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Heath Melanie, Associate Professor



Sociology of Gender
Sociology of Sexualities
Social Inequality
Family and Politics
Global and Transnational Sociology




  • Ph.D. Sociology. University of Southern California, 2006.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Rice University, 2006-2008


Selected Publications


Aurini, Janice D., Melanie Heath, and Stephanie Howells. 2016. The How To of Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

Heath, Melanie. 2012. One Marriage under God: The Campaign to Promote Marriage in America. New York: New York University Press.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

Heath, Melanie, Jessica Braimoh, and Julie Goulewoos. 2016. “Judging Women's Sexual Agency: Contemporary Sex Wars in the Legal Terrain of Prostitution and Polygamy.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 42(1): 199–225. 

Fetner, Tina, and Melanie Heath. 2016. “Do Same-Sex and Straight Weddings Aspire to the Fairytale? Women’s Conformity and Resistance to Traditional Weddings.” Sociological Perspectives 59(4):721-742.

Heath, Melanie. 2013. “Sexual Misgivings: Producing Un/Marked Knowledge in Neoliberal Marriage Promotion Policies.” The Sociological Quarterly 54(4): 561–583.

Heath, Melanie. 2012. “Making Marriage Promotion into Public Policy: The Epistemic Culture of a Statewide Initiative Promotion.”Qualitative Sociology 35(4): 385-406.

Avishai, Orit, Melanie Heath, and Jennifer Randles. 2012. “For Better and Worse: The Consequences of Marriage Promotion and Relationship Education Policies in the United States.” Contexts 11(3): 34-38. (authors contributed equally).

Heath, Melanie. 2009. “State of Our Unions: Marriage Promotion and the Contested Power of Heterosexuality.” Gender & Society23: 27-48.

Heath, Melanie. 2003. “Soft-Boiled Masculinity: Renegotiating Gender and Racial Ideologies in the Promise Keepers Movement.”Gender & Society 17: 423-44.


Chapters in Edited Volumes

Heath, Melanie. 2016. “Testing the Limits of Religious Freedom: The Case of Polygamy’s Criminalization in Canada.” Pp. 157-179 in Polygamy: The New Marriage Rights Frontier, edited by Janet Bennion and Lisa Fishbayn Joffe. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.

Heath, Melanie. 2015. “Manhood Over Easy: Reflections on Hegemonic, Soft-Boiled, and Multiple Masculinities.” Pp. 155-165 in Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Continuity and Change, edited by C.J. Pascoe and Tristan Bridges. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Heath, Melanie. 2014. “Intimacy, Commitment, and Family Formation.” Pp. 45-64 in Canadian Families Today: New Perspectives, edited by David Cheal and Patrizia Albanese. Oxford University Press.

Heath, Melanie. 2013. “Same-Sex Marriage and Resistance: Complicating the Relationship of Agency and Structure.” Pp. 263-289 in (Not) the Marrying Kind?, edited by Verta Taylor and Mary Bernstein. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Heath, Melanie. 2012. “Saving Marriage: A Comparison of Religion and Marriage Promotion in the United States and Britain.” Pp. 98-122 in The Sixties and Beyond:  Dechristianization in North America and Western Europe, 1945-2000, edited by Michael Gauvreau and Nancy Christie. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Heath, Melanie. 2008. “The Marriage Promotion Movement.” Pp. 543-553 in Feminist Frontiers, eighth edition, edited by Verta Taylor, Nancy Whittier, and Leila Rupp. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Heath, Melanie. 2004. “What Promises Can Men Keep?” Pp. 484- 494 in Feminist Frontiers, sixth edition, edited by Laurel Richardson, Verta Taylor and Nancy Whittier. Boston: McGraw-Hill.


Research Grants

McMaster International Initiatives Micro Fund. “Whose Rights Count? A Study of the Social Consequences of Laws to Protect Women.” Principal Investigator. ($5,000). 2017-2018.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant. “Harm or Right? Polygamy's Contested Terrain Within and Across Borders.” Principal investigator. ($287,779), 2012-2017.

McMaster University Incentive Grant, “Harm or Right? Polygamy's Contested Terrain Within and Across Borders.” Principal investigator ($5,000), 2011.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant. “Transnational Transfers of Polygamous Practice.” Principal investigator. ($25,802), 2010-2011.

McMaster University Arts Research Board. "Legal and Cultural Influences of Same-Sex Marriage and Polygamy in Canada and the United States." ($6,947), 2009.