This panel brings together threads of religious history, sexuality studies, and intellectual history. It seeks to demonstrate that religious thinkers – preachers, ministers, laypeople, theologians, and artists – have made essential contributions to how modern Americans think about sex. Rather than sit on the sidelines of secular sexual modernity, religious thinkers should be considered integral to the making of 20th-century sexual enthusiasm. While intellectual historians have long recognized the importance of Puritans and other “reactionaries” for sexual discourse, we are more likely to ignore how modern sexuality is often infused with religious ideas. Our presenters challenge a binary narrative that places religion in a reactionary conservative mode and seculars in progressive worldly stance.
Join a diverse group of historians in discussion! Panelists include Monica Mercado (Colgate University), Katherine Dugan (Springfield College), Suzanna Krivulskaya (California State University San Marcos), Anthony Petro (Boston University), Samira Mehta (University of Colorado) and Peter Cajka (University of Notre Dame).