Click here to register for this ONLINE Lecture, which will be offered via Zoom Webinar!
Join the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS) for our 13th Annual CLGS Georgia Harkness Lecture!
In this online lecture, Professor Julia Watts Belser probes the embodied ethics and spiritual insights of Claire Cunningham’s Thank You Very Much, a contemporary dance performance that brings queer disability culture into provocative conversation with the glittering world of Elvis tribute artists.
Using disability dance to surface unexpected liberatory possibility within biblical and rabbinic Jewish texts, this lecture will bear witness to the violence arrayed against queer and disabled lives and also claim the sacred potency of queer disability joy—illuminating the revelatory power of the choice to unfurl the brilliance of our embodied difference.
Julia Watts Belser (she/her) is a rabbi, scholar, and spiritual teacher who works at the intersections of disability studies, queer feminist Jewish ethics, and environmental justice. She is an associate professor of Jewish Studies at Georgetown University, Senior Research Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and core faculty in Georgetown’s Disability Studies Program. She’s the author of several scholarly books including, most recently, Rabbinic Tales of Destruction: Gender, Sex, and Disability in the Ruins of Jerusalem (Oxford University Press, 2018). Her next book, Breath and Bone: Disability Politics and the Bible, will be coming out in 2023 with Beacon Press.
A longtime activist for disability and gender justice, she currently directs an initiative on Disability and Climate Change that aims to analyze and address the disproportionate impact environmental risk and climate disruption have on disability communities. A powerful advocate for disability arts, she collaborates with internationally recognized queer and disabled artists in the US and around the world. Her work brings queer disability arts and activism into conversation with Jewish culture—and creates spaces for queer and disability communities to claim and celebrate our insights into the sacred.