Editor, Joseph Smith Papers Project-Church History Department
ID# 106611, Type: Full-Time – Regular
USA – UT – Salt Lake City (more…)
By Cassandra Clark
Beginning in 2008, staff at the American West Center of the University of Utah, the Marriot Library, Utah’s Division of Indian Affairs, and the Department of Heritage and Arts worked together to create the Utah American Indian Digital Archive (UAIDA). This keyword searchable online digital archive contains primary and secondary sources pertaining to Utah’s American Indian Peoples. The archive offers tribal members, professional researchers, and patrons the opportunity to participate in Utah’s diverse and interesting history by viewing digital copies of documents, photographs, maps, and recordings and transcripts of oral histories. The collection contains sources relating to the Northwestern Shoshone, Goshute, Paiute, Utah Navajo, White Mesa, and Ute Indians to offer a wide selection of resources to educate patrons about Utah’s complex cultural past.
For the past several months, the JI has sponsored various theme months, allowing permas and guests to ruminate on such topics as politics, the international church, and material culture. November is Native American Heritage Month, which was first promoted in the Progressive Era by reform-minded Indians to recognize the contributions of Natives to the development of the United States. As in the case of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, we at the JI believe that Natives are an intricate part of Mormon history, rather than a sub-topic only worthy of discussion once a year, but we also see the value in focusing our thoughts at this time in conjunction with Native American Heritage Month. This month’s editors, David G., Amanda, and Farina, have assembled an all-star cast of guest bloggers, who will share fascinating insights from their research, alongside contributions from permas. The editors have also put together some brief thoughts on their areas of expertise for this introductory post.
Mormonism’s Encounters with Native America in the 19th Century (David G.)
From the earliest days of Mormonism, indigenous peoples were central to Joseph Smith’s vision of the future. (more…)
Welcome to the Mormon Studies Weekly Roundup! Let’s get down to business.
The ever-insightful Jana Reiss recently published an article with Publishers Weekly, where she attempts to quantify the extent of Mormon Studies publishing. In a teaser posted on her blog, she reports that, while many presses struggle just to break even on most academic books, Mormon tomes tend to outpace expectations. An average (non-Mormon) book has to sell more than 1,500 copies just to stay out of the red. John Turner’s award-winning biography of Brigham Young, put out by Harvard University Press, sold an eye-popping 10,000 copies during its first year in print. Oxford University Press told Jana that the Mormon Studies category in its catalog is easily in the top three in terms of sales, with Massacre at Mountain Meadows ranking in the press’s top ten best sellers in the overall Religion category over the last two decades. Jana doesn’t provide a number for copies sold, but knowledgeable observers associated with the JI suggest that it exceeds 65,000. Although Jana doesn’t address it in her blog post, the number of mid-tier presses trying to get into the Mormon Studies market is also increasing (I’ll defer to Ben, the JI’s resident Mormon Studies watcher, to provide a list in the comments section). This week’s announcement of Fairleigh Dickenson University’s new Mormon Studies series demonstrates this. (more…)
(Cross-posted at By Common Consent.)
Did you hear? Mormon studies is so hot right now. This semester witnessed the start of the Richard Lyman Bushman Chair in Mormon Studies at the University of Virginia (held by Kathleen Flake), next month will see the innaugural issue of the newly re-launched Mormon Studies Review (be very, very excited), and several new and exciting books are about to hit the shelves. And all this on top of the other Mormon studies programs that have been launched and the flood of excellent books that have been published in the last few years.
And now, there is a new book series at an unexpected university press. (more…)
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. (more…)
Another week, another list of links from the world of Mormon Studies. Let’s get started:
Those of you who enjoyed last month’s series of posts on material culture will want to read Rachel McBride Lindsey’s post at Religion in American History on a recently-rediscovered quilt auctioned off at her grandmother’s childhood church (Tabernacle Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri). Lindsey concludes:
My grandmother was a small child in 1938 and her memories of the quilt are probably more collective than personal. The quilt is not a proxy of material culture—that capacious category assigned to the stuff we designate as somehow meriting sustained inquiry—and neither is it a proxy of the tiny hands that have grown soft and arthritic, or the many other hands that stitched hundreds of names and sewed its patches into a single tapestry. It is not an unmediated connection to the past, but it is a connection whose twines are composed of threads and stories. Itself a patchwork, it asks us to piece together not only the history of the church and the ownership of the quilt, but also the many other histories of which it is a part.
