Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Transpersonal genealogy: An autoethnographic study juxtaposing the lived experience of an early mormon ancestor with her lesbian descendant
by Rivers, Kristin Noel, Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2013, 266; 3560648
Abstract (Summary)

Transpersonal genealogy is the experience of feeling pulled toward and guided by deceased ancestors in researching their history, and how such genealogy enriches the psychospiritual development of the researcher. In this autoethnographic study, I explored such experience and enrichment by composing a narrative of my own ancestor's life as an early Mormon in the 19th century juxtaposed against my lived experience as a lesbian in the late 20th and early 21st century. Based on primary sources, historical documents, family lore, and my own felt-sense, I constructed a narrative that explored the lived experience of my fourth great grandmother, Elizabeth "Betsey" Arnold née Bliss. Contemporary sources and my own personal narrative were woven together with Betsey's story. Significant events in both of our lives were compared to demonstrate how my pull to learn more about her life has brought exceptional insight into the events of my own life. Creative expression further deepened my understanding and focus on significant events in both Betsey's and my life. I wrote the first 3 chapters (Introduction, Literature Review, and Research Method), conferred with 2 of Betsey's other descendants: 1 of my cousins who was a bishop in the Mormon Church to corroborate his understanding of the church's history and doctrine, and a second of my Mormon cousins on her transpersonal experiences conducting genealogy. Then through Michael Harner's approach to shamanic journeying, I contacted our shared ancestor regarding the details of her story and how they intertwined with mine. I wove the results of the interviews including the recurring themes of societal and personal neglect, persecution, perseverance, and resilience throughout the narrative comprising the fourth chapter. In the final chapter, I provided a reflection on my experience of the dissertation process including potential applications and transpersonal implications of the results, how I was transformed by the research, and ideas for future study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brooks, Christine
Commitee: Averett, Paige, Dufrechou, Jay
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Global Psychology with a concentration in Transpersonal Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: LGBTQ studies, Psychology, Gender studies
Keywords: Ancestor, Autoethnography, Genealogy, Lgbt, Mormon history, Trauma
Publication Number: 3560648
ISBN: 978-1-303-06905-5
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