Professor Melissa M. Wilcox

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

Office hours

Spring '15: Wednesdays 11:30-1:30 (friendly dog present), Thursdays 9:00-10:30 (no dog present), on days when classes are in session, or by appointment.


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. Watch for possible new courses in the next few years, which might include "Religion, Gender, and Sexuality" and "Introduction to Sexuality Studies."

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 queer erotica, pornography, and BDSM play.


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. Watch for a new course, Religion and Sexuality in Global Perspective, in Fall 2015!

Religion 107 / Soc 127 - Religion and Society (Anticipated Spring 2017)

Religion 287 - Queer Religiosities (Spring 2015)

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)

Gender Studies 238 - Men and Masculinities (Anticipated Spring 2017)

Gender Studies 328 - Queer Studies (Fall 2015)

Gender Studies 490 - Senior Seminar (Not currently scheduled for me to teach in the future)