Another non-Mormon post of potential interest to JI readers is Ken Owen’s thoughts on historical heroes over at The Junto. His concluding thoughts are certainly relevant to readers of Mormon history: “I’ll keep my heroes, for without them, I’d begin to wonder why history mattered at all. But I’ll remember that heroism is also a mug’s game, and I’ll do my best to keep my eyes open to the broader questions—good and bad—raised by the lives of those I admire.” (more…)
As crazy as it sounds, the year is coming to a close. Fall Semester is well underway (except out here in Cambridge where it is only beginning), the leaves are changing colors, and my bike ride is getting colder. Also, MHA just released its fourth and final newsletter for the year, so it’s time to keep our tradition alive of highlighting news-y things for our audience. In the words of The O’Jays and, more recently, Jalen Rose, we “gotta give the people what they want!” (more…)
The JI is pleased to announce that Farina King has agreed to join the JI full-time. See here for her fantastic guest post on the Miss Indian BYU pageant. Here is her extended bio:
Bilagáana nish?? dóó Kiyaa’áanii báshíshchíín. Bilagáana dashicheii dóó Tsinaajinii dashinálí. In Navajo, we always introduce ourselves by our four clans. We are born to our mother and her clan, and we are born for our fathers and their clan. Navajos are a matrilineal society, so the clans represent the maternal family lines. We then introduce the clans of our maternal grandfather and paternal grandfather. I am “Bilagáana” (Euro-American), born for “Kiyaa’áanii” (the Towering House Clan) of the Diné (Navajo). My maternal grandfather was Euro-American, and my paternal grandfather was “Tsinaajinii” (Black-streaked Woods People Clan) of the Diné. (more…)
Our good friends at BYU’s Department of Church History and Doctrine are looking for another recruit. Find full information and the application here. Relevant details are below. (more…)
The International Church:
Mormonism as a Global Religion
BYU CHURCH HISTORY SYMPOSIUM
March 6–7, 2014
Jointly Sponsored by
The Department of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University, and
The Church History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The biggest Mormon studies news this week is either that: A) the American Bible Society still exists, and also that 47% of Americans, according to the still-existing American Bible Society, believe that the Book of Mormon and Bible “teach the same spiritual truths.”
Or, B) That TLC is going to grace us with another reality show about a polygamous family.
Shut down the presses, everybody. (more…)
The University of Virginia announced this week that Kathleen Flake will be the inaugural Richard L. Bushman Chair for Mormon Studies in UVA’s Religious Studies Department (that’s a lot of capital letters!).
Professor Flake’s academic credentials are impressive. She received her undergraduate degree in English at BYU and her J.D. from the University of Utah Law School. She received her M.A. from Catholic University of American in Religious Studies, and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Professor Flake has spent the past thirteen years at Vanderbilt teaching American Religious History. Her first book, The Politics of Religious Identity: the Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle, is well regarded in non-Mormon and Mormon circles alike. The American Historical Review proclaimed of Flake, “no more sophisticated mind has turned its attention to the history of the Latter-day Saints.”[i] (more…)
On Wednesday, September 4, 2013, the Joseph Smith Papers Project hosted a launch party for journalists and bloggers to introduce the Documents Series, which will serve as the chronological backbone of the project. Previously, the project has released volumes from Journals Series (2), the Revelations and Translations Series (2, plus an oversized facsimile volume), and the Histories Series (2). The first volume of the Documents Series reproduces in chronological order all of Joseph Smith’s papers from July 1828 to June 1831, beginning with the earliest extant recorded revelation (D&C 3) and concluding with the historic church conference where the high priesthood (that is, the office of high priest) was restored. This was a foundational period in Mormon history, tracking the translation of the Book of Mormon, the recording of the first revelations, the organization of the church, the mission to the “Lamanites,” the beginning of Joseph Smith’s revisions of the Bible, and the beginnings of the first two gathering places of the church–Kirtland and Independence. The editors–Mike Mackay, Gerrit Dirkmaat, Grant Underwood, Bob Woodford, and Bill Hartley, along with other smart people at the JSPP who also contributed–contextualized these issues in commendable fashion. Although images and transcriptions of these documents have been available on the JSPP website for some time, the “value added” of the JSPP editors’ introductions and annotations is well worth paying for the print volume. (more…)
We’re thrilled to present the following Q&A with historian John Fea. Dr. Fea is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. He is the author and editor of several books, including The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction (Westminster/John Knox Press, 2011), and Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), which he co-edited with Jay Green and Eric Miller. His latest book, Why Study History? Reflecting on the Importance of the Past (Baker Academic, 2013) is scheduled to be released in two weeks. Dr. Fea is currently at work on two book projects—a religious history of the American Revolution and one on history and memory in the town of Greenwich, NJ. In addition to his scholarly output, John is a prodigious blogger, a tireless traveler and dynamic speaker (check out that list—chances are he’ll be in your general neck of the woods at some point), Bruce Springsteen devotee, avid sports fan, and 2010 inductee to the Montville High School (NJ) Hall of Fame. By nearly all accounts, he is also an incredibly nice guy.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Fea!
