As summer closes and fall is upon us, that means it is time for another round of issues from Mormon studies journals. The following are several articles that stood out to me from the latest issues of Dialogue, Journal of Mormon History, and John Whitmer Historical Association Journal. I hope we have some further engagement with some of these articles in the near future, including some more “Responses” articles.
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 45, no. 3 (Fall 2012). This entire issue was devoted to conference papers from the last year, and demonstrates the depth and breadth going on in the many disciplines of Mormon studies. (Subscribe, download the entire issue, or download individual articles here.)
- Patrick Mason, “Mormon Blogs, Mormon Studies, and the Mormon Mind.” Presented at UVU’s conference on Mormonism and the Media, this is a brilliant examination of the intersections between the “bloggernacle” and the academic study of Mormonism. He posted some of his findings previously, but this published paper includes much more. We’ll hopefully do a bigger discussion–perhaps a small roundtable?–on the broader implications of blogging for the academic world.
- Amanda Hendrix-Komoto, Benjamin Park, and Richard Bushman, “Conversion in 19th Century Mormonism: Identities and Associations in the Atlantic World.” This was a panel at the Mormon History Association that originally included another stellar paper from another JIer, Christopher Jones. Amanda’s paper is on the familial politics of conversion as seen through the life of Mary Fielding Smith, and my paper looks at the evolving identities of Edward Tullidge as a way to explore the nature of belief. Richard Bushman’s response is a provocative look at conversion, identities, and social history.
- Rachael Givens, “Lost ‘Wagonloads of Plates’: The Disappearance and Deliteralization of Sealed Records.” Rachael’s fascinating paper was presented at the Mormon Scholars Foundation Summer Seminar last year on the gold plates, and is a provocative look at how tracing the evolution of one idea–what the sealed records contained and when they will become available–can tell us about the social transitions within Mormonism. (Rachael previously blogged a portion of the paper here.)
- Saskia Tielens, “The Gold Plates in the Contemporary Popular Imagination.” This paper, from another JI friend, was presented at this year’s Summer Seminar on Gold Plates, and is a fun and sophisticated look at the role of the plates in Mormon material culture. And being that we have already seen the brilliance of Saskia’s analysis here on JI recently (see here and here), you should all be excited.
- Lisa Olsen Tait, “Between Two Economies: The Business Development of the Young Woman’s Journal, 1889-1900.” Lisa is a good friend of JI, and has been doing phenomenal work with women’s and young women’s organization during the transition era.
- Justin Bray, “The Lord’s Supper during the Progressive Era, 1890-1930.” Justin has won MHA’s best undergraduate paper award for two straight years, and this was the first of those winners. Justin is a bright young scholar in the field, and we should look forward to more work from him in the future. Plus, as I’m sure Matt B and J Stapley will tell us, we need a lot more work on Mormon liturgy.
- Alex Smith, “The Book of the Law of the Lord.” An editor of the Joseph Smith Papers Project and all-around nerd (and I mean that in the best way possible), Alex offers a fantastic explanation for this document that has received lots of attention in the Mormon past. It is document scholarship at its best.
- Kyle Walker, “Looking After the First Family of Mormonism: LDS Church Leaders’ Support of the Smiths after the Martyrdom.” Kyle has done some excellent work with the Smith family in the past, and I’m glad someone is examining how one of the most important icons in early Mormonism (the Smith family) played a role in the succession period.
- Scott Esplin, “Competing for the City of Joseph: Interpretive Conflicts in Nauvoo’s Restoration.” I listened to this paper at last year’s JWHA, and it is a real treat. It examines how the different Mormon churches in Nauvoo understood and interpreted historic sites during the twentieth century, shedding light not only on the LDS and the (then) RLDS traditions but also the nature of religious historic sites in general.