Folklore Society of Utah Annual Conference

By November 7, 2007

On Saturday, November 17 at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City, the Folklore Society of Utah will be hosting its Annual Conference.  The keynote speaker is William A. “Bert” Wilson, Emeritus professor of English at BYU and past president of the Association for Mormon Letters.  He will be speaking on “What’s True in Mormon Folklore?” The Contribution of Folklore to Mormon Studies.” 

In addition, two of our permabloggers–Stanley Thayne and Ben Park–will be presenting papers. Stan will be presenting a paper entitled, “‘Stranger than Fiction’: Remembering Marie Ogden and the Home of Truth”, which will address folklore surrounding Marie Ogden’s millennial, celibate, communal society in Depression-era southern Utah.  Ben’s paper will address “Perceptions of Polygamy: The Oral History of Plural Marriage.”  Ben’s research looks at a variety of folkloric explanations by Mormons today in reference to the reasons why plural marriage was practiced (and stopped) by the Latter-day Saints. 

I attended the conference last year, and enjoyed it quite a bit.  The folklore conference has much more of an informal, relaxed atmosphere than academic conferences I’ve attended.  It is much smaller in both the number of presenters and the size of the audience, meaning attendees don’t have to choose between break-out sessions.  I don’t remember the cost, but it was minimal and well-worth it.  If you’re in the area and don’t have plans, try and make it out to the conference.  Folklore provides a unique and important approach to Mormon studies, and you will no doubt enjoy yourself.  Below is the complete schedule:

Folklore Society of Utah Annual Meeting

November 17, 2007

Utah Cultural Celebration Center (Rooms 104-105)

9:30-10:00          Registration

10:00-10:15        Welcome; introductions & announcements: Michael Christiansen (FSU President/host)

10:15-11:15         Keynote Speaker: William A. “Bert” Wilson: What’s True in Mormon Folklore?: The Contribution of Folklore to Mormon Studies

11:15-11:30         Break

11:30-12:45         Student Panel: Moderator-David Allred (FSU Vice President)

  • Stanley J. Thayne: “Stranger Than Fiction”: Remembering Marie Ogden and the Home of Truth
  • Ben Park: Perceptions of Polygamy: The Oral History of Plural Marriage
  • Rajalekshmy Achath: “Lerala Thanima”: The True Malayali or the Very Private Space in a Diverse Public Sphere
  • Tammy Messick: Hmong Marketplace: Representations of the Homeland

12:45-2:00          Lunch (on site: pre-ordered box lunches, $6)

2:00-3:15            50th Anniversary Planning Meeting: Moderators-Polly Stewart & Elaine Thatcher

3:15-3:30           Break

3:30-4:30           Professional Session: Moderator-Lisa gabbert (FSU Sec. Treas.)

  • Polly Stewart
  • Randy Williams
  • Ronda Walker Weaver
  • Michael Christensen

4:30-5:30            FSU Business Meeting

5:30                    End


  1. Sounds like great fun. Wish I were in proximity to attend.

    Comment by J. Stapley — November 8, 2007 @ 10:40 am


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