There are now only 34 days before proposals for the 2014 Mormon History Association Conference are due. The call for papers is below, with a few sections bolded with particularly important points. In addition to those bolded sections, please use the comments section to find potential panel partners for MHA. You should also follow the Mormon History Association (and The Juvenile Instructor!) on Twitter on Facebook.
Twitter: MHA and Juvenile Instructor
Facebook sites: MHA, MHA Student Page and Juvenile Instructor
Now for the call for papers!
The Immigration of Cosmopolitan Thought
The 49th annual conference of the Mormon History Association will be held in San Antonio, Texas, on June 5-8, 2014 at the Crown Plaza Riverwalk Hotel. Our theme emphasizes the interplay between Mormonism and broad national and international currents and forces. San Antonio, a cosmopolitan, historically Catholic borderlands city with a vibrant but contested multicultural history and a relatively small but expanding Mormon presence, is a good place to explore the immigration and impact of cosmopolitan viewpoints and ideas. We encourage papers that connect all branches of the Restoration to diverse theoretical, intellectual and cultural perspectives, as well as papers that examine the interplay between Mormonism and other religions. Texas, a state with a reputation for confidant swagger and independent thought, is also a bastion of conservative moral conviction. We encourage papers that explore how Mormons have negotiated an identity and thrived in vast settings with firmly entrenched worldviews where they have comprised small, sometimes maligned minorities. As a state that straddles the boundary between the American South and the American West and shares a border with Mexico, Texas is an ideal setting for papers that probe the Mormon past in those regions as well as in Central and South America. Finally, with the Alamo standing in its heart, San Antonio is a good place for conference papers that consider the interplay between history and memory. Sharply contested interpretations of what happened at the Alamo in 1836 remind us of the importance of framing key events in Mormon history from a variety of perspectives.
MHA invites proposals for complete panel sessions and other presentations. The Program Committee will give preference to complete two- or three-paper session proposals. Individual paper proposals will also be considered, as well as formats like round-table discussions, readers’ theaters, and film screenings. Please send a title and abstract for each paper (300 words maximum) outlining the scope, key arguments or hypotheses and sources of the paper along with a brief 1-2 page CV for each speaker. Panel proposals should also include a brief abstract outlining the panel’s theme and giving it a title, along with suggestions for a chair and commentator. Previously published papers will not be considered. Student presenters who wish to apply for financial assistance are invited to include estimated travel expenses with their proposals.
The deadline for all proposals is October 1, 2013. Proposals should be sent by email to email@example.com. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made by January 1, 2014. For additional information on the conference, please consult the MHA website at http://www.mormonhistoryassociation.org/.
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!
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). (more…)
In just less than three months (on October 26, to be precise), the Juvenile Instructor will mark its sixth anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, we will be rolling out a few changes over the course of the next few months—some cosmetic, some content. (more…)
“Seventy years ago this Church was organized with six members. We commenced, so to speak, as an infant…We advanced into boyhood, and still we undoubtedly made some mistakes, which did not generally arise from a design to make them, but from a lack of experience…Yet as we advanced the experience of the past materially assisted us to avoid such mistakes as we had made in our boyhood. But now we are pretty well along to manhood; we are seventy years of age, and one would imagine that after a man had lived through his infancy, through his boyhood, and on until he had arrived at the age of seventy years, he would be able, through his long experience, to do a great many things that seemed impossible and in fact were impossible for him to do in his boyhood state…While we congratulate ourselves in this direction…There are many things for us to do yet.” (more…)
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The Historic Sites Division within the Church History Department seeks qualified applicants for the following positions:
Position: Historic Sites Curator – Building Conservator (more…)