“Mormonism Confronts the World”
How the LDS Church Has Responded to Developments in Science, Culture, and Religion
Brigham Young University
June 26–August 3, 2017
In the summer of 2017, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute at Brigham Young University, with support from the Mormon Scholars Foundation, will sponsor a summer seminar for graduate students on the topic, “MORMONISM CONFRONTS THE WORLD: How the LDS Church Has Responded to Developments in Science, Culture, and Religion.” The seminar will be held on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah, from June 26 to August 3, 2017. Admitted participants will receive a stipend of $3,000 in addition to a housing accommodation subsidy if needed. International participants will also receive some transportation assistance, the amount to be determined by availability of funding. (We are hoping to cover most airfares for international participants.)
The seminar continues the series of seminars on Mormon culture begun in the summer of 1997 with Richard Bushman. This iteration will be co-directed by Terryl Givens, Professor of Literature and Religion and James A. Bostwick Chair of English at the University of Richmond, and Philip L. Barlow, holder of the Leonard J. Arrington Chair in Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University.
The 2017 seminar will examine LDS history with an emphasis on the influences exerted on the tradition by developments in the larger world. In Mormon thought and culture, can we detect influences from or reactions toward such events, emerging paradigms, and shifting trends as evolution, genetic engineering, “higher criticism” of scriptural texts, progressivism, Vatican II, the Big Bang hypothesis, globalization, war, and others? Mormonism was long studied in virtual isolation from larger religious and cultural currents; a recent generation of scholarship has begun to put the faith into conversation with other faith traditions and nineteenth-century American religious culture. We hope to build upon these new directions in Mormon studies by continuing to enlarge the time frame and the variety of disciplines and spheres of influence that can illuminate the Mormon past and present, including any impact Mormonism may have exerted on the wider culture.
Each participant will be asked to prepare a paper on some aspect of this general subject area for presentation in a public symposium to be held during the seminar’s final week. (Working papers from 2007 to 2015 are available here.)
Applicants are welcomed from the fields of history, literature, anthropology, sociology, religious studies, philosophy, and other humanistic and social scientific fields. Graduate students at any level of preparation are eligible, and will have first priority in the selection process. However, junior CES employees with backgrounds in the humanities and social sciences are also welcome to apply, as are junior faculty and young professionals with demonstrated interest and participation in the field of Mormon studies. We are especially eager to receive international applications.
Important note: Because space is limited and generous funding is provided, participants must be willing to devote full time to the seminar during the six weeks it runs. The group will generally meet together two hours a day, Monday through Thursday. The rest of the time will be spent in independent research and writing.
Applications should include (1) a completed application form, (2) a letter-essay indicating interest and preparation, and (3) writing samples.
Applications should be submitted by February 15, 2017.
Notifications will be sent by March 15, 2017.
For further information contact: