Heather White

Visiting Assistant Professor
Religious Studies Department
Gender and Queer Studies Program

  • BA, Eastern University, 1997
  • MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2000
  • PhD, Princeton University, 2007

My research focuses on religion, identity, and politics with an emphasis on queer, post-secular, and critical race theories as frameworks for interpreting recent U.S. history.

My first book, Reforming Sodom: Protestants and the Rise of Gay Rights (University of North Carolina Press, 2015) investigates how religion and LGBTQ+ activism came to be perceived as natural enemies. It also tells about the surprising ways that progressive Christianity shaped the early movement for gay rights. The book has been featured in Huffington Post, Religion and Politics, the L.A. Review of Books, and Religion Dispatches, and was listed in the top ten “best LGBT nonfiction of 2015” by the Bay Area Reporter.

I also co-edited a collection of scholarly essays (with Gillian Frank and Bethany Moreton), titled Devotions and Desires: Histories of Sexuality and Religion in the Twentieth Century United States.  

Other recent published essays include these topics: how heterosexuality became a religious value (Links to an external site.); legal implications of the religion vs. queer cake wars (Links to an external site.); how the bible became anti-gay (Links to an external site.); New York City's first publicized same-sex wedding (Links to an external site.); and the history of United Methodist debates over LGBTQ+ inclusion (Links to an external site.).

I serve on the advisory board of the LGBT Religious Archives Network (Links to an external site.) and on the steering committee of the Queer Studies in Religion program unit of the American Academy of Religion.

I have been teaching at Puget Sound for six years, and my courses include the introduction to gender, feminist and queer studies; the advanced theory course for gender, queer and feminist studies; and other courses on religion and queer politics; sexuality and the history of religion; and the politics of religious freedom.