Queer Women and Religious Individualism

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Overview

Melissa M. Wilcox explores the complex spiritual lives of queer women in the Los
Angeles area. She takes the reader on a tour of a colorful array of religious and secular groups that serve as spiritual resources for these women—from the well-known Metropolitan
Community Churches to Wiccan covens, from the Gay and Lesbian Sierrans to the Sisters of Perpetual
Indulgence. Arguing that these women's stories are exemplary cases of postmodern patterns of religious identity, belief, and practice, Wilcox offers a nuanced analysis of contemporary Western spirituality and selfhood, and a detailed exploration of the history of queer religious organizing in Los Angeles. Queer Women and Religious Individualism is important reading for scholars in religious studies, sociology, women's studies, and LGBT studies.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"A remarkably fine study in the sociology of religion. [Wilcox] proves herself the equal of Robert Bellah et al., in their landmark community studies Habits of the Heart (1985) and The Good Society, by combining the skills of an adept urban historian, social geographer, gender philosopher, and empathetic observer. [The result is] a close description of contemporary styles of spiritual seeking and alternative strategies of human identity formation. Highly recommended." —Choice

JAAR / Jrnl American Academy of Religion

"[This book] approaches the dialogue [of women and religion] with a timely case study that explores the intersection of religious experience and queer identities." —JAAR / Jrnl American Academy of Religion

Religion and Gender
"In this volume Wilcox explores her findings of a survey of women conducted in the Los Angeles area, investigating female sexual variations in relation to religion and spirituality....The volume usefully concludes with biographical summaries and methodological considerations." —Stephen Hunt, Religion and Gender

— Stephen Hunt

JAAR/Journal American Academy of Religion
"[This book] approaches the dialogue [of women and religion] with a timely case study that explores the intersection of religious experience and queer identities." —JAAR/Journal American Academy of Religion
Leonard Primiano

"Original research into areas that have not been much investigated or written about.... A rather masterful user of [theory], Wilcox is especially interested in taking the idea of 'intersectionality'... and using it as a theoretical reminder that one must represent women in their clearest life contexts of race, gender, community, economics, physical and emotional resources, etc., as well as the individual power they muster to create their own religious lives." —Leonard Primiano, Cabrini College

G. R. Thursby

Wilcox (Whitman College) has crafted a remarkably fine study in the sociology of religion that she developed from a base of only 29 LBT core interview subjects. Here she proves herself the equal of Robert Bellah et al., in their landmark community studies Habits of the Heart (1985) and The Good Society (CH, Mar'92, 29-4200), by combining the skills of an adept urban historian, social geographer, gender philosopher, and empathetic observer. The resulting book integrates her interview data into a broader base that enables her to move beyond the responses of interviewees and boundaries of institutional religion into a close description of contemporary styles of spiritual seeking and alternative strategies of human identity formation. Wilcox's insights extend to the dilemmas faced by a large cross-section of 21st-century American citizens so that her study makes good on the two key phrases in her title. It is about religious individualism as well as queer women. She earlier published Coming Out in Christianity: Religion, Identity, and Community (CH, Jun'04, 41-5867) and coedited, with D. R. Machacek, Sexuality and the World's Religions (CH, Apr'04, 41-4608). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. -- ChoiceG. R. Thursby, emeritus, University of Florida, April 2010

Religion and Gender - Stephen Hunt

"In this volume Wilcox explores her findings of a survey of women conducted in the Los Angeles area, investigating female sexual variations in relation to religion and spirituality....The volume usefully concludes with biographical summaries and methodological considerations." —Stephen Hunt, Religion and Gender

From the Publisher
"In this volume Wilcox explores her findings of a survey of women conducted in the
Los Angeles area, investigating female sexual variations in relation to religion and spirituality....The volume usefully concludes with biographical summaries and methodological considerations." —Stephen Hunt, Religion and Gender

"[This book] approaches the dialogue [of women and religion] with a timely case study that explores the intersection of religious experience and queer identities."
—JAAR / Jrnl American Academy of Religion

"A remarkably fine study in the sociology of religion. [Wilcox] proves herself the equal of Robert Bellah et al., in their landmark community studies Habits of the Heart
(1985) and The Good Society, by combining the skills of an adept urban historian, social geographer,
gender philosopher, and empathetic observer. [The result is] a close description of contemporary styles of spiritual seeking and alternative strategies of human identity formation.
Highly recommended." —Choice

Wilcox (Whitman College) has crafted a remarkably fine study in the sociology of religion that she developed from a base of only 29 LBT core interview subjects. Here she proves herself the equal of Robert Bellah et al., in their landmark community studies Habits of the Heart
(1985) and The Good Society (CH, Mar'92, 29-4200), by combining the skills of an adept urban historian, social geographer, gender philosopher, and empathetic observer. The resulting book integrates her interview data into a broader base that enables her to move beyond the responses of interviewees and boundaries of institutional religion into a close description of contemporary styles of spiritual seeking and alternative strategies of human identity formation. Wilcox's insights extend to the dilemmas faced by a large cross-section of 21st-century American citizens so that her study makes good on the two key phrases in her title. It is about religious individualism as well as queer women. She earlier published Coming Out in Christianity: Religion,
Identity, and Community (CH, Jun'04, 41-5867) and coedited, with D. R. Machacek, Sexuality and the World's Religions (CH, Apr'04, 41-4608). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. — ChoiceG. R. Thursby, emeritus, University of
Florida, April 2010

Choice

"A remarkably fine study in the sociology of religion. [Wilcox] proves herself the equal of Robert Bellah et al., in their landmark community studies Habits of the Heart (1985) and The Good Society, by combining the skills of an adept urban historian, social geographer, gender philosopher, and empathetic observer. [The result is] a close description of contemporary styles of spiritual seeking and alternative strategies of human identity formation. Highly recommended." —Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253221162
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Melissa M. Wilcox is Associate Professor of Religion and Gender Studies at Whitman
College and author of Coming Out in Christianity: Religion, Identity, and Community (IUP, 2003) and editor (with David Wayne Machacek) of Sexuality and the World's Religions.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents
Acknowledgments
Map of Los Angeles

1.
Beyond the Congregation
2. Setting the Stage: Historical Contexts
3. Queering the
Spiritual Marketplace
4. Negotiating Religion: Continuity, Conversion,
Innovation
5. Tiles in the Mosaic: Organizations as Resources
6. Building a
Mosaic: The Sacred (and the) Self
7. Queer Women, Religion, and
Postmodernity

Appendix A. Biographical Summaries
Appendix B. Methods and
Methodological Considerations
Appendix C. Interview
Schedules
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

Indiana University Press

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