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Megan Goodwin

Instructor in Religious Studies
Spence Pavilion-Religion/Phil. 203
2340 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
mgoodwin3@elon.edu (336) 278-7501

Brief Biography

Megan Goodwin holds a Ph.D in Religion and Culture from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2013),as well as M.A.s in Religious Studies from UNC-CH (2009) and Women's Studies from Drew University (2004).  

Dr. Goodwin's research emphasizes religion, gender, and sexuality, with particular attention to public discourse and minority religions in the contemporary United States.  She adopts an interdisciplinary approach to questions of how normative sexuality shapes American religious and national identity.

Current CV.

Courses Taught

(Fall 2013 and Spring 2014) Religions in a Global Context

(Spring 2013) American Minority Religions: Goddesses, Guns, and Gurus

Leadership Positions

Co-editor, Religion Compass: Religion in the Americas section (2014)

Current Projects

My current project, ”Good Fences: American Sexual Exceptionalism and Marginal Religions,” explores the ways normative sexuality has complicated American religious pluralism since the 1970s. I focus on three popular narratives that portray minority religions (Islam, Mormonism, and witchcraft) as predatory, coercing or duping vulnerable American women and children into religious nonconformity and sexual transgression. Such stories locate the abuse of women and children in America’s religious margins, thus encouraging normative practices without violating a professed national commitment to religious freedom. Paradoxically, these narratives often work to constrain Americans’ religious and sexual freedoms while doing little to prevent violence against women and children.

I am currently revising my dissertation into a manuscript for publication, taking into consideration the ways similar rhetorics of American religious and sexual intolerance functioned historically.  I am also currently drafting an article on the significance of captivity narratives, and popular literature more broadly, in the field of American religions.  I am revising an article on the role of religion in re-thinking Foucault’s model of “becoming homosexual,” based on the first section of my most recent master’s thesis.  Future research projects include considerations of public feminist rhetorics and activist performances that dismiss or disregard conservative religious women’s experiences and the performativity of sexualized hate speech in marginalizing new religious movements in North America.


Robert Miller Fund Travel Grant (November 2012)

University of North Carolina at Charlotte Faculty Colloquium Honorarium (February 2012)

Religion and Sexuality Seminar Honorarium (November 2011)

Graduate Tuition Incentive Scholarship (September 2011)

Human Rights Campaign LGBT Dissertation Scholarship (June 2011)

Human Rights Campaign Summer Institute, endowed by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Program
Directed by Drs. Rebecca Alpert, Temple University, and Ken Stone, Chicago Theological Seminary
Vanderbilt University (July – August 2011)

UNC-CH Future Faculty Fellowship Honorarium (March 2010)

UNC-CH Sexuality Studies Summer Research Fellowship (March 2010)

Robert Miller Fund Travel Grant (November 2009)

Religion and Sexuality Summer Research Seminar, endowed by the Carpenter Foundation
Directed by Dr. Mark Jordan, Harvard Divinity School
Emory University, Atlanta, GA (July 2009)