Catherine (Cat) Moore is graduating with her MA from the Department of Religious Studies this spring. She plans to attend Columbia Theological Seminary in the fall. We sat down with her to discuss her time in the program and her plans for the future.
Please introduce yourself!
My name is Catherine Moore. I am a recent graduate from the Religious Studies MA program and the Gerontology Graduate Certificate Program. I have been in Atlanta for the better part of a decade but I am originally from the rural area of Northeast Georgia.
Tell us about your thesis work.
My thesis, Affirming Theologies and Transgender Refugees and Asylum Seekers, investigates the roles of inclusive vs affirming theologies and philosophies as it relates to the resettlement process and community building for transgender and non-binary refugees and asylum seekers. It provides a theological discourse around the socio-religious experience of the marginalized population and best-practices to prevent religious trauma.
What drew you to this research?
I was drawn to this area of research due to the unique experience of transgender and non-binary populations in the social, religious, economic, and political realms. I interned for the International Rescue Committee of Atlanta for a summer. During my time there, I realized that though efforts were being made to understand the nuanced experience of gender-nonconforming clients, there was a need to expand the academic and applied use of Religious Studies in the field. I decided to push the conversation forward with my thesis research.
Have you presented at any conferences or published any work?
I have presented several original works at conference. I have presented two works at the UNC Charlotte Annual Religious Studies Graduate Conference: Begotten Son, Forgotten Safe Word: An Examination and Analysis of the Image and Functionality of Christ in Kink Subcultures and Sissies, Sluts, and Sacramental Sex: The Healing Power of Transgressive Sex in Transgender Kink Communities. Both works explore the function of religion and spirituality in sex practices as a means of trauma healing. At the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion, I have presented my papers entitled The Sainthood of TRANSgression: The Martyrdom of Trans Women of Color as a Product of Hegemonic Masculinity and I Didn’t Come Here to Die: A Critique of Familial Mourning Practices and Gender Non-Conformity. Both works center on the experience, violence, and trauma of transgender and non-binary people. I presented my thesis, Affirming Theologies and Transgender Refugees and Asylum Seekers, at the UC Riverside Conference on Queer and Transgender Studies in Religion.
What has been the best thing about your experience in the religious studies department?
My experience as a graduate student in the Religious Studies department has been wonderful. As a graduate research assistant, I was able to work on several projects, namely on deradicalization. My own research has left with a wide catalog to build upon in my future work at Columbia Theological Seminary. However, the most rewarding experience in the department was teaching my own class. Teaching undergraduates through a thematic exploration of religion has allowed me to see the minds of GSU students flourish and shift.
Anything else you’d like to share?
During my time, I was a finalist in the GSU 3 Minute Thesis Competition, a member of the Trans Seminarian Leadership Cohort, presented at the Creating Change 2020 Conference sponsored by the Freedom Center for Social Justice, and was the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Teaching in Religious Studies award.