17th Annual Arrington Lecture-Richard V. Francaviglia on “Orientalism and the Mormon Experience, 1820-1970?

By August 28, 2011

From the event announcement at USU.

Richard V. Francaviglia, a former university professor and administrator, now an independent consultant and researcher, has been selected to present the 17th annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture.

The Arrington Mormon History Lecture is an annual event hosted by Utah State University?s Special Collections and Archives. The lecture is sponsored by Special Collections and Archives, USU?s University Libraries, the Leonard J. Arrington Lecture and Archives Foundation, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Utah State University.

The lecture is free and open to the public and includes a writing competition for the region?s university students.

Francaviglia presents ??Like the Hajis of Meccah and Jerusalem? ? Orientalism and the Mormon Experience, 1820-1970? Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Logan LDS Tabernacle, 50 N. Main. The lecture begins at 7 p.m.

?Dr. Francaviglia is a cultural geographer who has long studied the Western landscape and Western development,? said Brad Cole, associate dean for Special Collections and Archives, USU University Libraries. ?His dissertation and first monograph were about the ?look? of the Mormon landscape and he?s had a long interest in Utah.?

Cole said Francaviglia brings a different perspective to the topic of Mormon and Western history.

?He is very visually oriented,? Cole said. ?I think his lecture will be quite enticing and different.?

Special Collections and Archives and USU?s University Libraries house the personal and historical collections of the late Leonard J. Arrington, renowned scholar of the American West. As part of that gift to the university, Arrington requested that the historical collection also become the focus for an annual lecture on an aspect of Mormon history. Honoring that request, the Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture series was established in 1985.

Through its evolution, the Arrington lecture has become a popular and successful event.

?The Arrington lecture series has been highly successful over the years,? Cole said. ?We?ve attracted top flight scholars from across the country to present the lecture. These individuals have included established names in the field of Mormon studies, plus scholars who are working on ground-breaking research.?

Over the years, the program has grown into an annual community lecture that attracts hundreds, Cole said.

Each year, the nine-member Arrington lecture board meets to select a speaker.

?We usually look at someone who is doing outstanding scholarly work in Mormon history,? Cole said. ?Possible speakers are nominated and a discussion follows. We try to bring a speaker from outside the immediate region at least every other year.?

Francaviglia, the 2011 lecturer, became professor emeritus of history and geography at the University of Texas at Arlington in 2008. He is especially interested in the way cultures and places change through time and how that change is depicted in maps, literature, art and film. He now represents Geo-Graphic Designs in Salem, Ore., where he conducts private research and helps organizations develop proposals and secure outside funding for innovative projects. He recently began teaching courses in religious studies at Willamette University in Oregon.

As an author, Fracaviglia has penned ten books, and three ? The Mormon Landscape (1979), Believing in Place (2003) and Go East, Young Man: Imagining the American West as the Orient (2011) ? address the important role played by religion.

For information about the Arrington Lecture, contact Special Collections and Archives, (435) 797-2663.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. Looking forward to it!

    Comment by Ryan Roos — August 28, 2011 @ 10:32 pm


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