Just a reminder — please submit questions for Professor Gordon by Monday, May 10.
For more information on Professor Gordon, here is an article she wrote in Legal Affairs on polygamy and gay marriage; here is an interview she did on NPR on a similar topic; and here is a Tribune article about a speech she gave at Weber State.
[Posted last week]
Our next volunteer to run the gauntlet here at T&S is Sarah Barringer Gordon. Professor Gordon is the author of The Mormon Question (2002), an acclaimed study of the anti-polygamy movement’s indelible impact on constitutional law and political theory (see Nate’s review here). Perhaps uniquely qualified to tell such a story, she has divinity and law degrees from Yale and a PhD in history from Princeton. The book won, among other awards, the Mormon History Association’s 2002 Best Book Award.
Here is a taste from the introduction of The Mormon Question:
“Driven by religious difference, Mormons and their opponents learned that faith had everything to do with government, and vice versa. Spiritual meaning and this-worldly power converged most poignantly in marriage. In monogamy (as in polygamy), husbands and wives blended faith with governance, obedience with power, spiritual growth with human sexuality. Commitment to one or the other form of marriage shaped public as well as private life. Participants in the conflict discovered that local sovereignty, democracy, consent, economic power, and wifely subordination all hinged on faith and its realization in marriage. As one vision flourished, it diminished the other; and the power to live in light of faith was proportionately realized or denied.
“The conflict of faiths pitted the laws of God against the laws of man; believers on both sides learned that their Constitution was, perhaps, not theirs after all. The instability of constitutional claims and interpretation tortured and energized the combatants. Their struggle to capture and hold the Constitution provided a unifying field of conflict; antipolygamists and Mormon defenders of polygamy alike yearned for the dignity and validity that the defeat of their enemies would bring. To win would be to acquire constitutional legitimacy, and to prove the opposition had betrayed the legacy that was enshrined in the constitutional text. The long and painful conflict over religious liberty, marriage, and law is the subject of this book…”
Professor Gordon teaches at University of Pennsylvania Law School and is currently working on a book project entitled The Constitution of Faith, dealing with the litigation practices of religious groups.
Please email me with any and all questions by Monday, May 10.