By December 27, 2017
2018-2019 Postdoctoral Fellowship
We invite applications from those whose work bears on American religious history, thought or practice and, ideally, in relation to law and politics. Preference will be given to applicants with interest in marginal religious movements, especially Mormonism.
The University of Virginia’s Religious Studies Department invites applications for one full-time Postdoctoral Research Associate and Lecturer for the 2018-2019 academic year. The anticipated start date is July 25, 2018. Applications are welcome from any whose work bears on American religious history, thought or practice. Preference will be given to those applicants with interest in marginal or newer religious movements, especially Mormonism. Preference will be given to applicants interested in adding Mormon Studies to their portfolio. Expertise in Mormonism is not required. Rather, the Fellowship is designed to provide training for persons who wish to add such expertise to an existing disciplinary specialty.
Duties include, but are not limited to, teaching three courses over the two-semester term of the fellowship. Specifically, the Fellow will teach two seminars in his or her discipline and on topics of his or her choice. In addition, the Fellow will team-teach, with the Richard Lyman Bushman Professor of Mormon Studies, an introductory survey on Mormonism in relation to American culture. Applicants should evidence experience in and commitment to undergraduate and graduate teaching in a liberal arts framework, and be prepared to participate in both a large team-taught introductory-level class and smaller upper-level courses.
Additional duties include assistance with UVA’s Forum on Religion and American Democracy. The Forum sponsors interdisciplinary research and other academic and public activity on the ways American religion and democracy shape one another. It also includes study of how the evolving relationship between American religion and democracy have affected, and continue to affect, other nations.
Compensation for this appointment will be in the form of a competitive salary with full-time benefits and includes a $3,000 research fund. For full consideration apply by February 15, 2018; however, the position will remain open until filled.
Applicants for the fellowship must have attained their PhD by the appointment start date.
To apply, please complete a Candidate Profile online through Jobs@UVA (search on posting 0622269), and electronically attach the following: a cover letter, a current CV including the names and contact information for three references, and a statement describing, in no more than 300 words, your qualifications for and philosophy of teaching with attention to your disciplinary approach.
Questions regarding the position should be directed to Kathleen Flake, Richard Lyman Bushman Professor of Mormon Studies: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions regarding the application process or Jobs@UVA should be directed to Mick Watson, Administrator, Department of Religious Studies: email@example.com.
The University will perform background checks on all new faculty hires prior to making a final offer of employment.
The University of Virginia is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
By December 1, 2017
This post comes from Meredith Nelson, the webmaster of the University of Virginia’s Mormon Studies website. We hope that you will find it useful!
Kathleen Flake and the Mormon Studies Program at the University of Virginia have recently launched a new website that highlights programming, events, faculty, courses in American religious history, Professor Flake’s research, and potential research topics.
In Doing Mormon Studies, we feature a large collection of video interviews conducted by Prof. Kathleen Flake with prominent scholars in 2016. James Faulconer, Terryl Givens, Matthew Grow, Kate Holbrook, Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Ann Taves, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and Grant Wacker comment on potential research topics waiting to be picked up, on their favorite personal discoveries, on Joseph Smith, on their own academic paths, and on what aspiring scholars should keep in mind.
By November 30, 2017
We are pleased to post this book review by friend of the JI Kim Östman, who has researched and written extensively on Mormonism in the northern-European country of Finland. He holds a Ph.D. in comparative religion from Åbo Akademi University (2011) and a D.Sc. in microelectronics from Helsinki University of Technology (2014), and works as a Senior R&D Engineer with Nordic Semiconductor.
Dr. Östman’s research on nineteenth-century Mormonism in Finland was published as a doctoral dissertation by Åbo Akademi University Press. It discusses how Mormonism was viewed in Finnish print media, by local civil and ecclesiastical authorities, and what kind of results the LDS church’s Swedish-led missionary efforts in perilous legal conditions led to. A co-founder of the European Mormon Studies Association (EMSA), he is continuing his Mormon history research into early twentieth-century Finland and Sweden on his free time, as a post-doctoral scholar affiliated with Åbo Akademi University.
