The following message is from our friends at The Mormon History Association:
Have you reserved your room yet for the fast-approaching MHA conference? MHA has arranged for a discounted room rate of just $99/night at the conference hotel, the Provo Marriott. Call 801-377-4700 to make your reservations. Be sure to mention MHA to receive the group rate. If you are interested in finding a roommate to share the cost of the room, send us an email to email@example.com and we’ll assist you. Type “room share” in the email’s subject line when you contact us.
$99 for a Marriott room is a fantastic bargain—if you don’t have accommodations arranged, please take advantage of this deal. Then you don’t have to worry about driving home from the conference at night, driving to the conference in the morning, or the burden of forgetting something important in your hotel room. If costs are an issue, there are many folks looking to share a room to defer costs. Be sure to take advantage of the MHA’s offer to line you up with a roommate who is as interested in Mormon History as you are!
You can also view the final program for the conference here: MHA Program-Final. See you in Provo!
This post kicks off the first annual JI Summer Book Club. This year we are reading Richard Bushman’s landmark biography of Mormonism founder, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). JI bloggers will be covering several small chunks of the book (typically 2-3 chapters) in successive weeks from now through the summer. New posts will appear on Monday mornings. We begin today with the Prologue, which sets the tone in several important respects for the rest of the book, and Chapters 1 (“The Joseph Smith Family: To 1816″) and 2 (“The First Visions: 1816-1827″). We invite anyone and everyone interested to join along. Please use the comment section on each post to post your own reflections and commentary on the chapters under consideration and ask questions.
I first read Rough Stone Rolling (RSR) when it was first released in 2005. I was an undergraduate history major at the time, a recently-returned Mormon missionary, and an avid if novice and somewhat naïve student of Mormon history. Bushman’s biography was not my introduction to the scholarly study of Joseph Smith or Mormon history, but it still threw me for something of a loop, challenging many of the assumptions of my faith-promoting worldview. Nevertheless, I pushed through and finished the book. I next read it three years later, in a reading seminar in BYU’s now-defunct MA program in history. My familiarity with both Mormon and American religious history more broadly was deeper by then, and reading the book alongside both an experienced historian and several budding young scholars made the book both more familiar and yet so foreign from my initial reading. That a book reads differently to the same individual at different stages in her life is a truism of nearly all books, but it is especially true in reading Rough Stone Rolling. (more…)
A few Mormon studies-related links from around the internet over the last (couple) week(s):
Seth Perry authored a provocative review essay of Terryl Givens’s Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Reflecting on the book’s “emphatically male framing,” Perry examines it against the backdrop of contemporary Mormon debates over sex roles:
Wrestling the Angel is a comprehensive synthesis of Mormon theology. It’s not specifically about the theological particulars that undergird the Church’s increasingly unpopular sexual politics. Right now, however, those particulars are what people are interested in, and Givens’s struggle with them is emblematic of his Church’s current predicament. In a different era, a cogent, explicitely Christian synthesis of Mormon theology such as this one would have performed an apologetic purpose, giving Mormon thought the dignity it deserves. Nowadays, though, Mormon thought largely has that dignity. What readers both inside and outside the Church wonder about now is why it is so closely associated with an understanding of sex and gender that many find backward. The theological answers presented here are haunted by political questions.
A recent episode of Backstory with the American History Guys on “island hopping” included some discussion of James Strang and Beaver Island. Elsewhere on the radio, Doug Fabrizio discussed age and leadership in the LDS Church with scholars Richard Bushman and Greg Prince. Bushman, along with his wife and fellow scholar Claudia, were interviewed over at Past is Present, the official blog of the American Antiquarian Society, where the Bushmans have spent the year as Distinguished Scholars in Residence. Two excerpts of interest:
Past is Present: Richard, same question for you. How do you first become interested in a project? You have two strains in your work, one on American life and culture more generally and one on Joseph Smith and Mormonism.
RB: It’s that double life that lies behind this project. I’m basically an early American historian, but from time to time I’ve been asked to do something on Mormonism, so I got involved in writing about Joseph Smith. As I was looking for a new project on the early American history side, I thought I ought to do something that would interact with the work I was doing on Joseph Smith. His family were farmers, so I thought, “Well, I’ll see what I can find out about farmers.” And it worked out well. The two halves fed into each other. I use the Joseph Smith example, his family, in the farm work and the other way around.
Past is Present: I guess one more question. If there’s one book that you could write that you haven’t written yet, what would it be? One topic that you would love to cover.
