Performed Polygamy and Polyamory in the Media Age

For: Michelle Mueller (PhD Candidate, Graduate Theological Union)
Berkeley, CA
Organizer: Michelle Mueller
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The Story

In my dissertation, "Performed Polygamy and Polyamory in the Media Age," I evaluate U.S. independent fundamentalist Mormon families' and spiritual polyamorous families' shared use of the medium of reality television to do advocacy and educate the public about their traditions and culture. My methodology includes narrative and thematic content analysis of three reality television series: Sister Wives, My Five Wives, and Polyamory: Married and Dating, with supplemental interviews with cast members, production crews, fans, and advocacy organizations.

To learn more about my planned dissertation, read my dissertation prospectus and interview protocol


Benefits of donating 

Donating for my research project contributes to scholarly and public knowledge and helps to ensure a full study (including field trips and participant-observation). I hope to publish my dissertation as a book within five years.

Who can donate?
To protect the integrity of research, I cannot accept donations from individuals or groups I'll be interviewing. If you do not see yourself as a potential research candidate, please donate and support this study! This is a research project of integrity. Donating, while appreciated, will not sway or affect my writing style. Donations to this project are considered gifts for my academic study and research project. 

How much should I donate?
Every year until I finish PhD, I pay tuition, money to attend conferences and present my work, and the cost of field research in Utah and Southern California. I use money raised with this fundraiser towards tuition and field research travel and lodging. 

A donation of any size--$25 recommended--makes a difference! I am very wise about saving and spending money. I plan ahead and book economical flights. I stay at places with lows fare, like guest rooms on airbnb, and buy groceries for cost-saving meals. You can be assured your donation will be used with care! 

Record of Service
Visiting Scholar, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics & Ritual, Silver Spring, Maryland, Summer 2014
Doctoral Student Liaison to the American Academy of Religion, Graduate Theological Union, 2013-2015
Intern, Center for Sex & Culture, 2008
Intern, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics & Ritual, 2004
Future projects/books:
Gender and Contemporary Paganism
Scholar-activism supporting rights of polygynous Muslims, Fundamentalist Mormons, and Polyamorists in the United States, with respect for just treatment of women and children

Click for my Academia.edu page! Read essays, view my job history and my full CV!

Completing a Ph.D. is a very trying experience. I have been preparing for this dissertation for the last three years (and set on the topic for much longer), and over that time, have really narrowed my focus to something practical and clarified my research methods. In short, I've made a lot of progress! I feel like I need to say, as a disclaimer, that if I do need to abort ship and write on a different topic (small possibility), that this fund will still be used for my education and academic professional development!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on November 19, 2015

Posted on November 19, 2015

2015 has been an excellent, productive year for my dissertation! I completed my comprehensive exams in February, had my dissertation proposal approved in May, allowing me to advance to doctoral candidacy. I was blessed to receive the Christine Downing Dissertation Fellowship, receiving a stipend and special privileges to research in OPUS Archives in beautiful Santa Barbara. From August until October, I traveled, doing field research for the dissertation in Southern California, Nevada, and Utah. During five weeks of those two months, I resided in an apartment in Park City, Utah, attending events with polygamist families and with Utah Polyamory Society separately. The Film and Media Arts Department approved my application to be a Visiting Scholar of the University of Utah during this time, enabling me to benefit from many resources. And the final bit of good news came towards the end of this year. In September Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS) Research Advisory Committee moved to endorse my project. Pretty soon I am off to the annual American Academy of Religion meeting in Atlanta! I am presenting for the Student Lounge Roundtable on social media and crowdfunding. After all this progress, dissertation completion is in sight!


Posted on October 22, 2014

Posted on October 22, 2014

I've been awarded a 5 grand research grant from OPUS Archives of Pacifica Graduate Institute (The Christine Downing Dissertation Fellowship) so I've been able to reduce my youcaring.com goal accordingly! Celebrations are in order!

Posted on September 22, 2014

Posted on September 22, 2014

A colleague, Penelope Faulkner, is looking for research partcipants for a study on polyamory.

From Penelope: 

"I'm doing a qualitative study on social change in romantic relationships using Polyamory as a case study (from a sociological perspective).  
I'm planning on conducting 20 in-depth interviews with self-identifying polyamorous people or individuals with experience of polyamorous relationships. I'll then use a grounded theory approach to analysis the data.
I'm hoping to conduct face-to-face interviews in Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle (Australia) and skype interviews with people outside of that area.
I'm having a little bit of trouble recruiting people for this study and was wondering if anyone was willing to pass on my details to potential participants."


Penelope has a website with info on her study.

About the Organizer

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