By December 12, 2017
The following is a guest post from friend-of-the-JI Mark Ashurst-McGee, the Senior Research and Review Historian at the Joseph Smith Papers and co-editor of several volumes in the series. He holds degrees in American History from Arizona State University, Utah State University, and Brigham Young University. Ashurst-McGee has authored award-winning graduate theses on Joseph Smith’s Zion project and the Mormon prophet’s use of seer stones and he is the author of several articles. He is the co-editor, along with Robin Scott Jensen and Sharalyn D. Howcroft, of Foundational Texts of Mormonism: Examining Major Early Sources, forthcoming in February 2018 from Oxford University Press.
Early next year, Oxford University Press will publish a major new book on Joseph Smith and early Mormonism. If you are a scholar or an avid reader of early Mormon history, you will want to own and read this compilation.
By December 11, 2017
The Mormon Studies Review is the best annual over view of the Mormon Studies (sub)field available anywhere. Produced by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, the journal is produced by a remarkable editorial team. You can subscribe for $10 (and you get the Maxwell Institute’s other publications, too!). I’ll highlight each contribution, and pull a sentence or two from each article to give a taste of the writing and rigor involved in each contribution. As much as the summaries, I hope that you’ll appreciate with me the myriad of approaches that could be used in Mormon History or Mormon Studies. The field, as they say, is white and ready to harvest.
First, a review panel comprised of Ann Little (a renowned women’s history specialist and microhistorian), Paul Reeve (the Simmons Professor of Mormon Studies at the University of Utah), and Sarah Carter (a historian of plural marriage outside of Mormonism) examines Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s A House Full of Females.[i] An excerpt from Little’s response sums up the book well:
Ulrich’s instinct to hew to the daily realities of mid-nineteenth-century missionary life and westward imperial expansion serves her well. The Mormons she portrays lead complicated lives—emotionally and sexually messy as well as frequently (literally) clogged with mud, dirt, and dysentery from their various removes and migrations. She focuses on the details of early Mormon life as they were revealed in diaries rather than retrospective memoirs, which brings the immediacy of their experimentation to life.
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 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 27, 2017
The Obert C. & Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center presents The 2017 Sterling M. McMurrin Lecture on Religion & Culture
“Science vs. Dogma: Biology Challenges the LDS Paradigm” by Greg Prince, Author & Historian
Wednesday, September 27 at 7:00 PM
Salt Lake City Public Library – Nancy Tessman Auditorium
210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City
Open to the public, no tickets required
Facebook event: https://goo.gl/4jXtP8
LIVE STREAM: http://www.kaltura.com/tiny/h1ynw
The Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah presents the 2017 Sterling M. McMurrin Lecture on Religion & Culture, “Science versus Dogma: Biology challenges the LDS Paradigm” by Gregory A. Prince, author and historian, at Salt Lake City Public Library, September 27 at 7:00 p.m.
Until the late 1960s, when the Stonewall Riots in New York City brought LGBT issues into the public square, the consensus among clinicians, scientists, legislators, and religious leaders was that homosexuality was either an unfortunate choice that could be unchosen, or a disease that could—and must—be cured. As the field of molecular biology matured, there was a spirited hunt for a genetic explanation for homosexuality—the “gay gene.”
In the short term, failure to find such a gene reinforced the “choice paradigm” of homosexuality. However, recent research has shown that a combination of genetic and (mostly) epigenetic factors act during fetal development to imprint sexual preference and gender identity indelibly within the brain. Prince argues that the “biology paradigm” calls for a reassessment of Latter-day Saint doctrines, policies, and attitudes towards homosexuality, all of which were built on a foundation of the “choice paradigm.”
“Greg Prince’s unique perspective,” says Tanner Center director Bob Goldberg, “combines scientific knowledge with humanistic sensibilities. This insures that his insights will offer new ways of understanding matters that touch us all.”
Prince’s lecture will be followed by a book signing hosted by the King’s English Bookshop.
About Gregory A. Prince
Scientific researcher and historian Gregory A. Prince earned his graduate degrees in dentistry (DDS) and pathology (PhD) at UCLA. He then pursued a four-decade career in pediatric infectious disease research. His love of history led him to write three books, including the award-winning David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Most recently, he has published Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History.
Very Special Thanks
B.W. Bastian Foundation
The Salt Lake City Public Library
Q Salt Lake Magazine
The King’s English Bookshop
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 September 13, 2017
AAR/SBL Rocky Mountain-Great Plains Region
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah: March 16–17, 2018
Call for Papers
The Regional Program Committee invites proposals for papers and panels to be presented at the 2018 Regional Meeting in Provo, Utah. The deadline for submissions is Friday October 27 at 5:00 pm MST.
