Fourth annual Gay in Appalachia event to feature Cynthia Burack

Cover of "Sin, Sex, and Democracy".

Cover of "Sin, Sex, and Democracy".

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 3, 2008 – On Friday, Nov. 14, the LGBT faculty-staff caucus at Virginia Tech will host Cynthia Burack, associate professor of women's studies at Ohio State and author of the recently published "Sin, Sex, and Democracy: Antigay Rhetoric and the Christian Right." Burack will be the speaker for the 4th annual "Gay in Appalachia" event that evening, which is open to the public and will be held in the Old Dominion Ballroom of Squires Student Center. The lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. but the evening will commence with a reception at 6:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

The theme of religion and the LGBT community was first developed during 2006 with a theatrical reading of "Revelations" (a presentation about Appalachian resiliency in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people), where much discussion at the end centered around religion and the difficulties encountered by the LGBT community in Appalachia in particular. Last year, the LGBT Caucus continued this theme and sponsored award-winning Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) film director Daniel Karslake along with an educational screening of his film "For the Bible Tells Me So." Burack's insights will make for another conversation in the continuing dialogue, which is particularly well suited to election year politics.

People are very conflicted when it comes to homosexuality and religion. It is helpful for LGBT individuals or allies to have an understanding of how the antigay ideas and rhetoric of the Christian Right change over time. It is a topic of significance and central to the academic study of politics and the cultural practice of politics. In the evening lecture, Burack will analyze some of the Christian Right’s antigay speech and argue that the movement remains as opposed as it ever was to gay rights and equality. Regardless of how the election turns out, this promises to be an interesting address.

Burack's background is in political theory, women's studies, and sexuality studies. Her her current work focuses on the sexuality politics and the dynamics of leadership, identity, and ideology in the Christian conservative movement. Her recent book explores the Christian Right's use of tailored rhetorics to advance the movement’s various antigay political projects.

Jeff Mann, an associate professor in the Virginia Tech Department of English, notes that Burack’s book is "well-written, accessible, disturbing, and illuminating." Burack recently gave a talk about her book at the Library of Congress. Mann, who was in attendance, confirms that "she's just as interesting and eloquent a speaker as she is a writer."

Burack is an associate professor of Women's Studies at Ohio State University. Before her time at Ohio State University, Burack taught political science and women’s studies at George Washington University and at the University of Florida. She is the author or editor of four books, the most recent of which is Sin, Sex, and Democracy: Antigay Rhetoric and the Christian Right which was published by the State University of New York Press in 2008. Burack is currently co-editor, with Jyl J. Josephson, of the “Queer Politics and Cultures” book series at the State University of New York Press.

This event has received campus-wide support and is sponsored by the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Office of Student Affairs, the Women’s Center, the Department of Political Science, and the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. It was also selected for a Women and Minority Artists and Lecture Series grant.