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Wards and Sovereigns

Wards and Sovereigns

Deviance and Dominion in the Biopolitics of Secularism

(p.171) 5 Wards and Sovereigns
Make Yourselves Gods
Peter Coviello
University of Chicago Press

This chapter considers both the racializing delegitimation of the deviant (because polygamous) Mormons that followed them from the first, as well as the Mormons’ mixed responses to these assaults. It traces a pattern of escalating identification with the racial state as a strategy of self-legitimating distinction: an effort to secure for the increasingly reviled Mormons a place at the table of an American settler-colonial empire by fitting themselves to a sort of hypernormativity, one expressed largely in solidifying and expanding commitments to rigid hierarchies in gender and in race.

Keywords:   Brigham Young, The Utah War, The Manifesto, polygamy, John Gunnison, Mormon feminism, race

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