New writing: Singing from the margins

Here’s a short piece that just came out on SSRC’s The Immanent Frame: Secularism, religion, and the public sphere blog. I was honored to be invited by the editors to contribute to a discussion of social inequality in/and religious studies. Given my ambivalent affiliation with the field of religious studies, I wasn’t sure at first who to address in my commentary. Conservative Korean clergy and religion scholars who think queer and trans people are the devil’s spawn and would never read The Immanent Frame? American religious studies scholars who could care less about Christian conservatives in South Korea? South Korean theologians who roll their eyes at the vulgarity of anti-queer protesters but do not lift a finger to challenge homophobia and heterosexism all around them?

Hard to say… So instead of preaching to the choir or wagging my finger in high-and-mightly self-righteousness, I decided to tell a short story as a way to illustrate my thoughts about the spaces of solidarity and hospitality. The disputatious line between queers and anti-queer protesters isn’t just a nuisance—even though it is—but also a meaningful site where an encounter takes place, albeit in hostile opposition. The line doesn’t divide secular queers from Christian homophobes. The line demonstrates the contentious struggle over co-existence and hospitality. It’s not referenced explicitly in this blog post, but in my book manuscript, I hope to engage more deeply with the anthropologist and independent scholar Kim Hyun-kyung’s phenomenal 2015 book, Saram, Changso, Hwantae 사람, 장소, 환대 [Person, Place, Hospitality].