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Department ofReligious Studies

Michelle Mueller

Michelle Mueller

Academic Year Adjunct Lecturer

Michelle Mueller has degrees from the Graduate Theological Union, the Pacific School of Religion, and Bryn Mawr College. Her research focuses on gender and sexuality in new religious movements. Mueller's dissertation examined alternative religious families' uses of reality television as a medium for public advocacy (e.g., Sister Wives). Interested particularly in California's religious legacies, Mueller has spent time doing participant-observation within local Wiccan communities. Mueller has been a Visiting Scholar of Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics & Ritual (WATER), a Christine Downing Dissertation Fellow, and the recipient of two Newhall Teaching Fellowships.


RSOC 9 Ways of Understanding Religion
RSOC 51 Religion in America
RSOC 99 Sociology of Religion
RSOC 116/ANTH 174 Religion & Ethnography
RSOC 117 Is Scientology a Religion?
RSOC 119 Media and Religion

"Escaping the perils of sensationalist television reduction: A&E Networks' Escaping Polygamy as a reality TV atrocity tale," Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 22.3 (Feb 2019): 60-83.
"The chalice and the rainbow: conflicts between women's spirituality and transgender rights in US Wicca in the 2010s," in Female Leaders in New Religious Movements, edited by Inga Bårdsen Tøllefsen and Christian Giudice (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2017).

In the News

May 5, 2020

Mythri Jegathesan was interviewed on Daily Mirror about ground-level conditions must change to promote women as political leaders.

April 2020

Enrique Pumar was interviewed by Univision about Trump’s visit to the Bay Area sparking protests and about his analysis of the impeachment proceedings.


February 25, 2020

Michelle Bezanson was a signatory to an open letter from over 70 scholars, published by Inside Higher Edcalling for the reform of student debt strategies.