Author Meets Critics: David K. Seitz's "A House of Prayer for All People: Contesting Citizenship in a Queer Church"

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Sexuality and Space Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon A2, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Organizers: Lia Frederiksen
Chairs: Lia Frederiksen


This panel session convenes a discussion among scholars with expertise on race, sexuality, gender, citizenship, and migration to evaluate David K. Seitz’s exciting new book, "A House of Prayer for All People: Contesting Citizenship in a Queer Church" (University of Minnesota Press, November 2017).

Perhaps an unlikely subject for an ethnographic case study, the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto in Canada is a large predominantly LGBT church with a robust, and at times fraught, history of advocacy. While the church is often riddled with fault lines and contradictions, its queer and faith-based emphasis on shared vulnerability leads it to engage in radical solidarity with asylum-seekers, pointing to the work of affect in radical, coalition politics.

A House of Prayer for All People maps the affective dimensions of the politics of citizenship at this church. For nearly three years, David K. Seitz regularly attended services at MCCT. He paid special attention to how community and citizenship are formed in a primarily queer Christian organization, focusing on four contemporary struggles: debates on race and gender in religious leadership, activism around police–minority relations, outreach to LGBT Christians transnationally, and advocacy for asylum seekers. Engaging in debates in cultural geography, queer of color critique, psychoanalysis, and affect theory, A House of Prayer for All People stages innovative, reparative encounters with citizenship and religion.

Building on queer theory’s rich history of “subjectless” critique, Seitz calls for an “improper” queer citizenship—one that refuses liberal identity politics or national territory as the ethical horizon for sympathy, solidarity, rights, redistribution, or intimacy. Improper queer citizenship, he suggests, depends not only on “good politics” but also on people’s capacity for empathy, integration, and repair.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist LaToya Eaves Middle Tennessee State University 20
Panelist Natalie Oswin McGill University 20
Panelist Geraldine Pratt University Of British Columbia 20
Panelist Farhang Rouhani University of Mary Washington 20
Discussant David Seitz Harvey Mudd College 20

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