Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

Committee Chair

John R Baldwin


The responsibility for several hundred people drinking the Kool-Aid in Jonestown, Guyana, has typically been solely attributed to Jim Jones, the co-founder of the Peoples Temple movement. However, recent documentaries have shifted this representation to focus on all involved in the Peoples Temple. In this thesis, I use rhetorical analyses tactics through a critical feminist lens to examine the agency and villainy present in these mediated depictions of women in Peoples Temple. Mediated texts of the Peoples Temple included the 2018 Hulu documentary Jonestown: The Women Behind the Massacre, the 2018 AMC docuseries Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle, In Defense of People’s Temple written by Rebecca Moore in 1988 and Hearing the Voices of Jonestown: Putting a Human Face on an American Tragedy, written by Mary McCormick Maaga in 1988. Constructs of monstrosity and oppression guide the analysis.


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