Heath Pennington

Heath Pennington (they/them/their) is a PhD candidate and Chancellor’s Fellow in the Department of Theater and Dance at UCSB, with a Doctoral Emphasis in Feminist Studies. They hold MA’s with Distinction in Gender Studies from Central European University and in Performance and Culture: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Goldsmiths University of London, and a BA in Theater and English Literature from the University of Southern California (summa cum laude).

Having conducted field research in China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, the Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK, and the US, Heath is an avid traveler. In addition, they are a certified intimacy professional, working to ensure consensual interactions during portrayals of nudity and simulated sex in film and theatre. As a sex educator, they have led seminars and workshops on topics such as consent, non-monogamy, and the gender spectrum at venues from the UCSB Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity to the Hong Kong Kink Con.

Their ethnographic dissertation project examines how consensual sensual and sexual embodiments within kink and BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) express and challenge intersectional oppressions around gender, race, and class. Their interdisciplinary research interests include affect theory, consent, corporeality, environmentalism, feminism, gender, performance, pornography, queer theory, sexuality, Shakespeare, and site-specificity.

At UC Santa Barbara, they are departmental representative to the Graduate Student Association and a member of both the New Sexualities Research Focus Group and the Graduate Scholars Program. They have given talks and presented research at over 10 conferences, including with the International Federation for Theatre Research and the Society for Theatre Research New Researcher’s Network. Their peer-reviewed articles are available on ResearchGate.

Connect with Heath on LinkedIn.

Visit their website, their ResearchGate page, and their IMDb profile.

Read about Heath’s internship as a Communications Fellow with Direct Relief.

Read Heath’s post on the Public Humanities Graduate Fellows Blog, which discusses gender equity in sports and the need to move beyond a binary view of gender.

Read the articles Heath produced during their time as a Communication Fellow with Direct Relief:
“Using Lessons from Covid, SEWA Responds to Climate Emergencies in India”
“As Weather Becomes More Extreme, Solarization and Resiliency Efforts Fight Climate Change in the Bahamas”
“Direct Relief-Funded Solar Power Project Serves Refugees in Lebanon”
“To Address Climate Change’s Inequities, New Efforts Arise”

Learn more about Heath’s research in this short video:

Watch Heath’s Winter 2023 Public Humanities Graduate Fellows Program Capstone Presentation: