UNE Center for Global Humanities presents “Religious Freedom, Sexual Freedom”

CGH fall lecture

As astute observers of American politics know, many of our political battles concern what goes on in the privacy of our own bedrooms. Sex, it would seem, represents an unbridgeable fault line between Christian conservatives and secular liberals. But what if the principles of religious freedom and sexual freedom didn’t have to be perpetually opposed? What if religious freedom and sexual freedom were actually entwined values in which the realization of one is necessary for the realization of the other?

This is the topic scholar Janet R. Jakobsen will explore when she visits the University of New England Center for Global Humanities to present a lecture titled “Religious Freedom, Sexual Freedom” on Monday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. at the Westbrook College of Health Professions Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion on the UNE Portland Campus for Health Sciences.

Jakobsen is the Claire Tow Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and co-director of the Center for Research on Women at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her most recent book, The Sex Obsession: Perversity and Possibility in American Politics, was a 2021 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in LGBTQ Studies. She was the founding editor of the web journal Scholar & Feminist Online and has taught as a visiting professor at Wesleyan University and Harvard University. Before entering academia, she was a policy analyst and organizer in Washington, D.C.

Jakobsen’s lecture at UNE will examine our current US political and cultural frameworks that position the right to exercise religious freedom in opposition to the rights associated with gender and sexual freedom -- whether those of bodily autonomy, access to medical care, or participation in public life. Then she will explain how we might adopt a new way of seeing and discussing these inter-related rights to move beyond the discord and toward a more productive form of discourse.

This lecture will be the third of five events this fall at the Center for Global Humanities, where lectures are always free, open to the public, and streamed live online.

Click here for more information and to watch the event.