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"The Polygamy Question" On Thursday's Access Utah

University Press of Colorado

Plural marriage is the next frontier of North American marriage law and possibly the next civil rights battlefield. 
The practice of polygamy occupies a unique place in North American history and has had a profound effect on its legal and social development. “The Polygamy Question”,  a new volume from USU Press, explores the ways in which indigenous and immigrant polygamous practices have shaped the lives of individuals, communities, and the broader societies that have engaged with it. The book also considers how polygamy challenges our traditional notions of gender and marriage and how it might be effectively regulated to comport with contemporary notions of justice.

The contributors to this volume—scholars of law, anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and religious studies—disentangle diverse forms of polygamy and polyamory practiced among a range of religious and national backgrounds including Mormon and Muslim.


They chart the harms and benefits these models have on practicing women, children, and men, whether they are members of independent families or of coherent religious groups. Contributors also address the complexities of evaluating this form of marriage and the ethical and legal issues surrounding regulation of the practice, including the pros and cons of legalization.

Contributors: Kerry Abrams, Martha Bailey, Lori G. Beaman, Janet Bennion, Jonathan Cowden, Shoshana Grossbard, Melanie Heath, Debra Majeed, Rose McDermott, Sarah Song, Irene Strassberg. We’ll spend the hour with the editors of “The Polygamy Question:”

Janet Bennion is professor of anthropology and sociology at Lyndon State College in Vermont. She is the author of four previous books on polygamous societies including her most recent, “Polygamy in Primetime.”

Lisa Joffe is the associate director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute of Brandeis University, where she directs the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law.  


Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.