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Kent L. Brintnall (B.A., Fort Hays State University; J.D., Northeastern University School of Law; M.A., Pacific School of Religion; Ph.D., Emory University) joined the UNC Charlotte faculty in fall 2008 after serving as the inaugural post-doctoral fellow in religion and sexuality as well as a lecturer in film studies at Emory University. Dr. Brintnall is an affiliate faculty member in the Women’s and Gender Studies and Film Studies programs. He currently serves as the director of the Graduate Certificate Program in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies. His courses explore the texts and questions that comprise feminist and queer theory, psychoanalysis, and the work of Georges Bataille. His first monograph, Ecce Homo: The Male-Body-in-Pain as Redemptive Figure, was published by University of Chicago Press in fall 2011. A collection of essays co-edited with Jeremy Biles entitled Negative Ecstasies: Georges Bataille and the Study of Religion was released by Fordham University Press in summer 2015. He is currently working on two monographs, one tentatively entitled Constraining Violence: The Tragic Politics of Queer Theory; the other tentatively entitled Formalizing Desire: Mysticism, Pornography, Subjectivity. He serves as the North American editor for Theology and Sexuality and as the co-chair of the Queer Studies in Religion Section of the American Academy of Religion. For the past three summers, he has served as a faculty mentor for the Human Rights Campaign’s Summer Institute for LGBTQ scholars of religion. In his free time, he watches an embarrassingly large amount of reality television and strives to keep his two dogs—Fenris and Dino—happy.
My research focuses on the overlap and equivalence between religion and sexuality. Specifically, I am interested in how religious, erotic and aesthetic experiences and practices foster a disruption of the subject’s coherence in a way that can respond to, and perhaps prevent, various forms of cultural violence. In pursuing these questions, I am guided by the work of Georges Bataille, psychoanalysis and queer theory. In Ecce Homo, I consider constructions of masculine subjectivity and the evocation of homoerotic desire in relation to representations of the male-body-in-pain, including psychoanalytic discourses, images of crucifixion, paintings by Francis Bacon, photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe and films from the Hollywood action genre. In Constraining Violence, I hope to extend my interest in both Bataille and queer theory by staging a conversation among Bataille, Leo Bersani, Guy Hocquenghem, Jean Laplanche and Lee Edelman to sketch the kinds of ethical frameworks and political analyses that might be generated by focusing on negativity, self-annihilation and the death drive. In Formalizing Desire, I will explore these same questions from the vantage point of mystical and pornographic writing, their shared stylistic and formal features, and their capacity to disrupt the reader’s sense of a stable, coherent self. These questions will be pursued through comparative analyses of the Marquis de Sade and Hadewijch of Antwerp, Georges Bataille and Angela of Foligno, Jean Genet and Thérèse of Lisieux, and Dennis Cooper and Pseudo-Dionysius. With Negative Ecstasies, co-edited with Jeremy Biles, I present work that shows the generativity and importance of Georges Bataille’s ideas for the academic study of religion.