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Kathryn Lofton, “Sexuality and Religion”

RLST 111/AMST 111/HIST 122/WGSS 111, Yale University 2016

This course explores the relationship between sexuality and religion. Through a series of case studies and theoretical ruminations, we will investigate the relationship between ideas about sex and ideas about religion, as well as sexual practices and religious practices. The purpose of this course is to prepare you for upper-level work in the humanities through rigorous introductions to the practices of scholarly inquiry: close reading, analytic writing, and seminar discussions.


Sex and Religion; Sexual Culture; The Sexual Origins of Religion; Polygamy; Mysticism; Ritual; Family Values; Sex Abuse; Free Love; Sexuality of Secularity; and more


  • Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality (1978)
  • Spencer Klaw, Without Sin: The Life and Death of the Oneida Community (1993)
  • Lucinda Ramberg, Given to the Goddess: South Indian Devadasis and the Sexuality of Religion (2014)
  • Janet R. Jakobsen and Ann Pellegrini, Love the Sin (2004)
  • Leigh Eric Schmidt, Heaven’s Bride (2010).