiv Distribution Category/ies
  • Christianity
MDiv Art(s) of Ministry
  • Public Leadership, Community Organizing, and Planning
  • Preaching and Worship
Language Course Designation(s) None