Thu, 20 May 2010
Janet Bennion is an associate professor of anthropology, specializing in alternative sexuality in nontraditional religious movements in the Intermountain West, specifically among Mormon fundamentalist polygynists. She has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from University of Utah and a Masters in Social Organization from Portland State University. Her doctoral expertise lies in cross-cultural perspectives of sexuality, gender and society, and women of the fundamentalist world. Her scientific publications include two major ethnographic works and two comparative analyses of Mormon polygynous women, as well as many peer-review journal articles. Women of Principle: Female Networking in Contemporary Mormon Polygyny (Oxford University Press 1998) offers an in-depth study of gender roles and sexual norms in the Apostolic United Brethren sect in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana, cataloging women's conversion stories. This ethnography shows that while abuses do exist, some women achieve ironic ascendance and satisfaction in fundamentalism. Desert Patriarchy (University of Arizona Press 2004) presents her theory explaining the role of the desert environment (Chihuahua, Mexico) in the development and maintenance of a patriarchal gender ideology. Her model identifies several factors -- male supremacy, female network, non-secular education, imbalanced sex ratios, alternative sexuality, and circumscription -- which work to facilitate the longevity of desert patriarchal communities.
Direct download: MormonStories-153-JanetBennion.mp3
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