The Mormon Lens on American History

Paul Harvey

The Mormon moment srikes again! Jennifer Schuessler, "The Mormon Lens on American History," just posted online in the New York Times and published in Tuesday's paper, provides a very nice survey of the rapid rise of interest in the history of Mormonism as well as some of the major scholars covering it. The article features the experiences of our contributor John Turner, in researching his soon-to-be-published big biography of Brigham Young; mentions J. Spencer Fluhman's outstanding history of nineteenth-century anti-Mormonism which UNC Press is publishing in September, as well as Patrick Mason's recent volume which we've covered here before; and quotes folks such as Matt Bowman and Kathleen Flake as well. I was also very glad to see the article throw some props to an older scholarly pioneer in the present renaissance of scholarship, D. Michael Quinn, who did the short essay on the LDS Church for my volume the Columbia Guide to Religion in American History

Finally, the article brings in the incorporation of Mormon history into broader volumes of American history scholarship, most notably recently Anne Hyde's Bancroft-Prize winning Empires, Nations, Families (and to that I would add Jared Farmer's really cool book On Zion's Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape). 

This is a good piece of journalism on the scholarly world that I hope will introduce a lot of people to the fruitful ferment in the field and lead them as well to some of these books.


Edward J. Blum said…
what a tremendous article! not only a study of the best of the best, but also a really well put together article. Bravo all around.
Ben P said…
Yes, that was a tremendous article. A line-up of tremendous scholars, a firm grasp of the field, and well-written.
Quinn's _Early Mormonism and the Magical World View_ also made a fundamental and lasting contribution to the study of the role of magic in the history of American popular and religious culture. It was truly a magisterial work in that respect. It's good to see him get recognition.
Christopher said…
Good stuff from the NYT. I just returned from the MHA's annual conference, and there's a lot of really great research on Mormon history going on right now. Much of it, I hope and think, will outlast the Mormon moment in which we find ourselves.

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