Jodi O’Brien, professor and chair of sociology at Seattle University, will discuss “Leadership, Religion and Sex: A Strange Thing Happened on the Way to Marquette," at a workshop hosted by the Department of Sociology.
In 2010, O'Brien was hired as Dean of Arts and Sciences at Marquette University. Shortly after the hire took effect, it was revoked. The university president cited a lack of fit between O'Brien's scholarship on sexuality and gay marriage and the university's Jesuit Catholic mission as the reason for this action. The decision resulted in widespread outrage and protest and was the subject of intense media focus for several weeks following the event. Many observers believed that the real reason for the decision was intervention by the Milwaukee Archbishop and conservative Catholic activists who opposed the hire because O'Brien is an open lesbian. In this talk, she will focus on the events leading up to the decision and discuss the institutional and religious paradoxes that are reflected in these actions.
O'Brien's work focuses on everyday inequalities and the dynamics of difference and discrimination. She is the author of several articles and books on these topics, including "The Production of Reality, Social Prisms, and Everyday Inequalities." She is also the editor of the Encyclopedia of Gender and Society and the current editor of the sociology journal, Contexts.