Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Fay Botham has been selected for participation in a colloquium to be held Sept. 17-19 at the University of York (U.K.). Her essay “Sins Against Nature: Gender and Compulsory Christianity in the Sixteenth-Century Spanish Americas” was chosen from among more than 120 international applicants for inclusion in the colloquium, and for publication in the journal Gender & History which in 2013 will run a special issue on religion.
Botham’s essay explores gender as a critical theme in 16th-century Spanish colonizer narratives and argues that a Catholic theology of gender was predicated upon doctrinal formulations of what Spanish Catholics perceived as “(un)natural.” These doctrines established idolatry and other “sins against nature” as rebellion toward God and thus demanded that Spaniards punish and correct indigenous Americans who exhibited “unnatural” behaviors and beliefs. Her essay derives from the new book she is working on titled, “Forceful Entry: Gender Nature and Empire in the Spanish Catholic Borderlands.”
Botham is author of “Almighty God Created the Races: Christianity Interracial Marriage and American Law” (University of North Carolina Press 2009). Previously she taught in the American Indian and Native Studies Program and in American Studies and Religious Studies at the University of Iowa. She also previously taught at Loyola-Marymount University-Los Angeles and at Le Moyne College-Syracuse.
In the photo above, Fay Botham speaks before a group of HWS students in the Intercultural Affairs Center.