Call for advice: JI as Listserv

By October 27, 2009

The following emerges from the office of one of our readers, who currently teaches American history at a university in a state that rhymes with ‘Nassachusetts.’

I had a previous student, now a 3rd year law student, contact me to see if I had suggestions for her. She’s writing a paper on polygamy and feminism in Islam, and is looking for anything that would be parallel in America. I can send her to the usual suspects for 19th century LDS polygamy–Sarah Barringer Gordon, others?–but I wonder if you know whether there is contemporary theory I might point her to. I just assume that FLDS folks don’t consider themselves feminist or write/speak from that perspective, but maybe that’s a misconception?

I must say, the historiography here for the nineteenth century is pretty well grounded, though there is of course much more to be done, we’ve got at least some work to fall back on. I pointed this reader toward Battle for the Ballot, and Madsen’s book on Emmeline Wells. But the twentieth century remains a vast undiscovered country. Jessie Embry’s done a bit of work on contemporary polygamy, and I suspect that more relevant information may come from sociology or religious studies, rather than history.

Article filed under Categories of Periodization: Territorial Period


  1. Has Martha Bradley done anything in the 19th century? It seems her work might be useful here.

    Comment by Ben — October 27, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

  2. Anne Wilde and Mary Batchelor. I consider Anne the quintessential polygamist feminist.

    Also, Elizabeth Joseph, I’ve never met her, but she’s one that people usually mention as connected with Mormonism and feminism.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — October 27, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

  3. Janet Bennion comes to mind here (Women of Principle, Desert Patriarchy, Evaluating the Effects of Polygamy on Women and Children in Four North American Mormon Fundamentalist Groups).

    Comment by Justin — October 27, 2009 @ 10:47 pm


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