Public History

Guest post: Edward Blum, “On Mormon Racism: A Response to John Turner”

By August 22, 2012

Edward Blum is associate professor of history at San Diego State University. He is the author of Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898 (2005), W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet (2007), and most recently, co-author (with Paul Harvey) of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America (2012), which will be available next month. He is the co-editor (with Paul Harvey) of The Columbia Guide to Religion in American History (2012), (with Jason R. Young) The Souls of W. E. B. Du Bois: New Essays and Reflections (2009), and (with W. Scott Poole) Vale of Tears: New Essays on Religion and Reconstruction (2005). Ed also blogs at Religion in American History and Teaching United States History.

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“Linking One Generation to Another”: Dedicating the “This is the Place” Monument, 1947

By July 24, 2012

At 6 a.m. on July 24, 1947, the centennial of the Mormon Pioneers’ entrance into the Salt Lake Valley, the first spectators arrived at the mouth of Emigration Canyon, Utah. By mid-morning, perhaps ten thousand cars were parked over several square miles, with as many as fifty thousand attendees waiting for the festivities to begin. They had gathered to witness the dedication of the sixty-foot tall “This is the Place” Monument, which would honor not only the Latter-day Saint Pioneers, but also the Spanish, British, and American forerunners who had laid a foundation for the Mormon settlement of the Great Basin. At 9:30, the Boy Scouts raised the American and Utah state flags, while the U.S. Marines band from San Diego, California, began playing “America.” Church President George Albert Smith, as master of ceremonies, introduced the program and delivered the dedicatory prayer. Speakers included J. Rueben Clark and David O. McKay, Smith’s counselors in the First Presidency; the Most Rev. Duane G. Hunt, bishop of the Salt Lake Catholic Diocese; Rt. Rev. Arthur W. Moulton, retired Episcopalian bishop of Utah; and Rabbi Alvin S. Luchs of Temple B’Nai Israel, all of whom were members of the monument commission. The dedication marked an important occasion in what Laurie Maffly-Kipp has called the “Long Approach to the Mormon Moment,”as Latter-day Saints sought to claim a prominent place both in the present and the past of the American nation.

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Introducing: Dictionary of Mormon Biography

By July 12, 2012

I want to start off this post by thanking you for your kindness since my first post. The feedback and general excitement I received via comments and email was palpable and kind of amazing.

The announcement I am now making is closely related to my work on the Saints of Alberta Project (SAP), which is still taking shape thanks to your comments. The Dictionary of Mormon Biography (DMB) is a new site, which will shortly become a platform like unto a Wikipedia, for Mormon biography. Currently, the site is a mockup of the kind of database I’d like to and am assembling though the next iteration will run on a similar software to Wikipedia: Semantic Mediawiki.

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Alberta Saints and Digital Ephemera

By July 5, 2012

I have been a student of Mormon history for over a decade now and have also been an active participant of the Web since I was a young man. I rolled with the revolutions of HTML, GIFs, Flash, web standards, and “HTML5” more recently. These two worlds, Mormon history and the Web, have increasingly been gravitating toward and colliding into each other, inevitably spilling out new galaxies of information [1]. This makes me a chipper boy in the 21st century, an age of expanding data, information, knowledge, and wisdom.

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Our Modest Proposal for BYU Women’s Conference: A Mo-TED Talk on Female Ritual Healing

By June 8, 2012

This post co-authored by JI contributors Tona H and J. Stapley

We’ve been thinking…

Each spring, more than 14,000 women converge on the BYU campus for Women’s Conference. The annual 2-day event is cosponsored by BYU and the Relief Society, and it has a remarkable influence among its physical attendees, amplified by the larger sessions being broadcast on BYU-TV and because Deseret Book issues a “greatest hits” compilation volume of talks from the conference each year. Given its quasi-official status, alongside Deseret Book’s touring production of regional women’s retreats, “Time Out for Women,” BYU Women’s Conference provides an important venue for devotional talks by and about women’s experiences in the Church. Many LDS women see both as “approved” forums and use them as a spiritual retreat.

However, BYU Women’s Conference is more like a business conference/trade show than an academic conference. Which got us wondering…

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Is McNaughton an Artist? Or, what I said on RadioWest

By March 30, 2012

[These are fleshed-out notes of what I shared on RadioWest on their show dedicated to Jon McNaughton’s paintings. As such, it’s pretty disjointed and should be read more as notes than an essay.

The audio for the interview can be found here. The first half is a fascinating interview with McNaughton; the portion where I come on, along with brilliant artis Adam Bateman, is shortly after the 25 minute mark.]

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