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. He is the author of one monograph, Ecce Homo: The Male-Body-in-Pain as Redemptive Figure (Chicago, 2011), and the co-editor of several volumes, Sexual Disorientations: Queer Temporalities, Affects, Theologies (Fordham, 2017); Embodied Religion (MacMillan, 2016), and Negative Ecstasies: Georges Bataille and the Study of Religion (Fordham, 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 also serves as the North American editor for Theology and Sexuality. Much of his free time is dedicated to keeping his two dogs–Dino and Bertha–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 extend this consideration by staging a conversation among Leo Bersani, Jean Laplanche, Bataille, 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.