Dusty Hoesly

I am Associate Director of the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from UCSB in 2018.

My research focuses on American religion and secularism, specializing in how new religious movements, Asian American religions, and the religiously unaffiliated shape modern American culture. I employ humanistic and social scientific methods to investigate how religion is constructed through discourse, practices, and institutions. I have published articles on the Universal Life Church and contemporary weddings, organic foods in new religious movements, and biodiversity and spiritual well-being.

Previously, I was a Postdoctoral Researcher at UCSB (2020-2022). I also taught as a Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi (2019-2020) and as a Lecturer at UCSB (2018-2019).

I officiate weddings through My Generation Weddings, which offers non-denominational, mixed-faith, spiritual, and secular ceremonies in traditional or modern styles. My expertise about contemporary wedding rituals and personalized ceremonies has been featured in the New York Times and Washington Post.

Born and raised in Oregon, I have a deep love for the outdoors. I also enjoy travel, music, film, and collecting books.