Associate Professor, Theology and Religious Studies
Evelyn Kirkley, PhD, has been teaching at USD since 1995. She is an advisor to PRIDE, USD’s organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, and questioning undergraduate students and allies. She has also served as co-director of the Gender Studies Program and director of the Faculty and Curriculum Development Program. She teaches about the history of Christianity and other religious movements, especially in the United States. Her research focuses on alternative religious movements (often called "cults" or "sects") in the United States and intersections between religion and gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
Ph.D., Duke University, Religion
M.Div., Union Theological Seminary, New York
A.B., College of William and Mary, American Studies
Scholarly and Creative Work
Kirkley’s research examines the dialectical relationships between gender and religion in the United States with particular attention to emerging or alternative religious groups. Her book, Rational Mothers and Infidel Gentlemen (2000), analyzed constructions of masculinity and femininity among organized atheists and agnostics between the Civil War and World War I. Her articles about women’s roles at the Point Loma Theosophical Society in San Diego, 1897-1942; religion in the southern woman suffrage movement; and masculinities in Promise Keepers, Million Man March, and Sex Panic (co-authored) have appeared in Nova Religio, Journal of San Diego History, Church History, and Theology and Sexuality. Her recent research explores the relationship between theology and sexual orientation at religiously-affiliated universities (co-authored) and the religious landscape of the San Diego community, the latter through collaborative student-faculty research.
Kirkley regularly teaches Christianity and Its Practice, Cults and Sects in the U.S., Protestantism in the U.S., and Gender and Religion in the U.S. She has also taught inter-disciplinary, topics, preceptorial, and honors team-taught courses, including American Millennium, Jesus of Hollywood, Introduction to Gender Studies, Advanced Gender Studies, and Sacred Things: The Material Culture of American Religions. She received USD’s First Annual Outstanding Preceptor Award in 2006.