THE ARRINGTON CHAIR: A Reflection on What Could Go into Selecting a Mormon Studies Chair

By November 8, 2018


We’re happy to welcome friend of the Juvenile Instructor, Chris Blythe.

Christopher James Blythe is a Research Associate at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. He is a graduate of the Religious Studies program at Utah State University and previously held a predoctoral teaching fellowship in the department.

 

Over the next few weeks, the three finalists for the Leonard J. Arrington Chair in Mormon History and Culture will have visited Utah State University and soon thereafter the hiring committee will make their decision. Their choice will have a far-reaching impact on the Religious Studies program there and, also, because of the legitimacy and funding that such a hire bestows, on the field of Mormon Studies at large. Currently, there are Mormon Studies chairs at Utah State University (est. 2006), Claremont Graduate University (est. 2008), and the University of Virginia

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Job Ad: Folklore Archives Specialist at Harold B. Lee Library

By November 5, 2018


From our friends at the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT:

Job Summary:

The mission of the Folklore Archives Specialist is to 1) identify and acquire, 2) describe and organize, and 3) provide reference service for the folklore materials held in the William A. Wilson Folklore Archives within the L. Tom Perry Special Collections.

Essential functions (include, but are not limited to):

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MWHIT Lecture: Colleen McDannell on Mormon Women since the End of Polygamy

By November 4, 2018


The Mormon Women’s History Initiative Team has asked Colleen McDannell to speak and answer questions on her new book, Sister Saints: Mormon Women since the End of Polygamy, on Thursday, November 8. 2018 at the University of Utah. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend!


Mormon Exorcism: Two Articles and a Podcast Episode

By October 29, 2018


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.

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CFP: Wallace Stegner and the Changing American West

By October 25, 2018


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.

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Rachel Gross Lecture at University of Utah

By October 22, 2018


This is not strictly Mormon history related, but many who are interested in Mormon history will want to hear Dr. Gross speak. Join us!

The Rocky Mountain American Religion Seminar will host Rachel Gross on November 1, 2018 at the University of Utah. She will deliver a lecture on Genealology and American Jewish Religion. 

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Women in the Academy: Farina King

By October 22, 2018


Biography

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.

Courtesy farinaking.com

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From the Archives: Leonard Arrington on the Most Needed Studies in Mormon History

By October 17, 2018


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

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Seminar Workshop Hosted by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University (June 3-5, 2019 )

By October 16, 2018


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.   

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Review: Stone, William Bickerton: Forgotten Latter Day Prophet (Signature 2018)

By October 15, 2018


Christopher James Blythe is a Research Associate in Book of Mormon Studies at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. He is a documentary editor/historian for Joseph Smith Papers: Documents, Vols. 7, 9, and 12. Blythe is also the Associate Editor of the Journal of Mormon History.

Daniel Stone’s William Bickerton: Forgotten Latter Day Prophet is a biography of a significant nineteenth century Latter Day Saint “prophet, seer, and revelator.” It is largely a religious story, as much about the founding of a church, the Church of Jesus Christ, as it is the life of a man. One of Signature Books’ most significant contributions to the field of Mormon Studies has been its publication of scholarship on non-LDS Restoration traditions. Previous examples have included Vickie Cleverley Speek’s “God Has Made Us a Kingdom”: James Strang and the Midwest Mormons (2006), Will Shepard and H. Michael Marquardt’s Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism’s Original Quorum of the Twelve (2014), Richard S. Van Wagoner’s Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess (1994), and Victoria D. Burgess’s The Midwife: A Biography of Laurine Ekstrom Kingston (2012). These well-researched studies have added to our knowledge of fascinating but (unfortunately) obscure communities and individuals. Stone’s volume rightfully belongs on this list and admirably fills out some of the gaps in our collective knowledge. This volume is particularly significant as the first full-length academic study written by a Bickertonite scholar with interested outsiders in mind. It is exciting to see the contingent of Mormon Studies scholars whose numbers largely consist of LDS and Community of Christ scholars (with the occasional Strangite and Fundamentalist) add another unique voice to the conversation.

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