Religious Studies / Homosexuality and Religion
"Because many current world conflicts have a basis in religion, and many of those conflicts are also about gender and sexuality, it is our civic responsibility to understand how the two relate," says Henking. She currently teaches a course that offers comparative study on religion and homosexuality and is co-chair of the lesbian and gay studies program at HWS and former chair of the religious studies department.
Henking's work has long focused on the historical relationship between religion and the social sciences, and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago is in Religion and Psychological Studies. She was recently published in "Mapping Religion and Psychology" and teaches courses titled "Religion and Social Theory," "Psychologies of Religion," "God, Gender and the Unconscious," and "Therapy, Myth and Ritual." The latter course explores whether psychotherapy can be considered a religion, as some currently posit.
As the series editor for the Oxford University Press and the American Academy of Religion books on teaching, Henking is uniquely positioned to respond to questions relative to the teaching about religion. She has also worked with new faculty at universities in the U.S. and in Canada on how to teach religious studies (under a grant from the Lilly Endowment and the American Academy of Religion). She also writes on this topic. She says, "If institutions of higher education are about diversity, then we need to understand religion - in the curriculum and in student affairs - right down to the food available in the dining hall."
Henking has taught in the Hobart and William Smith Colleges women's studies program for many years, offering comparative and cross-cultural courses. She has a clear understanding of the issues at the juxtaposition of feminism and religion, and can articulately address this topic area. Her work looks to how incorporation of material about women transforms courses and lives.
University of Virginia Press,
Que(E)rying Religion: A Critical Anthology
Continuum Publishing Group,
Interview opportunities and additional background information may be requested through the Office of Communications, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York. Phone: (315) 781-3540. After business hours, Communications staff members are accessible through contact information on their answering machine at that number.
Susan Henking came to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1988, after teaching appointments at Colgate University, Western Illinois University, and the University of Chicago. She has twice chaired the religious studies department and for a time served as acting provost and dean of faculty for the Colleges.
Henking has a long list of publications and book reviews, is frequently invited to speak at conferences and religious studies associations, and is the series editor for the Teaching Religious Studies series of the American Academy of Religion, the pre-eminent national organization for religious studies teachers and scholars (AAR). She is also co-editor of "Que(e)rying Religion," one of the first major anthologies examining the intersection of religion and homosexuality.
Henking is also broadly and deeply involved in her field of study. She was secretary of the American Academy of Religion and on the advisory board of the Reader's Guide to Lesbian and Gay Studies. She has also served as secretary and program committee person for the Eastern International Region of the American Academy of Religion, been the co-facilitator of a faculty development workshop at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and more.