Proposals dealing with any aspect of the fields of religious studies, biblical studies, and Near Eastern studies are welcome. We seek proposals on all topics, religious traditions, historical periods, and biblical (including pseudepigraphical and deutero-canonical) texts and traditions. We welcome proposals for single papers, panels with multiple papers, or other types of sessions, such as roundtables involving structured discussions of pre-circulated questions. Proposals addressing issues such as pedagogy, instructional technology, philology, ritual, the body, religion and media, religion and politics, and current trends in the profession are also encouraged.
By July 13, 2017
Research Assistant, Joseph Smith Papers (Church History Department) (Contract Worker)
UNITED STATES | UT-Salt Lake City
ID 186732, Type: Full-Time – Temporary
Posting Dates: 06/23/2017 – 07/21/2017
Job Family: Administrative
Department: Church History Department
The Church History Department announces an opening for a Research Assistant with the Joseph Smith Papers project. The successful candidate will assist the Joseph Smith Papers in the Publications Division of the Church History Department with historical and textual research for volumes in the Papers’ Documents series. This is an exciting and unique opportunity for someone interested in pursuing a career in history. We are looking for a motivated, energetic, and skilled individual to join our team!
By June 28, 2017
This addendum has been added to the 2018 MHA Call for Papers (original call here). Paper abstracts are still due on November 15, 2017 and the conference will still be held on June 7-10, 2018 at Boise, ID.
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 by J Stuart]
By June 9, 2017
Research Assistant (Contract Worker) (Church History Department)
UNITED STATES | UT-Salt Lake City
ID 186050, Type: Full-Time – Temporary
Posting Dates: 06/08/2017 – 06/22/2017
Job Family: Administrative
Department: Church History Department
This Research Assistant position will support the work of several web content projects, with oversight from the Manager and other senior writers, as well, assist in some writing projects being overseen and led by the Division’s Director.
By June 2, 2017
We would like to congratulate the recipients of the 2017 MHA awards! Please find them below:
Leonard Arrington Award:
Jill Mulvay Derr
Simpson, Thomas W. American Universities and the Birth of Modern Mormonism, 1867-1940. University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
Prince, Stephen L. Hosea Stout: Lawman, Legislator, Mormon Defender. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2016.
Best Book International Mormonism:
Takagi, Shinji. The Trek East: Mormonism Meets Japan, 1901-1968. Draper, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2016.
Best Memoir / Personal History:
Bate, Kerry William. The Women: A Family Story. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2016.
Hendrix-Komoto, Amanda. “Mahana, You Naked! Modesty, Sexuality, and Race in the Mormon Pacific.” In Out of Obscurity: Mormonism Since 1945, edited by Patrick Q. Mason and John G. Turner, 173?97. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Article of Excellence:
Turley Jr. Richard E. and Jeffrey G. Cannon. “A Faithful Band: Moses Mahlangu and the First Soweto Saints.” BYU Studies Quarterly 55, no. 1 (2016): 9-38.
Best International Article:
Rutherford, Taunalyn. “The Internationalization of Mormonism: Indications from India.” In Out of Obscurity: Mormonism since 1945, edited by Patrick Q. Mason and John G. Turner, 37?62. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Best Women’s History Article
Newell, Quincy. “What Jane James Saw.” In Directions for Mormon Studies in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Patrick Q. Mason, 135?51. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2016.
Graduate Student Awards:
Best unpublished graduate student paper
Kitterman, Katherine. “‘No Ordinary Feelings’: Mormon Women’s Petitions, 1870-1886.”
Brumbaugh Jr., John Howard. “‘We are Entitled to, and We Must Have, Medical Care’: San Juan County’s Farm Security Administration Medical Plan, 1938-1946”
Smith, Christopher C. “Mormon Conquest: Whites and Natives in the Intermountain West, 1847-1851”
By May 30, 2017
Later this week bloggers associated with the Juvenile Instructor will assemble at the Mormon History Association annual conference in St. Charles, Missouri (just outside of St. Louis), a yearly highlight for us. Many of us will be participating in the program as presenters, commentators, and chairs. This post summarizes our contributions.
By May 19, 2017
This summer, Juvenile Instructor is hosting a series on Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s new and long-awaited book A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism. (The first two posts of the series can be found here and here.)
