Melanie Heath is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at McMaster University. Her teaching and research interests include gender, sexualities, family, politics, culture, and the law. She is the author of One Marriage Under God (2012, New York University Press).

Melanie’s research has broadly examined the social consequences of transformations in gender, sexuality, and the family on inequality, and on cultural and political institutions. She has studied gender and racial ideologies in the Promise Keepers movement; the social consequences of marriage promotion policies on inequality; the politics of family transformation and same-sex marriage; and comparative legal and cultural framings of polygamy in regard to women’s and religious rights.

Currently, she is working on a project to examine how criminalizing polygamy challenges nation-states to wrestle with competing laws and values around women’s right to equality, the right to religious freedom, and the right to sexual and familial intimacy. This project was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant to comparatively study polygamy’s criminalization in Canada, the United States, France, and Mayotte. It addresses how banning polygamy competes and interacts with law, rights, and conceptions of citizenship cross-culturally. Please click on the links to the right to find out more.