Julie K. Allen: Danish but Not Lutheran: The Impact of Mormonism on Danish Cultural Identity, 1850–1920. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2017, 288pp.
Scandinavians are overwhelmingly Lutheran to this day, although religiosity has tended to give way to “believing in belonging” during the past centuries. Their national churches are still seen as custodians of culturally significant rites of passage, bringing people together at life’s critical junctures. As Prof. Julie Allen explains in her study of Mormonism’s impact on Danish culture and identity, Denmark was the first Nordic nation to officially decouple citizenship from Lutheranism. Being a Dane had meant being Lutheran, but the new 1849 constitution separated the two identities by legalizing the activity of new religious movements while retaining the privileged position of the state church. This leap in religious freedom was preceded by for example Baptist activity in the kingdom.
By November 22, 2017
See Part I here and Part II here.
By Craig Foster, Newel Bringhurst, and Brian Hales
During the tour on October 28, 2017, we had the opportunity for an in-depth visit to the FLDS Temple. Of all the structures on the Yearning for Zion ranch, none was more striking than the temple.
Like the Salt Lake LDS temple, the clasping hands motif is engraved on the exterior above the primary entrance.
By November 21, 2017
See Part I of this series on the YZR by Craig Foster, Newel Bringhurst, and Brian Hales HERE
A Visit to the Yearning for Zion Ranch—Part 2 of 3
Our next stop brought us to the homes of Warren Jeffs, one he had lived in and one built for him after his incarceration.
The office and entrance of Jeffs’ older home were unimpressive. The house was filled with bedrooms and two kitchens. Around forty-five of Jeffs’ estimated eighty-plus wives lived in the house.
By November 20, 2017
We are pleased to host three guest posts from Craig L. Foster, Newel G. Bringhurst, and Brian Hales.
A Visit to the Yearning for Zion Ranch—Part 1 of 3
After providing historical background at a polygamy trial in Cranbook, Canada in April 2017, Brian Hales met a Texas Ranger who had been involved in the 2008 raid of the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch. The ranch, belonging to the FLDS Church, is located about four miles outside of El Dorado in west central Texas. The Ranger had offered to give Brian a tour, so, taking the Ranger up on his invitation, Brian Hales, Craig Foster, and Newell Bringhurst visited YFZ on October 28, 2017.
We arrived in Eldorado, Texas, the closest town to the ranch, and met up with our Ranger guide who then drove us to the outer gate of the ranch. Yearning for Zion Ranch, with boundaries approximately one mile by two miles, was acquired by Davis S. Allred in 2003. At the time of purchase, Allred represented the YFZ Land LLC and claimed he would be building a business retreat. Within a short time, the outside world realized Allred had been the front man to an FLDS purchase and that there were going to be more than business executives and wealthy game hunters residing at the ranch.
By November 10, 2017
Mormon History Association
Call for Papers – 2018 Annual Conference
“Homelands and Bordered Lands”
The fifty-third conference of the Mormon History Association will be held June 7 – 10, 2018, at the Boise Centre Convention Center and nearby Grove Hotel in Boise, Idaho. The 2018 conference theme “Homelands and Bordered Lands” raises questions about how borders both disrupt and generate ideas about individuals’ and communities’ “homes,” broadly construed. The theme highlights the ways in which the dynamic interactions between peoples, places, and identities have always been central to Mormon histories.
The conference theme “Homelands and Bordered Lands” connects the history of the Latter-day Saints to Idaho’s diverse past. Idaho is first and foremost a Native homeland. The first Mormon settlement in the Idaho was created near present-day Salmon, Idaho, at Fort Lemhi in 1855. Immigration by Mormons and other Euro-Americans caused conflict with Native communities and led to the depletion of natural resources as well as outbreaks of violence. On the other hand, there have also been many instances of cooperation and mutual respect between the various communities.
