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Special Issue

Secularisms, Sexuality Education, and Theology

In their roundtable, captured as a 2016 article in Feminist Review, Christine Jacobson, Mayanthi Fernando and Janet Jakobsen wonder how, in a contemporary context, we might ‘conceptualise the relationship between sex, gender, religion, and secularism differently?’ (p. 1). One of the concerns driving the conversation is a sense that in a worldview that flattens religion and secularism into apposite categories, ‘The possibility of multiple ideas of freedom almost completely disappears in mainstream politics…because it is assumed that there is secular freedom and there is religious regulation’ (p. 6).

This call for papers seeks research articles that complexify not only the relationships between supposed secular, progressive sexuality education and its religious and purportedly regressive negative counterparts, but also looks to trouble the very idea of this clean split. Holding open the idea that, indeed, there are ways in which religious orientations to sexuality and its education are undoubtedly problematic—indeed in many ways historically, and contemporaneously in, for instance, recent abortion laws at the state level in the USA—we want to work through a different understanding of the relationship between sex and its education in relation to religions, spiritualities, theologies and secularisms.

One concern we have is that oftentimes the ways debates in and around education are framed reduces education to an object acted on by various discourses (e.g., secular, religious, theological, spiritual). Education, in this sense, lacks its own 'place', often reduced to a "state institution" that "socialises" in the form of school. We modify education (secular education; religious education; sexuality education) with comparatively little attention to the concept of education itself.  That is: we focus too often in research and practice on the modifier rather than the subject.

How does sexuality education provide space and time to create new relations between subjects? Certainly, religion and secular ideas/practices are always already present in sexuality education, meeting in moments of consensus and dissensus. What, then, are models of education that play out between religious and secular discourses? In Australia and the USA, one might, for instance, think of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (but also other drag performers) that explore/perform “religion” in queer and sacred ways. Some questions that authors might consider include, but aren’t limited to:

  • How can we think with theologies/secularisms that allow for different ways of imagining sexuality education that are not reliant on making cuts in which some people are always on the wrong side of the boundary?
  • How can foregrounding practices related to gender/sexuality/faith/belief provide different ways of imagining sexuality education?
  • If we are to think of sexuality education as inescapably theological as well as secular, what kinds of theologies and secularisms are best suited to modern ‘secular’ democracies?
  • How are contemporary manifestations of changing tensions within religious traditions and gender and sexuality illustrating the relationship between secularism and theologies?
  • How are the histories of secularisms and theologies intersected with the roles of race and sexuality education?
  • What are competing forms of freedom that are put into play when secularisms, theologies, gender/s and sexualities are put into conversation?
  • What histories exist illustrating the ways religious life has engaged the work of sexuality education in distinction from religious dogma?

Articles may focus on education in both formal and informal spaces.  That is: we do not intend to suggest that education is directly and only connected with schooling and are very much interested in writing that draws on the realm and work of, for instance, public pedagogy. 

Authors might choose to address topics related to curriculum, policy and/or educational practices that narrowly and deeply target issues in primary/secondary/tertiary educational contexts or, more expansively, the ways in which sexuality is educated through the secular theologies of bars, city streets, public monuments, museums, advertising campaigns, fashion, parks, bathhouses, community centres, and so on. 

We are, furthermore, interested in theoretical, analytical and theological essays that engage sexuality, secularisms, and theologies into different kinds of conversations that push past historic impasses about public policy, im/possible lives and new orientations to faith, or its lacking.

Sex Education is a leading international journal publishing papers on all aspects of sex, sexuality and sex and relationships education.

Language: en-US

Publisher: tandf

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Guest Editors

Secularisms, Sexuality Education, and Theology

Mary Lou Rasmussen 

Marylou.Rasmussen@anu.edu.au


Kevin J. Burke

burkekq@uga.edu


Adam J. Greteman

agreteman@saic.edu

Submission Instructions

The deadline for submission is July 1, 2020.

Manuscripts should follow Sex Education journal’s usual formatting guidelines.

Papers must not exceed 7500 words, inclusive of the abstract, tables, references, figure captions.

All articles will be peer reviewed in the usual way and only those that comply with the journal’s normal expectations will be accepted for publication.

If you would like to discuss your paper informally with one of the special issue editors, please contact (via email) one of the co-editors of the special issue.

Please submit your paper through the journal’s online submission and review site.

When you submit, please mark your paper clearly for consideration for inclusion in the Secularisms special issue. All papers submitted will undergo the standard peer review process.

General enquiries about the journal can be emailed to the journal’s editor-in-chief, Peter Aggleton (p.aggleton@unsw.edu.au) or to the journal administrator, Fiona Thirlwell (editorialofficeuk@gmail.com)

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