With Halloween this week, I thought it would be fun to highlight some work on a spooky topic. In the past year, scholars have published two excellent articles on exorcism in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve included them below and a link to a podcast by Blair Hodges and the Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship featuring Stephen Taysom.
I have spoken with Amanda Hendrix-Komoto of Montana State University, and she encouraged me to tell everyone that the proposals do not have to focus on Wallace Stegner. Instead, her department is hoping that the received proposals will take a theme from Stegner’s work – family, community, etc. – and examine it in a way that goes beyond Stegner’s original vision of the West.
Wallace Stegner and the Changing American West: Reimagining Place, Region, Nation, and Globe in an Era of Instability -A Call for Papers and Other Creative Work-
Center for Western Lands and Peoples Wallace Stegner Chair in Western American Studies College of Letters and Science / Montana State University, Bozeman
By the time of his death, Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) had
become the epitome of the politically engaged western American writer able to
express himself across a range of genres, from fiction to history,
autobiography, and essays. In books such as The Big Rock Candy Mountain,
Wolf Willow, Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, Angle of Repose
(Pulitzer Prize), and The American West as Living Space, Stegner brought
to life and illuminated the West like few other authors. Of uppermost concern
to Stegner were issues of transiency and community, landscape quality and
degradation, family life, the importance of place, and the need for ways of
living that foster stable social bonds and stable economies within the
realities and constraints of western environments.
Bilagáanaa niliigo’ dóó Kinyaa’áanii yásh’chíín. Bilagáanaa dabicheii dóó Tsinaajinii dabinálí. Ákót’éego diné asdzá̹á̹ nilí̹. Farina King is “Bilagáanaa” (EuroAmerican), born for “Kinyaa’áanii” (the Towering House Clan) of the Diné (Navajo). Her maternal grandfather was EuroAmerican, and her paternal grandfather was “Tsinaajinii” (Blackstreaked Woods People Clan) of the Diné. She is Assistant Professor of History and an affiliate of the Cherokee and Indigenous Studies Department at Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She received her Ph.D. in History at Arizona State University.
She was the 2016-2017 David J. Weber Fellow for the Study of Southwestern America at the Clements Centers for Southwest Studies of Southern Methodist University. She was the 20152016 Charles Eastman Dissertation Fellow at Dartmouth College. She received her M.A. in African History from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. from Brigham Young University with a double major in History and French Studies. Her main area of research is colonial and postcolonial Indigenous Studies, primarily Indigenous experiences of colonial and boarding school education. Her first book was published by the University Press of Kansas, in October 2018, which is titled The Earth Memory Compass: Diné Landscapes and Education in the Twentieth Century. In this book, she explores how historical changes in education shaped Diné collective identity and community by examining the interconnections between Navajo students, their people, and Diné Bikéyah (Navajo lands). The study relies on Diné historical frameworks, mappings of the world, and the Four Sacred Directions.
This list comes from the Leonard Arrington Papers at Utah State University. It’s fascinating to see how far the historical professions has gone–can you imagine writing a thesis or dissertation on the LDS Church in all of South America(!!)? It’s amazing to see how specialized things have become, but also how Mormon the theses are. I’m not sure that writing something on the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, without using it as a lens to examine something else, would be encouraged today for aspiring academics.
HISTORICAL DEPARTMENT OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
TWENTY-SIX MOST URGENTLY NEEDED THESES IN LDS CHURCH HISTORY
In the last decades of the twentieth century, New Western historians grappled
with conceptions of the “Modern” West, encouraging scholars to investigate the
region’s history up to the present. They held debates, panels, and
conferences on modern American West topics to discuss their findings and
publish them in articles, anthologies, and monographs. Several decades have
elapsed since those shockable discussions and path-breaking publications
appeared. In the interceding decades, the region has continued to evolve. It is
time for Western scholars to gather again and consider how the “Modern” West
has changed in the 21st century.
To facilitate this effort, the Charles a Redd Center for Western Studies at
Brigham Young University will host a workshop seminar (tentatively scheduled)
on June 3-5, 2019 entitled “New Modern Histories of the 21st Century
West.” We solicit proposals from historians and scholars who will author
article-length essays and gather at BYU campus to workshop them together. Those
essays will subsequently be edited and published as an anthology. All
historical sub fields are welcome. The geographic scope of the “Modern West” is
broadly defined to include the western states and provinces of the United
States and Canada, adjacent borderlands, and areas such as Alaska, Hawai’i.
There’s been a recent turn in book history. Early historians and scholars of the book looked to the way printed textual media was accomplished. But then scholars began to analyze the life-cycle of the book. Books are, after all, written by authors, printed by printers, sold by colporteurs, and read by readers. This approach to the book as artifact illustrates how each group interacts with books and the book trade. More recently, scholars have looked to the ways each individual involved in the book trade reflects and shapes the culture that produced it. Book history thus has become a study of culture.
Unfortunately, Mormon history rarely attracts historians of the Book. Peter Crawley, David Whittaker, and Paul C. Gutjahr are the major exceptions to a relative anemic output of scholarship relating to the study of Latter-day Saint culture and the printed word it produced. Janiece Johnson’s recent article, “Becoming a People of the Books: Toward an Understanding of Early Mormon Converts and the New Word of the Lord,” published in the latest Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, is a breath of fresh air. Johnson’s article adds a corrective of the Book of Mormon’s place within the church. For those who want to argue that the Book of Mormon was rarely read, cited, or that it was simply a sign of Joseph Smith’s prophetic call, Johnson shows just how quickly and effectively the Book of Mormon seeped into the growing culture of the church.
I’ve recently begun reading every academic or quasi-academic article on the history of the LDS Church’s research restriction as a part of my work on the Century of Black Mormons Project and my own research on the history of Mormonism and race. I’m learning a lot about the ways that the restriction has been framed, how white academics wrote about the history of Black people in Mormonism, and am formulating bigger research questions on secularism, modernity, and authority. More on those topics another day, or in my dissertation.
Thanks to friend of JI, Carter Charles, for sending this:
Following a pattern of itinerant preachers, inherited from the Second Great Awakening context from which their religion emerged, and from New Testament proselytes, Mormon missionaries began as early as June 1830 to go on missions. First, they traveled within the United States and Canada; then, looking beyond North America, they began to take their religion across the world starting with a mission to England as early as 1837.
Thanks to Caroline Kline, Research Assistant Professor at Claremont Graduate University for passing this along to us!
The Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University is now funding research grants for people studying global Mormonism.
While they will be accepting proposals for the next few months, they will be giving preference to proposals we receive by the end of October. Our hope is to see significant progress on funded projects by April 2019. We are interested in helping to fund projects that are already underway, as well as new projects.
Please see the call for proposals HERE, and contact Caroline if you have any questions.