Idaho has also always been a place where the boundaries of Mormon identity have been negotiated. The state has been a refuge and highway for those seeking to practice plural marriage. Polygamy contributed to a pronounced strain of anti-Mormonism in Idaho politics and law in the late nineteenth century. Idaho also has a healthy tradition of Mormon education, intellectualism, and dissent. Ricks College, now BYU-Idaho, has been foundational in LDS higher education. Furthermore, Leonard Arrington was born in Twin Falls and graduated from the University of Idaho, Sonia Johnson was born in Malad, Maxine Hanks attended Ricks, and the blog Feminist Mormon Housewives was founded in Boise.
While Idaho provides a rich tableau for the study of Mormonism in the context of the state’s history as a multiracial, multi-ethic, and multireligious place, we also seek papers and panels that address the theme of “Homelands and Bordered Lands” from any vantage point in the Mormon past. In addition to papers and panels that address the conference theme, the program committee also welcomes proposals on any topic in Mormon history.
Since its founding in 1965, the Mormon History Association has been dedicated to the promotion of intellectually rigorous, diverse scholarship on the history of the Mormon tradition. To help us create a welcoming space that embraces work from a wide variety of methodological and religious viewpoints, we encourage individuals to organize panels for the 2018 Conference in Boise, Idaho, that include presenters from a variety of institutional, social, and religious backgrounds. The program committee will give preference to panels that reflect the diversity of the historical profession by featuring women and underrepresented minorities. [Bold added]
The Mormon History Association intentionally embraces both academic and amateur historians. The conference organizers encourage submissions that think outside of the traditional format for conference sessions. We encourage people to organize roundtables, “cafés” in which participants are arranged in small groups to discuss a topic, pre-circulated papers, and so forth. Additional ideas for alternative session formats can be found at: http://solveforinteresting.com/category/good-conference/event-sessions/
Please send 1) a 300-word abstract for each paper or presentation and 2) a brief 1-2 page CV for each presenter, including email contact information. Session proposals should also include the session title and a 300-word session abstract, along with a confirmed chair and/or commentator, if applicable.
Previously published papers are not eligible for presentation at MHA. An individual may only submit one proposal as a session presenter, although it is acceptable for a presenter in one session to be a chair or commentator in another. Limited financial assistance is available to some student presenters and presenters from less economically-developed nations. Those who wish to apply for funding should include estimated travel expenses with their proposals.
The deadline for proposals is November 15, 2017. Proposals should be sent to the program co-chairs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made by December 15, 2017.
Please mark if you are attending the 2018 MHA Conference on Facebook HERE.
By October 12, 2017
The Fifth Annual Summer Seminar on Mormon Theology
“Are We Not All Beggars? Reading Mosiah 4”
Cittadella Ospitalità, Assisi, Italy
June 17–June 30, 2018
Sponsored by the Mormon Theology Seminar
in partnership with
The Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies,
The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship,
and the Wheatley Institution
By October 4, 2017
I have recently become the director of the Rocky Mountain American Religion Seminar (RMARS) at the University of Utah. As director, one of my jobs is to invite scholars to deliver public lectures at the University of Utah. Our first lecture will be delivered by Professor Kathryn Gin Lum of Stanford University. Her lecture will be held on Monday, October 16 at 2 PM in CTIHB 101 (University of Utah).
She will speak on the confluence of race, religion, and the “heathen” in American history. You can RSVP (and help spread the word) on Facebook.
By September 26, 2017
|Join Us for a Special Lecture
|The Joseph Smith Papers is pleased to invite you to a special presentation in conjunction with the publication of Documents, Volume 6: February 1838–August 1839. David W. Grua, coeditor of the volume, will present “‘All these things shall give thee experience’: Joseph Smith’s Liberty Jail Letters” on September 28 in Salt Lake City.
Event: “‘All these things shall give thee experience’: Joseph Smith’s Liberty Jail Letters” presented by David W. Grua
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Assembly Hall (50 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150)
Liberty Jail is at the symbolic center of Documents, Volume 6. During the winter of 1838–1839, Joseph Smith was confined to the jail’s dungeon and separated from Latter-day Saints who were finding refuge outside of Missouri. In this time of crisis, he used letters to maintain family ties and to sustain the church. Come learn more about how the letters illuminate Joseph’s own struggle to comprehend the Saints’ afflictions and the revelations he received in the jail.
