Rachel A. Heath

Assistant Director of the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender and Sexuality

Rachel A. Heath began serving as the Assistant Director of the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality after completing her Ph.D. in religion at Vanderbilt. Her research explores the intersections of theories of multiplicity, queer and feminist thought, affect theory, and interfaith praxis in U.S. contexts. Her dissertation specifically used the work of Sara Ahmed and Rosemary Radford Ruether to analyze emergences of Christian theological superiority in relationship with other religious traditions.

During the 2021-2022 academic year, she served as a Visiting Lecturer in the Religious Studies Department, teaching classes related to religious diversity and the intersections of gender and religion.

She holds an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School (2011) and a certificate in Religion and the Arts through the Yale Institute of Sacred Music (2010). In 2011, she was honored to participate in the Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE). Her undergraduate studies, undertaken in beautiful East Tennessee, focused on theology and literature. Prior to Vanderbilt, she worked in both academic administration and multifaith chaplaincy at the University of Chicago.

She currently serves on the board for the Journal of Interreligious Studies, the leadership team of the Association of Interfaith & Interreligious Studies (AIIS), and the steering committee for the Lesbian Feminisms in Religion program unit at the American Academy of Religion. She has previously served on the executive committee of the National Association of College and University Chaplains (now merged as ACSLHE) and the board of the Association for Episcopal Deacons.

In her free time, she is an avid runner and occasional poet who loves spending time under the trees of Percy Warner Park. Some of her favorite memories include running the New York Marathon for Planned Parenthood (2021) and finishing the Strolling Jim ultramarathon in Wartrace, Tennessee (2020). She is currently on a mission to find the best cinnamon roll in Nashville.