Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-10-2019


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Marie Baird

Committee Member

Lanei Rodemeyer

Committee Member

George Worgul


Phenomenology, Theology, Flesh, Body, Sexuality, Gender


Unpresentable Members begins with a wager: that a proper account of the flesh and its sexual character may not only prove philosophically fertile within its own limited domain, but may also provide insight into the theological question of the proper role and place of gender and sexual difference within communities, particularly Christian religious communities. In this regard, this dissertation has two distinct goals: one phenomenological and one theological. Phenomenologically, it offers an account of the manifestation of concrete sexual determinations not only as they objectively appear across the “body-object” (Körper, le corps) but with equal importance as they manifest within the subjective affectivity of the flesh (Leib, la chair). Here, the text is particularly centered on the radical phenomenologies of Michel Henry and Jean-Luc Marion, two theologically-inflected phenomenologies that offer a powerful reconception of bodily-ownness, and yet nevertheless replicate the worst patriarchal and heteronormative prejudices of their predecessors. Theologically, Unpresentable Members employs this account of the flesh in order to construct an account of community that resists oppressive forms of social and religious marginalization—particularly the oppression of sexual minorities and other representatives of gender and sexual difference. In this regard, the present dissertation brings together, for the first time, three discourses: radical phenomenology, queer theory, and theology.



Additional Citations

J. Leavitt Pearl, “Jean-Luc Marion: The Reinscription of Heteronormativity into Postmodern Theology.” Theology & Sexuality 1-2 (2017), 144-163.

J. Leavitt Pearl, “After Finitude and the Question of Phenomenological Givenness.” PhænEx 12, no. 2 (2018): 13-36.