Meredith Whitnah

Meredith Whitnah

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Phone: (805) 565-6163
Office Location: Deane Hall 210

Office Hours
Tuesday 3:15-4:45 pm
Wednesday 12 noon until 2:00 pm
and by appointment

Sociology of Religion
Sociology of Gender
Social Theory

Meredith Whitnah completed her PhD in Sociology at the University of Notre Dame in 2015, specializing in gender, religion, culture, and social theory. She studies the role of religion in both perpetuating and mitigating different forms of social injustice. She is working on a book project tentatively titled Faith and the Fragility of Justice: Religious Responses to Gender-Based Violence in South Africa. This historical study investigates how faith-based NGOs in South Africa that had resisted apartheid have addressed gender-based violence over time. Dr. Whitnah’s favorite classes are the ones in which she and her students discuss the social dimensions of injustice and think creatively about how to engage the brokenness of the world with both lament and hope.

Dr. Whitnah Teaches:

  • Sociology of Race & Ethnicity
    Religion & Society
  • Sociology of the Family
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Sociological Theory


  • PhD in Sociology, University of Notre Dame
  • MA in Sociology, University of Notre Dame
  • BA in Gender Studies, Gordon College

Research Interests

  • Gender and gender-based violence
  • Religion in global perspective
  • Cultural sociology


Christian Smith, Brandon Vaidyanathan, Nancy Tatom Ammerman, Jose Casanova, Hilary Davidson, Elaine Howard Ecklund, John H. Evans, Philip S. Gorski, Mary Ellen Konieczny, Jason A. Springs, Jenny Trinitapoli, and Meredith Whitnah. 2013. “Twenty- Three Theses on the Status of Religion in American Sociology: A Mellon Working-Group Reflection.” Journal for the American Academy of Religion, 81(4): 903-938.

Meredith Whitnah. 2010. Book review of Material Culture and Popular Religion by Frances King (New York: Routledge, 2009) in Sociology of Religion, 72(1):118-9.

Recent Conference Presentations

“Religion and Gender in Global Perspective: The Fragility of Justice in South Africa.” Religion Section, American Sociological Association, San Francisco, CA. 2014.

“Empowering Women: Faith-Based NGOs, Legacies of Apartheid, and the Role of Gender in Development.” Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Indianapolis, IN. 2014.

“Symbol and Materiality in Cultural Production: The USAFA Cadet Chapel, Monumentality, and Religious Pluralism.” With Mary Ellen Konieczny at “Theorizing Materiality” General Session of the Theory Section, American Sociological Association. New York City, NY. 2013.