Yannik P. Thiem

Yannik P. Thiem


PhD, Rhetoric, University of California at Berkeley (2009)
Dr. theol., Catholic Theology, Eberhard–Karls–Universität Tübingen, Germany (2004)


My work engages the intersections of queer and feminist theory, religious studies, political theology, and critical theory and I am especially interested in expanding what queer religious studies can contribute to these other fields, which may not be especially concerned with queerness or religion in the first place. When we study queerness and religion, we usually take queerness primarily as a quality of lives, bodies, and desires and then study how religious traditions and discourses succeed or fail in targeting or supporting queer lives. In addition to this line of inquiry, I am interested in developing a different approach that takes queer and religious dimensions as irreducible to clearly delimitable bodies or traditions.

I am interested in elaborating what it means for religious studies and queer theory to understand religion and sexuality as methodologies for examining how truth and affect converge and sediment in material ways that we might call “infrastructures of experience” that orient how we experience the world around us. Such frames of ordering and understanding our experience are unnoticeable to us until they break down. Just as we do not notice the electricity grid in operation until the lights suddenly go out — and even then the expansive structure of “the grid” eludes complete comprehension — so we often operate through affective “infrastructures” that are not made by us individually at will and that are neither reducible to ideas or tenets nor to concrete physical structures. These sensibilities are instead shaped by how collective practices and traditions of meaning-making interact with and sediment in physical environments. These practices and traditions are where the complexity of what we used to call “metaphysics” and “cosmology” is elaborated, questioned, and refashioned.

Queer religious studies — as I approach it — examines how the meanings and possibilities of worlds and experience are shaped through textual, ritual, architectural, aesthetic, embodied, and spatial transmissions. A queer approach in particular examines how such meaning-making and investment with value are bound up with gender, race, sexual desires, ability, coloniality, class, and age. These larger questions animate the project I am currently working on, entitled Queer Nuisances: Race, Religion, Sex and Other Monsters, which draws on queer theory, transfeminism, religious studies, critical race theory, as well as European early modern philosophy.

I am pronoun agnostic and welcome all pronouns as long as they are used with respect. Most of my work to date was published under my previous name, Annika Thiem, which remains Yannik’s official double as far as the government of Yannik’s country of origin, Germany, is concerned.

Recent Publications

“Transgender Quarrels and the Unspeakable Whiteness of Psychoanalysis.” Psychoanalysis, Gender and Sexuality. Ed. Patricia Gherovici and Manya Steinkoller. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Forthcoming.

“Materialist Politics of Fetishism: Balibar’s Critique of Transindividuality’s Cryptonormativity” Australasian Philosophical Review 2:1 (2018): 39-46, DOI: 10.1080/24740500.2018.1518109

“Only Political Theology Can Save Us Now?” Syndicate. https://syndicate.network/symposia/theology/the-force-of-god/ (2018)

"Critical Theory in the Age of Knowledge Capitalism: Elusive Exploitation, Affects, and New Political Economies.” Journal of Speculative Philosophy 31:3 (2017): 468–80.

“Benjamin’s Messianic Metaphysics of Transience.” Walter Benjamin and Theology. Ed. Colby Dickinson and Stéphane Symons. New York: Fordham UP, 2016. 21-55.

“Political Theology.” The Encyclopedia of Political Thought. . Michael Gibbons. Oxford: Blackwell, 2014. 2807–2822.

“The Art of Queer Rejections: The Everyday Life of Biblical Discourse.” Neotestamentica 48.1 (2014): 33–56.