Kevin Whitesides


Kevin Whitesides

Kevin Whitesides is a graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). His research focuses are in the areas of New Age, counterculture, cultic milieu, cultural transmission, conspiracy theory, Mesoamerican religions, American religious history, cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, millennialism, and new religious movements.

Kevin graduated from Humboldt State University (HSU) in 2010 with a B.A. in Religious Studies, summa cum laude, and minors in Anthropology, Philosophy, and Psychology, where he acted as president of the Religious Studies Club organizing a popular inter-departmental colloquium on the interface between science and religion. His undergraduate thesis focused on the adoption of the Maya Long Count calendar, and related claims about the importance of the year 2012 in New Age millenarian hermeneutics, for which he was awarded a campus Outstanding Student Award for Best Presentation to a Professional Association.

Kevin received a School of Divinity scholarship for an M.Sc. in Religious Studies from the University of Edinburgh, which he completed in 2012 with distinction, continuing to develop his unique historical research on the development of the 2012 phenomenon. While in Edinburgh, he served as the Religious Studies representative to the New College Postgraduate Committee. In 2013, Kevin was awarded a Chancellor’s Fellowship to begin a PhD in Religious Studies at UCSB where his dissertation will explore Latter Day Saint narratives about ancient and contemporary Mesoamerican populations.

Professionally, Kevin has served as co-chair for the Indigenous Religions (2013-2018) and Psychology, Culture, and Religion (2019-Present) sections of the American Academy of Religion/WesternRegion.He was the Features Editor for and a regular contributor to the Religious Studies Project (2011-2015) and has worked as an editorial assistant for the Journal of Astronomy in Culture(2015-Present), as an editor for the Database of Religious History (2018-Present), and as a research assistant for the Global Latinidades Project(2019-Present). As the instructor of record, Kevin has taught courses on Native American Religions, Religious Approaches to Death, and on the 2012 Maya Apocalypseandhas worked as a teaching assistant or a reader in Religious Studies, Linguistics, Anthropology, Global Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and EastAsian Languages &Cultures.

Kevin’s peer-reviewed articles on different aspects of countercultural history (from archaeology to conspiracy theories to prophecy) have appeared in Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, Archaeoastronomy: The Journal of Astronomy in Culture, and Zeitschrift fur Anomalistik, and he contributed a chapter to the edited volume, Small Screen Revelations: Apocalypse in Contemporary Television. His book reviews have appeared in Nova Religio and The International Journal for the Study of New Religions. His research has been presented for popular audiences on PBS, in Fortean Times, various local newspapers, and at the Edinburgh Printmakers art gallery as part of the Edinburgh International Art Festival. As a Research Assistant for the Global Latinidades Project Kevin has worked on several grant teams for the MRPI Global Latinidades Consortium, UC-HBCU Afro-Latinidades Initiative, and also serves as the Webmaster.

GLP Research Assistant