CB: Well, I have two projects. One is [an oral history project on Mormon women]. The other one is my autobiography. I’m doing this for lots of reasons, but one is that women don’t write their autobiographies and they always apologize for doing it. They say, “I wouldn’t have done this, but my children, my neighbors asked me.” Because that’s the way we feel. Women shouldn’t, we’re just not important enough to write about ourselves. So I decided that that would be one of my final women’s studies projects, that I would tell my own story, and I’m about halfway done with it, I guess. I have plenty more to do. Seeing as I was not apologizing for it, I would give it an in-your-face title. So the title is, I, Claudia. So you take yourself seriously, but not too seriously. Will anybody ever publish it? I don’t know. My family can publish it. See, now I’m already apologizing! That’s bad. We just don’t want to apologize for ourselves, because it’s so important to have women’s autobiographies. Those that we have we value so much. I don’t dare think of another project until I get those done.
Meanwhile, over at the Salt Lake Tribune, Peggy Fletcher Stack reported on a youth Sunday School teacher in Hawaii who was released after using the church’s recently-published essay on race and the priesthood in one of his lessons.
A CNN profile of Mormonism in Cambodia provided a fascinating look at the religious politics of temple work for the dead in a predominantly Buddhist country.
In academic conference news, the Mormon Pacific Historical Society released the CFP for its fall conference, to be held on the campus of BYU-Hawaii October 23-24.
We’ll wrap things up with a couple of bloggernacle links: First, a post over at By Common Consent by Steve Evans reflecting on the present and future of Mormon Studies, which sparked a lively conversation in the comments section and a lengthier response from Ardis Parshall over at Keepapitchinin on “Academia vs. Scholarship” (that’s the second link). Be sure and read both.
From the John Whitmer Historical Association organization:
Do you love church history? Visit the annual John Whitmer Historical Association meeting at Independence, Missouri, September 24–27, 2015. Listen to presentations and discuss historical events with some of the most knowledgeable authors like Erin Metcalfe, Newell Bringhurst, Joseph Johnstun, and many more. Even better, propose your own paper and present your research on a topic pertinent to the Restoration. The proposal deadline is April 1, 2015. Directions for submission can be found here.
The schedule for the Fifth Biennial Faith & Knowledge Conference was posted this morning at faithandknowledge.org. The event will be held on Friday, February 27 and Saturday, February 28, 2015 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Registration is now open, as well.
For the first time ever, Friday night’s opening panel will be open to the public, and if you’re in the general area, you won’t want to miss this. Noted LDS scholars Terryl Givens, Professor of Literature and Religion, and the James A. Bostwick Professor of English at University of Richmond, and J.B. Haws, Assistant Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University and author of The Mormon Image in the American Mind: Fifty Years of Public Perception (OUP, 2013), will offer their respective thoughts in response to the prompt, “What’s Changing in Mormonism?” They will be followed by a response from Jennifer L. Geddes, Research Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia and Director of Publications at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture University of Virginia. Dr. Geddes is the author of several articles and essays, and the editor of two books: Evil after Postmodernism: Histories, Narratives, Ethics (Routledge, 2001); and, with John K. Roth and Julius Simon, The Double Binds of Ethics after the Holocaust (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
Attendance at Saturday’s proceedings is limited to currently-enrolled LDS graduate students and early career scholars. It features presentations from some of the very best and brightest young Mormon scholars in panels ranging in subject from “LDS Experiences in and Approaches to the Academy” to “LDS Perspectives on Faith, Personality, and Work,” and from “Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Mormon History, Theology, and Experience” to new and innovative “Approaches to Mormon Scripture” to “Faith Crises and Faith Transitions.”
If you’re an LDS graduate student or early career scholar interested in the intersections between religious faith and scholarship, please consider attending.
[Looks like a great program, including a smattering of JIers–always a good sign for a successful conference.]
Claremont Mormon Studies Conference
Community, Authority, and Identity
Claremont Graduate University
March 6-7, 2015
925 N. Dartmouth Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711 (more…)
Posting Dates: 01/29/2015 – 02/27/2015
Job Family: Library, Research & Preservation
Department: Church History Department
The Church History Department seeks a full-time Writer/Editor who will be responsible for the research, writing, and editing of products associated with historic sites significant to the history of the Church.
[We are happy to pass along this CFP from our good friends who run the Mormon Studies Group at AAR. In my personal experience, these sessions usually include some of the most exciting work currently being done in the field.]
