Masterclass: Introduction to Linn Tonstad's queer theology

This focused masterclass uses Linn Tonstad's work in queer and constructive theology as a point of departure for examining questions of method and content in the intersections (or failed encounters) between theology and sexuality.

Associate professor Linn Tonstad, Yale University

Recent years have seen a vast upsurge in interest in queer theology, religion and sexuality. Yet queer theology is often taken up as an apologetic task: a way to make the case that religious approaches to sexuality should expand to sanction, or include, persons whose gender identities or sexual practices and orientations fall outside the standards of heteronormativity. As a result, discussions of the intersection between religion and sexuality, or theology and queerness, are often limited both in scope and resources. Sexuality is treated as something about which everything is already known, while religion is mined for resources or antecedents through which one might make queerness acceptable.

The masterclass will offer participants reasons, and resources, for thinking quite differently about these issues. The workshop will focus on three key questions:

Linn Tonstad is associate professor of systematic theology at Yale Divinity School, affiliate faculty in WGSS and LGBT studies at Yale University, and professor II at the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo. She is the author of two books, God and Difference: The Trinity, Sexuality, and the Transformation of Finitude (Routledge, 2016) and Queer Theology: Beyond Apologetics (Cascade, 2018) as well as a number of articles. She is co-chair of the Theology and Religious Reflection unit and a member of the steering committee of the Queer Studies in Religion unit of the American Academy of Religion, as well as an associate editor of the journal Political Theology. 

1. What is the point of queer theology? That is, what is queer theology about, and what problems is it intended to address?

2. How can, or should, queer theology be done? This is the question of method. This discussion will also address questions of representation and the nature of complex symbol systems in relation to sexuality and religion.

3. How do queer theology and queer studies generally take shape as disciplines? That is, how do we understand the disciplinarity (the texts, expectations, and questions) around which queer studies are formed? 

In each case, the questions will be approached in close conversation with selected readings (cf. reading-list).

Two weeks before the masterclass, participants will be asked to send two motivated questions about queer theology to help structure the workshop. 


The masterclass will be run by Linn Tonstad. It is in particular aimed at ministers, early-career researchers, PhDs and Master and Theology students. Please submit (in English) briefly why you want to take the class (a few sentences) and a short CV (no more than a paragraph) Jone Salomonsen by February 14, 2019. Participants will be notified shortly after this deadline. 

Suggested reading for Masterclass

Texts by Linn Tonstad:

Queer Theology chs. 1, 3, 4 (pp. 1-15, 48-103)

God and Difference prelude (selected pages), interlude, ch. 7 (pp. 1-17, 133-143, 254-286)

“The Limits of Inclusion: Queer Theology and its Others,” Theology & Sexuality 21 no. 1 (2015), 1-19 (

“Everything Queer, Nothing Radical?” Svensk Teologisk Kvartalskrift 92 (2016), 118-129 (

Additional texts:

Marcella Althaus-Reid, Indecent Theology (Routledge, 2000), 1-9

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Paranoid reading and Reparative Reading, or, You’re So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay is About You,” in Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (Duke, 2003), 123-151

Cathy J. Cohen, “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?” in Johnson and Henderson, eds., Black Queer Studies (Duke, 2005), 21-51

Linn Tonstad, “Ambivalent Loves: Christian Theologies, Queer Theologies,” Literature & Theology 31 no. 4 (December 2017), 472-489 (

Published Jan. 28, 2019 1:49 PM - Last modified Feb. 8, 2019 10:27 AM