By April 14, 2017
The International Society of Landscape, Place and Material Culture (ISLPMC) will hold its 49th annual conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 18-21, 2017.
The 2017 Conference theme is “Mormons, Miners and the American West.” In 1847 the first groups of Mormon settlers led by Brigham Young entered the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. After displacing most indigenous residents of the valleys, the Mormons established the first of their many permanent settlements in the region based on the Plat for the City of Zion. They were seeking isolation following decades of persecution; however, much of the area they settled also contained some of the richest precious metals deposits in the West. Soon they were joined by others seeking, among other things, silver and gold, and introducing an array of cultural conflicts.
By March 17, 2017
Eighteenth Annual UVU Mormon Studies Conference
Religious Cohesion in a New Era of Diversity
By March 9, 2017
The Utah State Historical Society invites the public, scholars, students, policymakers, and organizations to submit proposals for papers, panels, or multimedia presentations on the theme Local Matters. This is both a call for papers and a call for the participation of community organizations such as museums, preservation groups, and historical societies. Sessions for the 65th annual Utah State History Conference will be held on October 11, 2017, at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.
Local can be broadly conceived. We encourage submissions examining the many strands that create the fabric of communities—such as interpersonal networks, long-standing festivals, neighborhood structures, churches, schools, or the arts—or that focus more narrowly on a family or a home. And community may also be interpreted broadly as communities of faith, advocacy, hobbies, politics, and so forth. Submissions might also consider the historical roots of the recent vogue for things local: farm-to-table eating, urban redevelopment, public markets, or local music.
Separately, we welcome papers and panels that discuss the uses and historiography of local history and the application of sophisticated methodology to personal, family, and community history. How do communities go about compiling their histories? What role do organizations play in preserving local history? How does community history intersect with broader historical themes?
Submissions on other aspects of Utah history will also be considered. We welcome a range of formats, from the traditional panels and sessions to more innovative formats. We encourage full session or panel submissions, though we will make every effort to match single paper proposals with other panels and papers.
By March 5, 2017
Please read this post from Mormon History Association Director Rob Racker. Be sure to register for the conference, book your hotel, and consider a donation to the student travel fund!
Panoramic image of St. Louis downtown with Gateway Arch at twilight.
Dear Members and Friends of Mormon History Association:
You are invited to preregister and attend the Mormon History Association’s 52nd Annual Conference in the historic St Charles area of St Louis MO. We hope that you will be able to attend what promises to be an exciting event.
A copy of the preliminary conference program can be viewed HERE .
The conference registration link is here: HERE or go to: http://www.cvent.com/d/zvqyg3
By January 31, 2017
We are thrilled to share this announcement from Quincy Newell, a friend of JI and member of the Board of the Mormon History Association
Dear Members of the MHA:
Our organization is affiliated with the American Historical Association (AHA) and, as such, has the opportunity to co-sponsor sessions at the AHA’s annual meeting. The next AHA annual meeting will take place January 4-7, 2018, in Washington, D.C. More information is here. Proposals for this meeting are due on February 15. If you are submitting a proposal to the AHA and would like the MHA to co-sponsor the session, please e-mail the following materials to Quincy D. Newell (email@example.com) no later than February 8:
1. Session title
2. Participants’ names and institutional affliiations (if any)
3. Session abstract
4. Presentation abstracts.
For workshop, practicum, and experimental session proposals, please contact Quincy to determine the most appropriate materials to submit for MHA consideration.
Please note that co-sponsorship by the MHA in no way guarantees acceptance by the AHA program committee. Nevertheless, we hope that you will seize this opportunity to represent our organization to our colleagues at the AHA!
Quincy D. Newell
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
By January 24, 2017
A note from MHA Board Member and friend of Juvenile Instructor, J.B. Haws, regarding submissions for MHA Awards.