The Mormon Studies Group seeks proposals for full sessions or individual papers that consider any aspect of Mormon experience using the methods of critical theory, philosophy, theology, history, sociology, or psychology. This includes the use of Mormonism as a case study for informing larger questions in any of these disciplines and, thus, only indirectly related to the Mormon experience. For 2015 we are particularly interested in proposals addressing international Mormonism and which engage questions of globalization, imperialism, and decolonization. (more…)
Our friends in the Religion Department (Church History and Doctrine) at BYU are hiring adjunct faculty to teach a Doctrine and Covenants course this SUMMER term. (more…)
It’s that time of year, and MHA folk are reminding us to submit books and articles for their annual awards to be given at the conference in June. We would especially like to draw your attention to the following awards, and encourage everyone to submit your own work to the relevant categories. The deadline is February 1. (more…)
Joseph Smith Papers Project Internship
The Church History Department announces an opening for a one-year internship with the Joseph Smith Papers Project. This will be a part-time (28 hours a week) temporary position beginning in March 2015.
Duties will include research related to document analysis (textual and documentary intention, production, transmission, and reception) and to contextual annotation of documents (identifications and explanations). Research will involve work in primary and secondary sources for early nineteenth-century America and early Mormonism. Work will include general assistance to volume editors.
• Bachelor’s degree in history, religious studies, or related discipline, with preference given to those with master’s degrees and/or in doctoral programs.
• Possess excellent research and writing skills.
• Ability to work in a scholarly and professional environment.
• Requires both personal initiative and collaborative competence. (more…)
Last week, Ben highlighted the latest issue of the Mormon Studies Review. This week the Maxwell Institute gave Mormon Studies geeks even more goodness with the release of the first issue of the newly-revamped Studies in the Bible and Antiquity. You can read Carl Griffin’s overview of the entire issue here, but I wanted to take the time to highlight two of the articles included in particular. While much of what Studies in the Bible and Antiquity falls outside of the more narrow interests of JI bloggers, this issue includes a roundtable review of the BYU New Testament Commentary (BYUNTC) that features two prominent historians of Mormonism: Philip Barlow, Leonard J. Arrington Professor of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University, and Grant Underwood, Professor of History at Brigham Young University and coeditor of the Documents series of the Joseph Smith Papers Project.
Barlow opens the roundtable with some reflections on the aims of the BYUNTC, highlighting five particular questions that the undertaking raised for him, as a believing Mormon and a scholar of Mormonism and the Bible: (more…)
(Allow me to grab my cheerleading megaphone…)
I’m happy to state that the second volume of the Mormon Studies Review is now available in digital and paperback form. If you missed it last year, I described volume one and the general outlook for the periodical here. But in short: the Mormon Studies Review attempts to chart the development of the subfield of Mormon studies, which we generally define as scholars using Mormonism to speak to larger academic issues through many disciplines (history, religious studies, literature, philosophy, sociology, etc.). The primary audience are other academics, though we are sure there are many interested in the topics that they will find much to interest them. The journal is filled by several different types of essays, all solicited: a forum (where a handful of respected scholars discuss a relevant issue), discipline essays (where a scholar engages the current state of a particular academic field), review essays (where a particular book, or series of related books, receive an extensive review), as well as traditional book reviews. As an editorial team (Spencer Fluhman is editor, while Morgan Davis, Melissa Inouye, and myself are associate editors), with extensive imput from our editorial board, choose who we think are the best people to trace the state of the subfield through their engagement with these issues and texts. We are grateful for all the authors who agreed to our invitations, especially those who are not generally part of the Mormon studies community; we feel that their participation is what makes our project most crucial to the Mormon studies world.
Melissa Inouye has a helpful overview of the new issue at the Maxwell Institute Blog; go read it now. You can also see the entire Table of Contents here. I’ll be brief by just outlining what practitioners of Mormon history will find interesting in this volume. (more…)
2015 SUMMER SEMINAR
“ORGANIZING THE KINGDOM:
PRIESTHOOD, CHURCH GOVERNMENT, AND THE FORMS OF LDS WORSHIP.”
