Melanie Heath
Associate Professor, Sociology

Melanie Heath is Associate Dean of Graduate Students and Associate Professor of Sociology at McMaster University. She studies the politics of family, sexuality, and gender. Her work has examined the construction of masculinities and femininities in conservative religious families, how the state sought to promote heterosexual marriage as a way to regulate non-normative sexualities and promote conservative gender norms, the politics of straight and same-sex weddings, and the comparative regulation of global polygamies as a forbidden practice.

She is author of Forbidden Intimacies: Polygamies at the Limits of Western Tolerance (2023, Stanford University Press), One Marriage Under God: The Campaign to Promote Marriage in America (2012, New York University Press) and The How to of Qualitative Research, second edition (with Janice Aurini and Stephanie Howells, 2022, Sage). She co-edited Global Feminist Autoethnographies During COVID-19 (with Akosua Darkwah, Josephine Beoku-Betts, Bandana Purkayastha, 2022, Routledge).

Her current research examines the reorganization of family life and sexual norms comparatively in France, Canada, and the United States. Funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant, the project studies how policy regimes shape the choices that people make about their intimate and sexual lives by examining the experiences of familial and sexual transformation in the context of comparative state regulation.
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