William Stell


William Stell is a PhD candidate in the Religion in America subfield with a graduate certificate from the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. His dissertation is entitled “Born Again Queer: Evangelical Gay Activism and the Construction of Antigay Christianity, 1968­–1988.” His research has been published in the Journal of the History of Sexuality and Theology and Sexuality, with a forthcoming article in Church History

Some of William’s recent projects have examined theological debates about Deaf education in the nineteenth-century United States; the Chicago Defender’s Go-To-A-White-Church Sunday campaign and the Federal Council of Churches’ Race Relations Sunday in the early 1920s; the geographic expansion of and backlash against the largely LGBTQ+ Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in the 1970s and 1980s; and evangelical reception of Letha Scanzoni and Virginia Mollenkott’s book Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? (1978), for which William received honorable mention for the 2020-21 LGBTQ Religious History Award, sponsored by the LGBTQ Religious Archives Network. 

William is a Graduate Research Fellow with the University’s Center for Culture, Society, and Religion and serves as the coordinator for the University’s Gender, Sexuality, and Religion Working Group. He also serves on the steering committee for the American Academy of Religion’s Gay Men and Religion Unit. 

William completed a B.A. in Rhetoric & Culture at Wheaton College and an M.Div. at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned certificates in Theology, Women, and Gender and in Black Church Studies.