Many of you will have already learned the devastating news that the Ulrichs’ son Nathan, died in a plane crash in the Bahamas earlier this week, along with his girlfriend and her two sons. Out of respect for this immense loss, we will be pausing our discussion of Laurel’s book, to be resumed at a later date. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for more information on this hiatus.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, their friends, and loved ones at this time.
By April 24, 2017
From the Program Committee: We are just one week away from the submission deadline for the 2018 Church History Symposium!
2018 Church History Symposium
Business, Wealth, Enterprise, and Debt: The Economic Side of Mormon History, 1830-1930*
March 1-2, 2018
In 1958, Leonard J. Arrington published Great Basin Kingdom, a seminal study in Mormon economic history. Arrington followed this work with several other studies pertaining to the economic history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and of the state of Utah. Other scholars have examined in detail financial operations of the church in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, including explorations of the law of consecration (first revealed to Joseph Smith in 1831) and its implementation, enterprises such as the United Firm and the Kirtland Safety Society, and the economic impact of creating new communities throughout the Great Basin. Picking up where Arrington and others left off, there are new and exciting developments in the study of gender, society, race, and the environment that can enlighten the financial aspects of Mormon history.
By April 21, 2017
If you haven’t heard already, yesterday a host of 19 scholars submitted an Amici Curiae Brief (amici curiae=friends of the court, or impartial expert advisors) in response to President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13,780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” Trump’s Executive Order received a cascade of pushback and resistance, mainly criticizing that the order seems to target Muslims (just search the executive order in google news for a host of coverage). The Amici Curiae Brief picks up on this vein and presents the Mormon past with federal immigration policy as an example of how targeting religious minorities through immigration legislation can go horribly wrong.
The Brief tells the history of early Mormon persecution, and late nineteenth-century legal battles over polygamy to show that the government treated Mormons as “outsiders, not full members of the political community.” The argument and section titles are enough to give a sense of the Brief in its entirety:
By April 13, 2017
We are pleased to feature this Q&A with Steve Evans, co-founder and a co-editor at the BCC Press. Steve was gracious enough to answer a few questions for scholars for JI. You can submit a manuscript or direct further questions to the press here.You can read more about the BCC Press here and here.
- How would peer review work for authors at the BCC Press? Historians and academics are naturally concerned about issues of tenure, CV-building, etc.
By April 4, 2017
At a recent gathering in Cambridge, MA, Richard Bushman introduced Laurel Thatcher Ulrich to her hometown crowd as Mormonism’s most “distinguished and decorated scholar.” Her Pulitzer Prize, Bancroft Prize, and many other awards speak to her mastery of the historian’s craft in the broader academy. She is not only Mormonism’s most distinguished and decorated scholars, she is one of the most distinguished and decorated scholars alive today. Ulrich’s research and writing abilities made A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835-1870 a natural choice for JI’s Third Annual Summer Book Club. Hundreds of readers have followed along with our book club in the past few years—we hope to read with even more of you this summer!
By March 13, 2017
Last year, Kris W. and I hosted a “Mormonism in Religious Studies” workshop at the University of Utah. We discussed religious disappointment, Mormonism and Spiritualism, failed healings, immigration, Mormon women and masonry, and other topics at length.
The workshop helped to create a sense of community among young scholars from a variety of places and disciplines while providing helpful feedback for developing projects. As a result, we have decided to host another workshop as a pre-conference workshop at the 2017 meetings of the Mormon History Association in St. Louis, MO. The workshop, “Surveying Trends in the Field: Mormon History and Mormon Studies in the Modern Academy,” will be held on Thursday, June 1 at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis from 9 AM-5 PM. There will be no cost for the workshop beyond punctual arrival and rigorous intellectual engagement.
By February 17, 2017
From our friends at the Joseph Smith Papers Project:
Call for Papers
Joseph Smith Papers Conference
October 20, 2017
In 2017, the Joseph Smith Papers Project will release volumes five and six of the Documents Series, covering major events from the life of Joseph Smith during the years 1835-1839. To celebrate the publication of these volumes, the project invites paper proposals for a conference to be held on October 20, 2017 at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City. While paper proposals need not specifically be about Joseph Smith, they should draw from the corpus of his surviving documents from 1835-1839. We encourage proposals that explore the broad themes covered in these volumes, including missionaries; the role of women and gender in religious communities; religious gathering; communitarian land purchasing strategies and urban planning; frontier violence; religion and the law; and religious dissent.