Jessica Johnson to speak at RELS Graduate Student Conference

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Jessica Johnson to speak at RELS Graduate Student Conference

The graduate students in the Religious Studies department are excited to announce their 3rd Annual Graduate conference, co-sponsored by the UNC Charlotte Religious Studies Department and Women and Gender Studies Program.

Please join them in camaraderie and discussion as they are joined by graduate and undergraduate students from across the country to share their research and ideas concerning religion and its intersections with sexuality, gender, and the body to name a few.

Their  Plenary Speaker will be Dr. Jessica Johnson presenting “The Carnal Resonance and Political Valences of Conviction.”  Her talk is based on her ethnographic research conducted from 2006-2016 on Mars on Church in Seattle, a multisited megachurch co-founded by Pastor Mark Driscoll that had expanded to fifteen locations spread across five states before its dissolution in 2014. Driscoll resigned in the wake of public testimonies by former congregants and staff that detailed tactics of emotional manipulation and spiritual abuse, including systematic bullying and shunning practices. She examines Mars Hill’s use of digital technologies and Driscoll’s controversial preaching on gender and sexuality to analyze how congregants were recruited into gendered and collective affective labor, both voluntary and involuntary, on behalf of church growth – a social and embodied process that she calls “biblical porn.” In turn, she theorizes the carnal resonance of conviction as a surplus of affective value with valences that reinforce and exceed logics of biopolitical regulation, agitating fear, animating threats, circulating shame, and exploiting paranoia.

Her presentation will be based on material from her book, Biblical Porn: Affect, Labor, and Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Evangelical Empire, published by Duke University Press:

Jessica Johnson teaches Anthropology and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington.

You can view her website at

When: Saturday March 16th, 2019 / 9am-5pm
           Plenary at 1:30pm

Where: UNC Charlotte Center City / 320 E. 9th Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
             6th Floor, Rooms 604 and 606
             Plenary in Room 601

Parking is STRICTLY ENFORCED at the Center City Building

Center City Visitor and Occasional Use Parking

There are a limited number of daily parking spots in Preferred Parking-owned lots nearby: Lot locations and daily fee rates. The fee must be deposited in an identically numbered slot at an honor box. These spaces are open to the public and utilized for special events; they may not always be available.

Public Transportation to Center City Campus

Center City is accessible via light rail and several CATS routes. The CATS website has a trip finder feature; enter the destination address for Center City, 320 E. 9th St.. The Ninth Street station for the Lynx light rail is the closest stop. Seventh Street station is nearby; the building entrance faces First Ward Park. There are several free park-and-ride lots along the Blue Line that make light rail an economical option. 

Some parking passes are available for Center City Parking.  Please email us to request one before the event.  All Center City Passes must be printed BEFORE arriving at the event as there is no way to print once you have arrived.