Monday, August 17, 2009

Theological faggoting: itineraries for a queer theology in Brazil

Doctoral Thesis by André Sidnei Musskopf


The main argument of this Dissertation is that theology needs to walk other paths. Although
this calling is directed to all theologies which are based on a heterocentric matrix for the
construction of theological knowledge, it is especially directed to Latin-American Liberation
Theology, which the reflections of this Dissertation are understood to be in continuation with.
The themes that it discusses were selected and organized based on the paths crossed by the
author himself, which became itineraries at the same time crossed and suggested as necessary
for the construction of a queer theology in Brazil. This way, the reflections are situated in two
specific contexts that determinate its approach. First, concentrating the research on the
Brazilian context, which becomes evident in the historical re-reading of the processes of
construction of the discourses and practices around religiosity and sexuality in Brazil, as well
as the Brazilian identity in a wider sense, and their importance for the theological reflection.
Second, because it takes on the developments in the area of queer theology as a privileged
space of dialog, which becomes evident in the presentation of the emergence and
development of homosexual-gay-queer theologies since the XIX century and, especially,
during the second half of the XX century, mainly in English speaking countries, but also in
Brazil and Latin America, even if in less formal spaces usually made invisible spaces. From
those two specific contexts emerges the questioning of traditional theological epistemologies
and the challenge of articulating ambiguity as an epistemological principle. Such ambiguity
is, then, discussed conceptually from the studies in several areas and by several authors and
defined from the contexts where the need for its articulation emerged: the Brazilian context
and queer theory. Its strongest articulation, however, is developed in three narratives
presented as “sexual stories” that start the reflexive process about theological epistemology.
This reflection is organized in three moments – “occupy, resist, produce” – one of the most
well known slogans of the Landless Workers Movement (MST). From then on the discussion
turns into a conversation between the “sexual stories” and several authors who have worked
on the epistemological debate, considering issues of identity and language in the intersection
with the discussions on gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, class and ecology. Although the
three moments of this epistemological proposal developed from the idea of ambiguity are part
of the same movement of knowledge production, in the last one the proposals for the
construction of a queer theology in Brazil are materialized through the dialog with Frida
Kahlo’s painting “La venadita”. The character which marks and names the painting – a deer –
and its association with homosexuality in the Brazilian context, through a process of symbolic
appropriation and in accordance with the discussion accomplished in the previous chapters,
allow the definition of those reflections as via(da)gens teológicas [theological faggoting]
giving concrete expression to the itineraries for a queer theology in Brazil.

Keywords: queer theology, epistemology, ambiguity."

Download the complete thesis here.

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