MHA 2016 CFP: “Practice”

By June 10, 2015

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Mormon History Association 51st Annual Conference

Call for Papers

2016 Snowbird, Utah


The 51st annual meeting of the Mormon History Association will take place on June 9-12, 2016*. The conference theme is simple yet evocative: ?Practice.? The work of Mormon history in the past few decades has delved deeply into theological, institutional, and cultural research. And yet the richness of the lived realities of the Mormon experience begs to be uncovered in new ways that cut across these familiar categories. ?Practice,? in this sense, is used broadly in order to capture the dynamic participation of individual adherents within diverse strains of Mormonism throughout the past two centuries. Several decades-worth of scholarship in ?lived religion? provides the tools to capture these fresh perspectives. Mormonism?s distinctive religious morphology and substantial corpus of records creates a promising field for new theoretical understanding. What role does ?practice? play in Mormon religiosity? What is the relationship between hierarchical, correlated authority and grassroots implementation and innovation? How do Mormon practices change, evolve, and adapt over generations and throughout global communities? How are global Mormon religious norms shaped by indigenous culture in Salt Lake City, Kinshasa, or Manila?  

This year?s conference will be held in a beautiful resort location at Snowbird, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. The natural majesty and human comforts of the setting provoke additional questions about the relationship between Mormon practice and the natural environment. How have Mormon hands shaped the natural environment through drainage, migration, planting, irrigation, mining, building, and other physical manifestations of a religious project? What happens when Mormon spatial practices clash with those of others including native peoples, rival religions, or local neighborhoods? How do outdoor spaces figure in global Mormon life as a site for worship and ?wholesome recreation? such as lay preaching, cooking, Sunday school, ward activities, family outings, historic reenactment, and conspicuous consumption? These are among the many issues we hope will be addressed at next year?s conference, though we will also consider panels that cover a broad range of thematic topics.

A strong preference will be given to proposals for complete panels. Sessions including international presenters (in person or via teleconference), and creative formats such as roundtables, performances, film screenings, or other experimental arrangements, are especially encouraged. Submission of a paper or session proposal constitutes a strong commitment to participate in the conference if accepted. Please send 1) a 300 word abstract for each paper or presentation and 2) a brief 1-2 page CV for each presenter, including email contact information.  Session proposals should also include the session title and a 300 word session abstract, along with a confirmed chair and/or commentator, if applicable. Previously published papers are not eligible for presentation at MHA. An individual may only submit one proposal as a session presenter, although it is acceptable for a presenter in one session to be a chair or commentator in another. Limited financial assistance is available to some student presenters and presenters from less developed nations. Those who wish to apply for funding should include estimated travel expenses with their proposals.

The deadline for all proposals is October 1, 2015. Proposals should be sent by email to the program co-chairs, Melissa Inouye and Benjamin Park, at mhaconference2016 AT gmail DOT com. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made by December 15, 2015.


MHA 2016 Snowbird, Utah Committee

Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye, University of Auckland, Co-Chair

Benjamin E. Park, University of Missouri, Co-Chair


Gina Colvin, University of Canterbury

Jared Hickman, Johns Hopkins University

Janelle Higbee, Independent Scholar

Robin Jensen, LDS Church History Library

Mauro Properzi, Brigham Young University

Natalie Rose, Michigan State University

Christine Talbot, University of Northern Colorado

Chrystal Vanel, Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (GSRL), Paris, France


*Note that the date that was printed in the 2015 Conference Program was incorrect.

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