Katryn Davis

Graduate Student
Katryn Davis


Current status: Ph.D. Candidate

Ph.D. dissertation title: 'These Bodies Were Born to Die': Health, Medicine, and Sepratisim in a Fundamentalist Mormon Community

M.A. thesis title: A Freighted Pair: The Military Community and Its Civilian Other

Since January 2020, Katryn Davis has been conducting ethnographic research in rural Utah with a fundamentalist Mormon community that practices polygyny. She is curious about how this fundamentalist community, which faces social, political and legal marginalization for its non-conventional kin practices, grapples with the various power structures to which its adherents are subject (e.g. state and federal laws, the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints (LDS), mainline LDS communities) and how its relationships with these structures affect integration into the social and political context in which it is situated. In light of the pandemic, Katryn has focused her attention on how her research community's ideas about the body, health and healthcare both align and distance fundamentalist adherents from social, political and legal aspects of mainstream society.

Davis has also assisted Erin Stiles with Stiles's recent ethnographic project exploring LDS conceptions of spirits and the LDS spirit world.

Academic interests

  • Religion
  • Christianity and Mormonism
  • Religious fundamentalism and religious separatism
  • Kinship and marriage
  • Conceptions of spirits and the supernatural
  • Health and medicine

Selected publications

  • 2019. "Mediating Encounters with the Spirit World" with Erin Stiles. Proceedings of the Southwestern Anthropological Association, Volume 12 pp, 36-40.

Courses taught

  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion
  • The Anthropology of Christianity
  • The Anthropology of Mormonism
  • The Anthropology of Islam


  • M.A., cultural anthropology, California State University, Sacramento, 2016
  • B.A., anthropology, University of California Santa Cruz, 2012