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Joseph Smith Papers Conference Call for Papers 2019

Conference on October 11, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah

To celebrate the release of volumes seven, eight, and nine of the Documents Series, the Joseph Smith Papers Project will host the third annual Joseph Smith Papers Conference on October 11, 2019. Due to the overwhelming public interest in past conferences, this year’s event will take place at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah, to accommodate all who want to attend. The conference will focus on the history of Joseph Smith and the Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois, from September 1839 to April 1842. We invite proposals for papers that engage with the theme “Joseph Smith’s Expanding Visions and the Practical Realities of Establishing Nauvoo.” This period was a time of rapid innovation for Joseph Smith and the church: the Relief Society was established, the doctrine of baptism for the dead was introduced, plans were made for both a temple and the Nauvoo House, Latter-day Saints participated in Freemasonry, and the apostles served a mission in England. These ambitious developments, however, occurred while church leaders and members faced the practical realities of settling and living in Nauvoo: financing new settlements, incorporating Nauvoo and creating the city charter, forming the Nauvoo Legion, dealing with debt and poverty, adjusting the responsibilities of church leaders, responding to abiding tensions with Missouri, and attempting to obtain redress from the Missouri persecutions of the 1830s.

We invite scholars of all career stages and backgrounds to submit paper proposals that address these broad themes or other topics covered in volumes seven, eight, and nine of the Document Series. Scholars are invited (but not required) to consider what kinds of histories and narratives emerge from this period, recognizing that the ambitious theological and administrative developments in Nauvoo took place while Joseph Smith, church leaders, and the Saints were preoccupied with the responsibility of ensuring the survival of their community. In brief, this conference seeks to better understand how Joseph Smith’s lofty visions and the pragmatic realities of establishing Nauvoo shaped each other.

Paper proposals should consist of a brief abstract (no more than 500 words) and a current CV; both should be sent to Chase Kirkham (chkirk@ldschurch.org) by March 29, 2019. Authors whose proposals are accepted will receive a copy of volume seven of the Documents Series, as well as advance copies of volumes eight and nine. As the purpose of this conference series is to demonstrate what scholars can do with the Joseph Smith Papers, authors of accepted proposals will be expected to orient their papers primarily from the documents in these volumes. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by April 26, 2019.

The Joseph Smith Papers Project is an effort to gather together all extant Joseph Smith documents and to publish complete and accurate transcripts of those documents online and in print, with both textual and contextual annotation. All such documents will be published electronically at www.josephsmithpapers.org, and a large number of the documents are in process of being published in approximately two dozen print volumes. The print and electronic publications constitute an essential resource for scholars and students of the life and work of Joseph Smith, early Latter-day Saint history, and nineteenth-century American religion.