Jeffrey Wheatley


Dept:Philosophy & Religious Studies
Office:411 Catt
2224 Osborn Dr.
Ames IA


Jeff is a teacher and researcher who studies religion, culture, and politics with a historical focus on the United States. His current project, tentatively titled American Fanatics: Spirited Rebellion and the Policing of Religion, is on religious fanaticism as an object of secular policing in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It examines the rationales and effects of categorizing diverse groups as fanatical, including women abolitionists, Filipino insurgents, black prophets, and Mormon settlers. The project draws on the academic study of religion to offer insights into how powerful institutions and rebellious communities alike have sparred over divine authenticity, spirited feelings, and sacred violence.

Research Areas

American Religious History; Radicalism and Violence; Secularism Studies; Race and Modernity; Religious Studies Theory and Method


PhD, Northwestern University, 2020
MA, Florida State University, 2014
BA, Arizona State University, 2011

Courses Taught

RELIG 210 Religion in America
RELIG 215 Religion and Popular Culture
RELIG 243 History of Christianity: Modern
RELIG 325 Religion, Law, and Justice

Selected Publications

“US Colonial Governance of Superstition and Fanaticism in the Philippines,” Method & Theory in the Study of Religion, 2017.

Co-Author with Charles McCrary, “The Protestant Secular in the Study of American Religion: Reappraisal and Suggestions,” Religion, 2016.

Selected Presentations

“For the Love of Satan: Mary MacLane, Early Satanism, and the Scandal of Feminine Sexuality,” 2019, “Pint with a Prof” organized by Study of Religion Club, University of Northern Iowa

“Policing, Banditry, and Independence in the US-Occupied Philippines,” invited participant for Issues in Teaching Religion & Law Workshop, 2018

“Toward Genealogies of Affect in the Study of Religion,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, 2016

Participant for roundtable “Superstition, Secularism, and Religion: Testing a Trinary,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, 2016

“The Church of St. Benedict the Moor: Contestation and Propagation of Black Catholicism in the Late Nineteenth Century,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, 2013

Additional Information

When I am not in the office, I am often zipping around on my bike, gardening in my yard, or playing fetch with my dog. In August you might find me at the Iowa State Fair.