This biographical article is written like a résumé. (July 2017)
|Other names||Chelsea Shields Strayer|
|Education||Bachelor of Anthropology, 2004, BYU; Master of Anthropology, 2009, Boston University; Dual PhD, Biological Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology, 2017, Boston University|
|Alma mater||Brigham Young University, Boston University|
|Occupation||Anthropologist, activist, TED Fellow|
|Known for||Women's rights activism; religious gender inequality (specifically in the LDS faith)|
|Spouse(s)||Michael Strayer (2005-2015)|
Chelsea Shields (born November 1981) is an American anthropologist, women’s rights activist, and TED Fellow Shields and her work have appeared on broadcasts and publications including TED, Infants on Thrones, TechInsider, and Feminist Mormon Housewives.
Shields was born in Provo, Utah to Heidi and Eric Shields and raised in a conservative Mormon family in Tooele, Utah and Gresham, Oregon. She graduated from Orem High School (Orem, Utah) in 2000 and Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) in 2004 with a degree in Anthropology and African Studies. Shields married Michael Strayer in 2005; they divorced in 2015.
Religious gender inequality
Shields is best known for her activism to combat religious gender inequality – specifically in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Shields gave a TED Talk on the topic of Religious Gender Inequality at the TED Fellows Retreat in September 2015 eventually entitled, "How I'm Working for Change Inside My Church." She is also a contributor featured in Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings.
Shields is President and co-founder of Mormons for ERA, a group dedicated to the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. She is a co-founder and former board member for Ordain Women, a group dedicated to creating increased access to administrative and ecclesiastical decision-making capacities for women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the ordination of women to the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods. She is also on the board of the Sunstone Education Foundation, an organization that discusses Mormonism through scholarship, art, short fiction, and poetry.
Shields’ academic work focuses on the concept of social susceptibility or why human bodies have evolved to be susceptible to social manipulation. Shields argued that grounding human behavior in social adaptations and viewing biocultural interactions in sickness and healing from an evolutionary perspective reveals important discoveries in placebo and ritual studies, religion, pain, stress, emotions, empathy, and social inequality. Shields spoke about how these sociocultural, biological and evolutionary concepts clash at the 2013 TED Fellows Retreat in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, where she used an Asante ethnographic case study of bonesetting to elucidate socially mediating pain mechanisms.
Shields is currently a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but does not attend services and is no longer a believer in Mormon doctrine or scripture.
Awards and recognition
- TED Fellow, 2009–present
- Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Grant, 2009
- Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship, 2009
- Boston University Women’s Guild Scholarship, 2012
- Boston University Graduate Research Abroad Scholarship, 2011
- Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, 2007
- TED.com (TED Fellows Retreat). "How I'm Working for Change Inside My Church"
- Why Belonging Matters: Fellows Friday with Chelsea Shields Strayer
- TED conference (TED India). Mysore, India: Presented "A New Healthcare: What We Can Learn from Indigenous Healing”
- Harvard Medical School’s Osher Research Center Healing & Placebo Talks Series. Cambridge, MA: Presented "Psychoprophylaxis Applied: Education, Relaxation, and Control in Asante Healthcare.”
- TED Fellows retreat. Whistler, British Columbia, Canada: Social Susceptibility; Why our Most Painful, Joyful and Memorable Experiences Exist in the Social Domain
- LDSWAVE: I Feel Unequal When
- Exponent II: Mormon Male Privilege and How to Make Apparent Gender Disparity in the Church
- Exponent II: What Being an LDS Feminist Means to me
- Exponent II: Religious Manifesto
- Exponent II: Rituals of Adulthood and Equality
- Exponent II: A Guide to Giving Comfort
- 2014 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association. Salt Lake City, UT: Invited presenter The Evolutionary Roots of Religious Adaptation
- Feminist Mormon Housewives Podcast. Reviewed the book "The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker
- Classical89 Radio: Thinking Aloud Program. Provo, UT: Speaker on African Traditional Healing and its Relation to Modern Medicine
- University of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Keynote speaker for The Religious Brain Project: Community Seminar in collaboration with the University of Utah Clinical Neurosciences on The Religio-Social Brain
- We Are Woman Rally. Washington, D.C.: Invited to speak on the U.S. Capitol about Women’s rights and the ERA
- Sacred Healing and Wholeness in Africa & the Americas, Center for the Study of World Religions Harvard Divinity School Conference. Cambridge, MA: Invited to present Placebogenic Activation in Asante Indigenous Ritual Healing
- Infants On Thrones. The Placebo Effect, Part 1
- Infants On Thrones. The Placebo Effect, Part 2
- Infants On Thrones. Listener Rebuttal: Cultural Relativism and Alternative Medicine
- Mormon History Guy. The Role of Religious Gender Activism & Ordain Women in Mormon History
- Mormon Matters. Mormonism's Messages about Motherhood
- Mormon Matters. Ritual Within Mormonism
- Mormon Matters. Mutual Respect: Creating Healthy Relationships When Loved Ones Choose a Different Faith Path
- Mormon Mental Health. Mental Health Benefits & Risks of Religion, Part 1
- Mormon Mental Health. Mental Health Benefits & Risks of Religion, Part 2
- Feminist Mormon Housewives. N.O.W. Sharing Ordain Women Personal Stories
- Mormon Woman Project. Choosing Between Two Rights with Chelsea Shields Strayer
- "Our Students Chelsea Shields Strayer". Boston University Anthropology Department Graduate Students. Boston University. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- "www.wearewomen.us" Check
|url=value (help). Youtube. We are Women Rally.
- "TED Fellow Chelsea Shields". www.ted.com. Ted. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- Eng, Karen. "Why Belonging Matters: Fellows Friday with Chelsea Shields Strayer". tedblog. TED. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
- Brooks, Joanna; Steeblik, Rachel; Wheelwright, Hannah (2015). Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings (1 ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0190248033.
- Francis, Roberta. "Obama, Romney and The Equal Rights Amendment". HuffingtonPost. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- Frey, George. "Mormon Women's Group Leader Excommunicated for Church". Getty Images. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- Fletcher Stack, Peggy. "Mormon Women Want to Attend Mormon Priesthood Meeting in October". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- Hahn, Devin. "Body Beat". bu.edu. BU TODAY.
- Shields Strayer, Chelsea. "Social Susceptibility; Why our Most Painful, Joyful and Memorable Experiences Exist in the Social Domain". Prezi.com.
- TED Fellow profile
- Shields Strayer, Chelsea. "Grantees". www.wennergren.org. The Wenner-Gren Foundation. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- "2012 BU Women's Guild Scholarship Winners". www.bu.edu.