Samira Mehta
Assistant Professor
Women and Gender Studies & Jewish Studies

Hazel Gates Woodruff Cottage
COTT 207

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Samira K. Mehta is an Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies and Jewish Studies. Her research and teaching focus on the intersections of religion, culture, and gender, including the politics of family life and reproduction in the United States. Her first book, Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Interfaith Family in America (University of North Carolina Press, 2018) was a National Jewish book award finalist.

Mehta’s current project, God Bless the Pill? Sexuality, Contraception, and American Religion examines the role of Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant voices in competing moral logics of contraception, population control, and eugenics from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Research from this project appears in “Family Planning is a Christian Duty: Religion, Population Control, and the Pill in the 1960s” from Devotions and Desires: Histories of Sexuality and Religion in the Twentieth- Century United States.

She is the co-chair of the Religions and Families in North America Seminar of the American Academy of Religion and serves on the steering committee of the North American Religions Program Unit of the AAR. She is also on the academic advisory board of the Jewish Women's Archive. Mehta has held fellowships from the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Sloan Foundation’s Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life, the American Jewish Archives, and the Northeastern Regional Fellowship Consortium, among others. Mehta holds degrees from Emory University, Harvard University, and Swarthmore College.

Mehta’s courses include Jewish Feminisms: From Labor Marches to Women’s Marches; Religion and Reproductive Politics in the United States; Gender Justice, Food; and Sex, Politics and Religion in the U.S.

Publications

Books:

Beyond Chrismukkah:
The Christian-Jewish Interfaith Family in America

(University of North Carolina Press, 2018)
2018 National Jewish Book Award, American Jewish Studies, Jewish Book Council

The Racism of People Who Love You: Essays (under contract with Beacon Press, anticipated publication October 2022)

Recent articles:

“Asian American Jews, Race, and Religious Identity,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion (forthcoming), available through Advance Access at https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfab058.

 “The Changing Jewish Family: Jewish Communal Responses to Interfaith and Same-Sex Marriage,” with Brett Krutzsch. American Jewish History 104, no. 4 (2020): 553–577. 

“Christmas in the Room: Gender, Conflict, and Compromise in Multi-Religious Domestic Space,” Religions (2020): 11(6), 281.

“Prescribing the Diaphragm: Protestants, Jews, Catholics, and a Changing Culture of Contraception,” American Religion 1, no 2 (2020): 27-52.

“You are Jewish if You Want to Be: The Limits of Identity in a World of Multiple Religious Practices,” in Beyond Jewish Identity, eds. Jon Levisohn and Ari Y. Kelman (Boston, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2019), 17-35.

“Family Planning is a Christian Duty: Religion, Population Control, and the Pill in the 1960s,” in Devotions and Desires: Histories of Sexuality and Religion in the 20th Century United States, eds. Gillian Frank, Bethany Moreton, and Heather White (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2018), 152-169.

“Chrismukkah: Multicultural Millennialism,” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation 25, no. 1 (2015): 82-109.

Recent interview:

"Mix and match: Interfaith families are shaping their holiday celebrations in new and meaningful ways." U.S. Catholic, (vol. 84, no.12, Dec. 2019), 18-23.