The Juvenile Instructor’s empire expands.
We are pleased to add three phenomenal historians to our ranks: Janiece Johnson, Jenny Reeder, and Rachael Givens. All are rising stars in the field of Mormon history, and each brings a unique contribution to our team. This is how they introduce themselves:
Janiece Johnson: My academic path has been consistently circuitous, with a few fantastic opportunities along the way. I decided I wanted to do a master’s in history the week I was to graduate from BYU in Political Science–without having taken a college history class. I started teaching for Religious Education as a MA student at BYU and was thrown into Mormon history just barely ahead of my students. I have enjoyed opportunities to teach from time to time since then. My master’s thesis at BYU engendered my love for women’s history. By my master’s in theology at Vanderbilt I was firmly entrenched in Mormon history. I was dazzled as Kathleen Flake taught me a previously foreign academic tongue to examine religion and I saw a myriad of possibilities between the Mormon theology that I loved and my feminist theology classes.After Vanderbilt, I was ready for a bit of a break. I had previously worked as a research assistant for Ron Walker as he worked on Massacre at Mountain Meadows and inexplicably I was soon back to Mountain Meadows. That break from school turned into working for the LDS Church History Department as the general editor for the monstrosity that is the Mountain Meadows Massacre Prosecution Papers (at least that is what I’m calling it). The book is now in production and I’ve moved across the pond to finally be back to school full-time to dissertate at the University of Leicester (Le’ster). I am always interested in women’s history, gender, religion, and right now particularly focused on contested Mormon and American identities and how those identities specifically affect the prosecution for the massacre. Just in case anyone still has questions about the massacre–the Mormons did it.
Jenny Reeder: I am a doctoral candidate in American history at George Mason University, outside of Washington, DC. My dissertation examines how nineteenth-century Mormon women remembered and used their Relief Society history in the creation of a “usable past.” I am particularly interested in Victorian modes of remembering and commemorating, so each chapter will look at a different type of material culture: quilts, Relief Society halls and granaries, banners, Representative Women of Deseret, Songs and Flowers of the Wasatch, and, of course, the most lovely hair wreaths you’ve ever seen. I hope to defend and graduate this year and go on the job market, as well as teach a section of History of Western Civilization here at GMU, TA for the World History course earmarked for international students, and keep my head above water as my ward Relief Society president. PHEW! It’s going to be a great year!
Rachael Givens: I have a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, and will soon begin a PhD in history at the University of Virginia. I am interested in the relationships between gender, religion, and rationality, especially in early modern Europe. I have also dabbled in Mormon history, and took place in the Maxwell Institute’s Gold Plates Summer Seminar last year. My paper from the seminar, on the idea and function of the Book of Mormon’s “sealed portion” from 1830 until the present (gisted here), will be published in the next issue of Dialogue. For the past while, I have also worked in the Church’s Public Relations Department, where I have been immersed in all things “Mormon Moment.”
Please join us in giving them a warm welcome!