Dr. Sharon Fennema came to PSR from Harvard Divinity School where she served as Lecturer on Ritual, Liturgy and Preaching from 2011-2013. Her research and teaching addresses the intersections of critical and gender theories with Christian worship as a practice which forms identity, performs theology, and shapes engagement in the public and political sphere.
Drawing on the work of Judith Butler and queer theory, as well as performance theorist Richard Schechner, she has engaged in an historical ethnography of the worship practices at a San Francisco community of faith during the height of the early AIDS crisis in the United States, using it as the source for the creation of what she calls “a liturgical theodicy in practice,” which she is currently developing into a book manuscript. Her essay, “Practicing Purity: The Colonizing Force of Invisible Whiteness in Christian Worship” will appear in the collection Only One is Holy: Liturgy in Postcolonial Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming, Fall 2014). An active member of the United Church of Christ, Dr. Fenema has recently lived in an intentional spiritual community (a ministry of the UCC) centered around the craft of wooden boat building called the Carpenter’s Boatshop in Pemaquid, Maine.
Her primary research interests include: queer theory, gender studies, and religious practices; postmodern culture, critical theories and worship; ritual studies and social theory; practical theologies; sacramental theologies; North American liturgical history; the arts in worship; theodicy and lament as apophatic practice; worship, eschatology and social change; theological education and pedagogy; spiritual practices in religious studies.
Doctor of Philosophy, Graduate Theological Union
Master of Arts in Religion, Yale Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music
Bachelor of Music, St. Olaf College