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Conference/Presentation Reports

Art + Belief: #MHA50 Session Preview

By May 31, 2015


A+B_filmThe sixties beget all kinds of social experiments, and even Mormons were not immune to the call of the bohemian zeitgeist of their times. It may interest you to know that in the late 1960s there was an artists’ commune in the foothills of Alpine, Utah, calling themselves the Art & Belief Movement. Four artists – sculptor Neil Hadlock, figurative artist Dennis Smith, symbolist realist Gary Ernest Smith, and romantic realist Trevor Southey – and their families formed the core of the group. Though as transitory as many hippie communes of the era, this Mormon version is worth a closer look.

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A More Diverse Mormon History Association, or How the 2014 Tanner Lecture Has Haunted Me Since June

By September 15, 2014


I?d like to offer some thoughts I?ve had on Jehu J. Hanciles? Tanner Lecture at the 2014 meeting of the Mormon History Association. During his lecture, Professor Hanciles, a Professor of Global Christianity at Emory University, shared his research on the growth of Mormonism in Africa.

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CFP: 2015 Faith & Knowledge Conference

By July 16, 2014


We’re pleased to announce the Fifth Biennial Faith & Knowledge Conference, to be held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville on February 27 and 28, 2015, and to post the Call for Papers below. Please note that, unlike previous years, the conference is now officially open to LDS graduate students and early career scholars in religious studies and related academic disciplines interested in the intersections of scholarship and religious faith. Three members of this year’s committee (Rachael Givens Johnson, Joseph Stuart, and Christopher Jones) are all bloggers here at the Juvenile Instructor; please contact us if you have any questions.  

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THE FIFTH BIENNIAL FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE CONFERENCE

University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
February 27-28, 2015

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Thoughts on MHA: Mormon History, Succeeding Generations of Scholars, and the Need to Move Forward Together

By June 16, 2014


At the Mormon History Association?s meetings two weeks ago (was it only two weeks ago?!), I attended several excellent sessions and roundtables. Each of the sessions I attended was worth the price of the conference registration?it was my favorite MHA I?ve attended so far. As usual, meals, hall conversations, and the student reception provided an excellent arena for sharing ideas about the research being presented, but also about the new developments in Mormon history and American religious history.

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Elegy for Missing Data, in Advance

By January 13, 2014


Or: All Web is Not Created Equal, have you noticed?

One of the sessions I attended at the AHA this month was Session 151, Social Media and History. It featured one of our JIers, Max Mueller, talking about tensions and complications in the church’s “I am a Mormon” campaign, including the fascinating case of one woman whose tattoos were airbrushed out of her profile pic (her profile is now gone, for other reasons). Great talk, by the way, along with several others that reflected on the ethical and methodological problems of using social media as historical sources for researching marginalized groups or threatened voices. In each of the presentations — Max’s on constructing Mormon online “diversity,” Jessica Lingel’s on underground music scenes, Sadaf Jaffer’s on online discussion boards for Pakistani atheists, and Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa’s on sites made by and about Tibetans — the very existence of the sites to begin with, and especially their continued life on the web, is inherently unstable. It was actually a rather terrifying session, like watching 4 canaries in a coal mine (Hey! There’s a pocket of air over here! Oh wait, never mind).

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Mormon Studies at AAR-SBL

By November 16, 2013


Next weekend, tens of thousands of scholars of religion will come together in Baltimore, Maryland, for the joint annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. You could review the full program book for each group, but we thought we’d save you some time and trouble by providing a round-up of sessions and papers of interest to the Mormon Studies community. I have highlighted the JI affiliation of specific panelists. We hope to see many of you there!

For more information on any of the panels and papers listed below, including abstracts and the location of the presentations, please visit the official conference program books.

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Mormon History at the Western History Association

By October 24, 2013


With Andrea R-M

Earlier this month, the Western History Association met in Tucson, Arizona. As always, there was great scholarship, great conversation, and even great Mormon history, with papers by JIers.

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JWHA Call for Papers

By October 18, 2013


From our good friends at the John Whitmer Historical Association:

42nd Annual Meeting: Lamoni, Iowa?September 25?28, 2014
CALL FOR PAPERS?Sacred Places and Zionic Communities: The Ideals and Realities of the Restoration

ZION, GATHERING, SIGNAL COMMUNITIES, REFUGE, NEW JERUSALEM, CONSECRATION, UNITED ORDER ? all have been used to describe the communalist thought that underpins the ideals of many of the Latter Day Saint denominations. Joseph Smith?s history with communalism is mixed. After his death, several leaders attempted to reinstitute communalism in various forms. In the Midwest, Strang gathered his followers at Voree and then Beaver Island. In Iowa, Charles B. Thompson gathered his followers to Preparation. Although not yet practicing consecration, Alpheus Cutler?s followers gathered at Manti, Iowa, then moved to Minnesota, finally to Independence, Missouri?where many of the members lived the law of consecration.

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Mormon Studies Weekly Roundup (Inaugural Edition)

By August 11, 2013


Welcome to the inaugural installment of our new regular feature, Mormon Studies Weekly Roundup, which will appear each Sunday morning and consist of links to news and interesting items related to the study of Mormon history and culture. JI bloggers will take turn curating the post each week, and although we’re casting the net fairly wide here, the content posted will likely reflect that individual’s own interests. We don’t necessarily expect a lot of discussion to show up in the comments of these posts, though you are more than welcome to comment on any of the linked content and encouraged to post links to any relevant news items we might have missed. Thanks for reading!

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We’ll start with links to summaries of the two Mormon Studies conferences held last weekend in the Beehive State: FAIR (ably summarized by speed-typist Blair Hodges in a two part series at the Maxwell Institute Blog here and here) and Sunstone (reported on in the City Weekly here). If there other worthwhile reports of either, please do post links to them in the comments (especially if they report on the more scholarly papers presented at either).

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Conference Report: Society for the History of Childhood and Youth

By July 2, 2013


Last week I was finally able to attend the biennial conference for the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth (SHCY). I have been eager to attend this conference for a few years. This year the conference was held at the University of Nottingham, which allowed the Society to highlight its international focus.

I noticed several themes throughout the panel that I thought could enhance the study of children and religion?and in specific case, Mormonism. Before going any further, it would be remiss not to point out Rebecca de Schweinitz?s article on the historiography of Mormon childhood in the Spring 2012 issue of the Journal of Mormon History, which provides a detailed overview of work on Mormon children, childhood, and youth to the recent present.[1] De Schweinitz was also a founding member of SHCY when it first began in the early 2000s.

The first thematic question that drew my attention was

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