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Religious Studies

Warriors and Wives: Gender and Political Activism in the Christian Right

Burgess, Sarah ('09);  Runions, Erin;  Mahdavi, Pardis

Many politically active Evangelical Christian women reject feminism. Yet, many of them are vocal leaders and influential agents of national change. This project aims to discover how these women understand this complex situation for themselves. After conducting ten weeks of ethnographic fieldwork amongst Evangelical activists, intercessors, hill staffers and lobbyists in Washington, DC, the researcher found that many Evangelicals do glorify and respect traditional roles for women, such as the role of stay-at-home mother. Yet, within the political sphere, there is also considerable ambiguity about gender, and room for women to go beyond conventional expectations. There are several explanations for this phenomenon. First, women may break traditional roles to accomplish specific political goals. Some women believe that God has called them out of the "at home Mom" position to create change in policy. Also, counter-cultural attitudes in one small Christian activist group lead some women to challenge traditional American "norms" about gender.
Funding provided by: The Aubrey H. and Eileen J. Seed Award

Research at Pomona