Andreas I. Berg at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkely
Andreas I. Berg, a PhD fellow from the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, spent a full academic year at a top-level institution within his field.
An opportunity to get closer to the field
The ATTR-Scholarship, opened up the possibility to visit Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley for an academic year, giving me the opportunity to get closer to my field of Queer Theological Studies; a central academic theory for my dissertation “Same sex marriage as assimilation or equality through difference: A Queer Theological discourse on intimate relationships.”
Generally, in western society, and specifically, in theology, the discourse on intimate relationship is predominantly formed by what Judith Butler names a heterosexual matrix. i.e. a system that assumes that for bodies to cohere and make sense there must be a stable sex expressed through a stable gender (masculine expresses male, feminine expresses female) that is oppositionally and hierarchically defined through the compulsory practice of heterosexuality.
When met with humans that deviates in a significantly way from this heterosexual matrix, such as LGBTIQ+ persons, the theological discourse strikes a problem: How can one discuss a theology of intimate relationship, without assimilating LGBTQI+ persons in to a heterosexual Matrix?
My dissertation will explore this possibility through two main lines. First I will collect qualitative data by interviewing people who personally define themselves as LGBTIQ+ persons. I will examine in what space my informants construct and construe intimate relationships. Second I will use this data in a theological discourse to figure out how a heterosexual matrix can be deconstructed as space for theological construction of intimate relationships, thus constructing a queer space, liberated from a heterosexual matrix on intimate relationships.
Presentations for experts within the field
The Exchange has been very fruitful, where I have had the possibility to focus on my dissertational work in a research environment not present in Norway; through contact with other professors and PhD-students, I have presented my work for other experts within the field. This has not only resulted in constructive criticism, but also a perfect opportunity to show my work for a broader audience of academics, not being able to reach otherwise.
The scholarship has given me the joyful experience of introducing me to a new academic culture, colleagues, and friends, influencing my work and developing my skills for future work and writings.