Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module THEO3921: Queer Theology

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO3921: Queer Theology

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students to ‘queer theology’ as it has developed from earlier gay and lesbian theologies under the influence of ‘queer theory’; how such theology has developed beyond liberatory movements — concerning LGBTQI+ identified people — to interrogate central Christian doctrines concerning Trinity, Christ and Salvation in the life of the Church.


  • The module will normally cover such topics as the emergence of gay and lesbian theologies; the rise of queer theory — the ideas and arguments of people like Michel Foucault and Judith Butler; the development of queer theologies in Britain, the Americas (North and South), and elsewhere — the ideas and arguments of people like Miguel Díaz and Mark Jordan, Marcella Althaus-Reid and Linn Marie Tonstad; the queering of the Bible (Hebrew/Old Testament and New Testament) and of Christian tradition in patristic, medieval and modern periods; the meaning(s) and importance (or otherwise) of sex and gender identities and differences in Christian thought and life, regarding the doctrines of Trinity, Christ and Salvation, regarding the flourishing of human lives in partnerships and marriages.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • The history, ideas and arguments of gay, lesbian and queer theologies.
  • The current debates they engender.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Understanding the development of theological ideas in historical context.
  • The personal, social and intellectual factors that affect and effect thought.
  • An ability to critically discuss, assess and present such ideas in their original contexts and in relation to present arguments and discussions.
Key Skills:
  • Ability to research and read primary texts, distinguishing between their initial meaning and reception and their contemporary import.
  • Ability to address theological ideas and arguments.
  • Presenting complex interrogations through careful and compelling prose.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Twenty lectures/seminars of ninety minutes each will enable appropriate teaching and learning, with the ratio of lecturing to discussion varying from week to week depending on the need to impart knowledge, focus attention, steer research, engage students in the detailed reading and analysis of specific texts.
  • Summative essays develop subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with student skills in the acquisition of information through reading and research, and in the structured presentation of information in written form.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly in the first two terms 1.5 hours 30
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay 1 Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 2500 words 100%
Component: Essay 2 Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2 2500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Essay preparation and feedback during discussions.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University