Brigham Young University
June 14 – July 23, 2015
In the summer of 2015, the Neal A Maxwell Institute at Brigham Young University, with support from the Mormon Scholars Foundation, will sponsor a summer seminar for graduate students, CES educators, and other qualified individuals, on “ORGANIZING THE KINGDOM: PRIESTHOOD, CHURCH GOVERNMENT, AND THE FORMS OF LDS WORSHIP.” The seminar will be held on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah, from June 14 to July 23. Admitted participants will receive a stipend of $3000 with an accommodations subsidy if needed. International participants will also receive some transportation assistance, the amount to be determined by availability of funding. (We are hoping to cover most airfares for the internationals). (more…)
Church History Library Intern
ID 120839, Type: Full-Time – Temporary
UT-Salt Lake City
Posting Dates: 11/20/2014 – 12/12/2014
Department: Church History Department (more…)
From our friends at the Joseph Smith Papers:
We invite you to subscribe to a forthcoming newsletter from the Joseph Smith Papers Project. This newsletter will be released twice a year and will include
- updates on the project
- discoveries from the documents
- information on new releases
We hope you will find it useful and informative as you study the documents of Joseph Smith.
Click here to be added to our list. Please feel free to forward this email to your friends and colleagues who may be interested in the project.
Having trouble subscribing? Please make sure you type in your entire email address. The autocomplete functions of some browsers cause the form to malfunction. Alternatively, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be glad to add you to the list.
Links to the latest Mormon Studies news from around the internet:
Mormons and Politics are in the news again. Only this time, in book form. David Campbell, John Green, and Quinn Monson’s new book from Cambridge University Press, Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics was reviewed in the Deseret News. Interested in more? Jana Riess posted a Q&A with Campbell and Monson over at Flunking Sainthood; Doug Fabrizio also hosted the co-authors on his Radio West program on Thursday.
You’ve likely heard that BYU Religious Education has revamped its curriculum, and the bloggernacle has weighed in from all angles. See here, here, here, here, and here for a sampling.
Also out of BYU, a couple of big announcements from the Maxwell Institute: The online edition of Royal Skousen’s Book of Mormon Critical Text Project has launched, and a new digital subscription option to all three journals published by the MI (Mormon Studies Review, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, and Studies in the Bible and Antiquity) is now being offered (for only $10!).
Several archives in Utah and Arizona have teamed up to create the Highway 89 Digital Collections Project, “an online aggregator and exhibition that brings together the stories of US 89, as it travels through the state of Utah.” Their aim “is to aggregate existing images, texts, and oral histories related to US 89 while simultaneously identifying and digitizing additional relevant collections.” Read more at Researching the Utah State Archives.
Finally, one final reminder that the submission deadline for the 2015 Faith & Knowledge Conference is approaching (THIS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7!) Get your submissions in ASAP!
Historian/Documentary Editor, Joseph Smith Papers
Job Description: The Joseph Smith Papers seeks a full-time historian/documentary editor with the academic training, research, and writing skills to edit Joseph Smith’s papers. The Joseph Smith Papers is producing a comprehensive edition of Smith’s documents featuring complete and accurate transcripts with both textual and contextual annotation. The scope of the project includes Smith’s correspondence, revelations, journals, historical writings, sermons, legal papers, and other documents. Besides providing the most comprehensive record of early Latter-day Saint history they will also provide insight into the broader religious landscape of the early American republic. (more…)
Friend of the JI and Joseph Smith Papers editor and historian Alex D. Smith has agreed to send along this brief comment on the recent announcement that the entire text of the Book of the Law of the Lord–a Nauvoo-era donation record book that also includes JS’s 1842 journal and the text of several revelations–has been made available on josephsmithpapers.org. As Alex notes, this is kind of a big deal. Like the Book of Commandments and Revelations (published in 2009) and the Council of Fifty Minutes (forthcoming in 2016), the publication of the Book of the Law of the Lord on the project’s website reflects the ongoing trend of including previously unavailable historical documents as part of the Joseph Smith Papers. Alex co-edited the second volume of the Journals series, which included annotated transcriptions of the the Book Law of the Lord journal entries, and he wrote an important article on the the Book of the Law of the Lord in The Journal of Mormon History (38, no. 4 [Fall 2012]). He is currently hard at work on Journals, vol. 3 (slotted to appear next year) and Documents, vol. 7, covering early Commerce and the founding of Nauvoo, September 1839-January 1841 (expected in early 2018).
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A reminder to our readers that the Fifth Biennial Faith & Knowledge Conference will be held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville on February 27 and 28, 2015. The submission deadline for proposals is November 7, 2014. 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.
THE FIFTH BIENNIAL FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE CONFERENCE
University of Virginia
February 27-28, 2015