Professor Melissa M. Wilcox

Professor Wilcox is now Professor and Holstein Chair of Religious Studies at U.C. Riverside. Please look for her new website at in a few months.


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: Introduction to Gender Studies; Religion and Society (which can be elected as either a Religion course or a Sociology course); Religion and Sexuality in Global Perspective; Men and Masculinities; Queer Religiosities; Queer Studies; Religious Intolerance in the Contemporary U.S.; New Religious Movements; and the Senior Seminars for Gender Studies and Religion majors. Watch for a new introductory course in sexuality studies sometime in the next few years.

Each of the links below will take you to the most recent syllabus for that course. Because Professor Wilcox redesigns her courses at least slightly each year, the syllabus for the upcoming version of a course may be different from the one available here.

Religion 107 / Soc 127 - Religion and Society (Tentatively scheduled for Spring 2017)

Religion 233 - Religion and Sexuality in Global Perspective (Fall 2015)

Religion 287 - Queer Religiosities (Next offered Spring 2017)

Religion 355 - Religious Intolerance in the Contemporary U.S. (Spring 2016)

Religion 387 - New Religious Movements (Tentatively scheduled for Spring 2017)

Religion 448 - Senior Seminar (Fall 2015)

Gender Studies 100 - Introduction to Gender Studies (Spring 2016)

Gender Studies 238 - Men and Masculinities (Next offered Spring 2017)

Gender Studies 328 - Queer Studies (Fall 2015)

Gender Studies 490 - Senior Seminar (Not currently on Professor Wilcox's future teaching schedule)

Office hours take place only on days when classes are in session; there are no office hours during school breaks.

Professor Wilcox's Spring 2016 office hours are:

Wednesdays 9:30-11:30: Dog therapy office hours (friendly labrador retriever present)

Thursdays 10:30-12:00: Dog-free office hours

If you can't make these times, or if you need to meet on a Wednesday with no dog present, please request an appointment.

Professor Wilcox has dedicated her career to 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, a co-authored textbook on sexuality and religion, and a book on the uses of religious imagery in queer sexual subcultures.