Department Chair

Dr. Lisa Berglund, Chair and Professor of English

Date of Award

5-2014

Access Control

Campus-Only Access

Degree Name

English, M.A.

Department

English Department

Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Ryan, Associate Professor of English

Department Home page

http://english.buffalostate.edu/

First Reader

Dr. Jennifer Ryan, Associate Professor of English

Second Reader

Dr. Mark Fulk, Associate Professor of English

Abstract

I examine the notion of queer faith as it is illustrated in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and, in doing so, highlight the lack of criticism that addresses issues of faith and sexual identity within queer theory. I compensate for this critical oversight by proposing that the intersection of faith and sexuality provides an essential source for the emergence of characters' personal identities. In addition, I utilize the work of some queer theologians to facilitate my own reading of the biblical allusions present within the primary texts. I argue that the influence of heteronormativity, especially as it is expressed in traditional faith communities, creates distinct challenges for characters who attempt to re-create an understanding of the Divine through the lens of their sexuality. Although the primary texts arrive at different conclusions about faith and sexual identity, both explore the liminal space where these ideas converge and depict a complex yet synergistic relationship.

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