Catherine Roach

Catherine M. Roach



  • PhD in Religion in the Modern West, Harvard University, 1998
  • MA in Religion in the Modern West, Harvard University, 1991
  • MA in Religious Studies, University of Ottawa, 1989
  • Honours BA, University of Ottawa, 1987


Catherine M. Roach is Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies in New College.   She has over twenty-five years of research and teaching experience on gender and sexuality studies in American popular culture. A two-time Fulbright Award winner, she has held visiting fellowships and delivered invited lectures at universities in Australia, Canada, Scotland, England, and Greece.

She is the author of Mother/Nature: Popular Culture and Environmental Ethics (Indiana Univ. Press, 2003) and Stripping, Sex, and Popular Culture (Berg, 2007).  Her academic book Happily Ever After: The Romance Story in Popular Culture (Indiana Univ. Press, 2016) won Silver Medal in the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards and earned mention in the New York Times Book Review.  As part of that book’s study of the “Find Your One True Love” narrative, Roach undertook a companion project of writing two historical romance novels as Catherine LaRoche (Simon & Schuster, 2012, 2014).

Her newest book is a general-audience book of public scholarship, Good Sex: Transforming America through the New Gender and Sexual Revolution (Indiana University Press, 2022).  Read the companion essay, “Making Good Sex: The Story of the Book.”

Her current collaborative research involves gender and sexuality studies and art history about the famous 19th-century American statue The Greek Slave (original version at Raby Castle, UK, and two later versions at the University of Alabama).  The project tells a gripping tale about today’s most pressing issues of bilateral social justice: the US and UK’s ongoing reckoning with racial and sexual justice movements.  It’s a lost story of transatlantic art and slavery that ties the two countries together from the 19th century to the present day.

At the University of Alabama, Dr. Roach has won the school’s top research and teaching awards: the Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award (2016) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) UA Faculty Achievement Award (2021), including UA nomination as SEC Professor of the Year.  She has been a Fellow in the Collaborative Arts Research Initiative and continues working to bring research alive through the arts for a broad public audience.  Every semester, she teaches the popular cross-university course “Sexuality and Society” that addresses cultural change in America and campus sexual wellbeing.

She enjoys hiking, paddling, cooking, and spending time with family and friends— especially summers escaping the sultry Alabama heat back in her native Canada.

Teaching Interests

  • NEW 140  Sexuality and Society (every term, large enrollment Core lecture course)
  • NEW 411  So You Like to Write: A Writing Workshop Open to All Genres (workshop seminar)
  • NEW 415  Gender, Sexuality, and Popular Culture (Core writing seminar)

Subscribe to Dr. Roach’s weekly term-time email newsletter, Sexuality and Society.

Follow along with her students as they trace out America’s new gender and sexual revolution.  Learn about a “Concept of the Week” such as intersexuality or the body positivity movement.  Read “Stories of the Week” from the media.

Selected Publications