Over the past few decades, American society has increased its tolerance and acceptance of differing sexualities. Those that voice opposition to acceptance of homosexuality on religious grounds often consider homosexuality to be “unnatural.” However, homosexual behavior is widespread across the animal kingdom. In addition to well-known examples such as in mammals and birds, homosexual behaviors occur in reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. Among the primate order, homosexual behavior is most frequently observed in bonobos. However, it also occurs in other species, such as Japanese macaques and capuchin monkeys. Recent observations of homosexual behavior in male spider monkeys adds to our knowledge of these behaviors and may help us answer questions about the evolutionary functions homosexual behaviors may play, as well as allow us to consider if other animals have sexual orientations similar to the identities that humans construct. – SOURCE
Conference Date: December 4-5, 2017
Location: Queens College, Flushing, New York
- To the extent that we acknowledge the divisive and exclusionary impulses within the Abrahamic religions, what new approaches to the study and interpretation of the Abrahamic Scriptures might help us counteract those impulses?
- How is hospitality towards the stranger essential to and not merely a contingent byproduct of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim faiths?
- What hermeneutic or analytic resources can we mine from the Abrahamic Scriptures that can help us examine and address racism and racial prejudice?
- How can we come to a renewed understanding of the significance/role of women in the three Abrahamic scriptures?
- How might the Jewish, Christian, or Muslim scriptures provide new approaches to probing or addressing the challenges posed by LGBTQ individuals to religious communities?
- How can we read the stance towards the infidel/unbeliever/heretic in the Jewish, Christian, or Muslim scriptures in more nuanced ways?
- What might a stranger-friendly hermeneutical approach look like and how might it be argued for?
- How can the challenge of welcoming the other qua other inform or transform our pedagogies, or the ways in which we engage one another as scholars?
- How can acknowledging and inhabiting our own status as strangers (e.g., as Biblical scholars in secular institutions) help us better understand the ethical challenge posed by the stranger?