One final call for nominations for the 2016 Mormon History Association awards! The deadline is next week—February 1!
We welcome nominations for article awards and graduate student work awards from anyone—authors, advisers, readers, fans, colleagues, etc. Because some authors are reticent about putting forward their own pieces, we need your help to identify excellent scholarship.
Nominations for article awards should be submitted to Sheree Bench at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations for graduate student work awards (dissertation, thesis, and unpublished graduate paper) should be submitted to Brian Birch at email@example.com. Can we put out a special request to have those of you who work with graduate students to give extra attention to this? Please encourage your students and peers to submit their work—or feel free to send in their work for them!
Nominations for book awards should come directly from publishers. We ask publishers to submit 5 copies of nominated books. Publishers can contact our executive director, Rob Racker at firstname.lastname@example.org, to get current mailing information for our book award committee members (the book awards committee is chaired by Tona Hangen).
Feel free to direct general questions about awards to J.B. Haws at email@example.com.
Thank you for helping the MHA celebrate outstanding work in the field of Mormon history!
By August 30, 2016
[We are pleased to cross-publish this post from Bruce Crow, a friend of JI. While you are free to comment here, we suggestion most conversation to take place over at Bruce’s blog.]
A while back we did a post where we tried to match the names of missionaries on the back of a photo to the faces of the missionaries on the front. Well, today we are going to try that again. Only this time it will be a little harder. We can thank Quincy D. Newell, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Hamilton College for her interest in this photo.
By June 22, 2016
[We are pleased to post this book review from Hannah Jung. Hannah lives and works in Boston and will be starting her PhD in History in the fall.]
Eds. Kate Holbrook and Matthew Bowman, Women and Mormonism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2016.
During my undergrad there was a mature student who seemed to be in all of my classes about women and religion. This woman had a particular word for whenever we studied examples of women who seemed to be furthering patriarchy. She called them brainwashed. At the time, it was hard for me to articulate why I did not like the label “brainwashed” for women who did not appear to be living life worthy of feminist praise. This task would be taken on by historians much more clever and experienced than I. Indeed, in 2011 Catherine Brekus rocked the Mormon Studies world with her Tanner Lecture “Mormon Women and the Problem of Historical Agency”, which she delivered at the Mormon History Association. Brekus observed that,
Although historians of male leaders had never felt compelled to argue that men’s agency was politically subversive or liberating … historians of overlooked groups – including women, Native Americans, African Americans, and Latina/os – were searching for a ‘usable past’ and so they looked for evidence of individual or collective resistance to a white male hegemony. (p.23)
By September 2, 2015
[We are thrilled to have yet another guest post from Jeff Turner, a PhD student at the University of Utah. See his previous offerings here, here, and here.]
“I actually learned something about Mormonism,” said my seat-neighbor at the Book of Mormon musical this past spring. Terrified, curious, and excited, I found myself wondering what he could have learned from the musical that he hadn’t known beforehand. So I asked. Surprisingly, his new piece of information had to do with the relationship between Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, namely that they knew each other in person, which made Young’s succession as the next church president more approachable to my seatmate (even though the succession was oversimplified in the musical). Well that’s not so bad, I thought, and I can see how he picked that up from the musical. We had a short chat about it afterward, and that was the end of it.
By July 3, 2015
[Today we are happy to have the second post in our guest series from UofU-bound-PhD student Jeff Turner. Make sure you didn’t miss his first post last week.]
In the first volume of the Mormon Studies Review, Thomas Tweed writes, “in this brief essay I want to discuss Mormon displacement and emplacement, as Twain did, and I want to propose that consideration of these two themes, and others, shows that the Latter-day Saints offer an exceptionally generative case study for translocative history, historical accounts that trace cultural flows across geographical boundaries, and comparative analysis, the justly maligned but still useful strategy of interpreting one tradition in terms of another.” While Tweed spends a significant portion of the essay addressing a comparative approach, he also suggests that missions and migration are two opportunities for a translocative study of Mormonism. In following this vein, we might ask: what might such a study of Mormonism look like?