Professor Melissa M. Wilcox

Professor Melissa M. Wilcox
Associate Professor of Religion and Gender Studies
Olin Hall 152
Curriculum Vitae

Office hours

No office hours until fall semester. Have a great summer!


Professor Wilcox has a multidisciplinary background that ranges from an undergraduate degree in biology, through a master's degree in women's studies in religion, to interdisciplinary doctoral training in the sociology and history of religion, sexuality, and gender at the University of California, Santa Barbara (Ph.D. 2000). This broad training has made her conversant in a variety of disciplines and methods - skills particularly useful for a scholar working at the intersection of the already interdisciplinary fields of religious studies and gender studies.

Professor Wilcox has taught in the Gender Studies Program and the Religion Department at Whitman since 2003, and has spent several years as director or chair of each department. The courses she regularly teaches include: Religion and Society (which can be elected as either a Religion course or a Sociology course); Introduction to Gender Studies; Queer Religiosities; Queer Studies; Men and Masculinities; Religious Intolerance in the Contemporary U.S.; and New Religious Movements. This fall she will be teaching the Religion senior seminar and she will also introduce a new course, "Religion and Sexuality in Global Perspective." She also hopes to develop an introductory course in sexuality studies sometime in the next few years.

Professor Wilcox has spent her career investigating religious and spiritual beliefs, practices, and identities in LGBTQ communities, both in the U.S. and internationally. In addition to publishing numerous articles on gender, sexuality, and religion, she has written or edited the following books:

Religion in Today's World (Routledge, 2012)

Queer Women and Religious Individualism (Indiana UP, 2009) - Winner of the 2010 book award from the American Sociological Association's Sociology of Religion Section!

Coming Out in Christianity (Indiana UP, 2003)

Sexuality and the World's Religions (ABC-CLIO, 2003)

Professor Wilcox is currently at work on a book on the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. This religiously-unaffiliated, international order of "twenty-first century queer nuns" serves LGBTQ communities on four continents through fundraising, education, outreach, and activism. Professor Wilcox's multi-method project combines in-depth interviews, focus groups, participant observation, oral history, and archival research to get as full a picture of the order as possible; her analysis brings to bear perspectives from queer theory, performance studies, sociology, and religious studies. Look for the book to be on the shelves within the next few years! Future projects include a textbook on queer religiosities, and a book on the uses of religious imagery in sexual subcultures.


Below are syllabi for the most recent iterations of Professor Wilcox's courses. Because she redesigns her courses at least slightly each year, the syllabus for the upcoming version of the course may be different from the syllabi below.

Religion 107 / Soc 127 - Religion and Society (Fall 2014; next offered Spring 2017)

Religion 287 - Queer Religiosities (Spring 2015; next offered Spring 2017)

Religion 355 - Religious Intolerance in the Contemporary U.S. (Fall 2015)

Religion 387 - New Religious Movements (Spring 2016)

Gender Studies 100 - Introduction to Gender Studies (Spring 2015; next offered Spring 2016)

Gender Studies 238 - Men and Masculinities (Fall 2014; next offered Spring 2017)

Gender Studies 328 - Queer Studies (Fall 2015)

Gender Studies 490 - Senior Seminar (Fall 2012; not currently on Professor Wilcox's future teaching schedule)

Check this site again in the fall for syllabi for Professor Wilcox's two newest courses, Religion 448 (Senior Seminar) and Religion 233 (Religion and Sexuality in Global Perspective)!