Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bushman Gold Plates seminar summary

Ben Park at TimesandSeasons has summarized the recent Richard Bushman summer seminar, sponsored by the Neal Maxwell Institute. Excerpts of"The Cultural History of the Gold Plates": Notes from the 2011 Bushman/Givens Seminar, Part I
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The Mormon Scholars Foundation Summer Seminar, founded by Richard Bushman and recently co-directed with Terryl Givens, has a tradition of gathering the brightest young Mormon scholars for six weeks to research, engage, and present on specific themes or periods. This year's group was no exception. A dozen participants ranging from an undergraduate majoring in engineering to an Assistant Professor in Religious Studies ... gathered together to explore the theme, "The Cultural History of the Gold Plates." I had the great privilege to attend their presentations today, and what follows is my brief recap, broken into two parts.

Part 1 (summaries of presentations can be read here)
  • Stephen Taysom, "Worlds of Discourse, Plates of Gold: Joseph Smith's Plates as Cultural Catalysts." 
  • Benjamin Bascom, "Guarding the Gold: Didactic Fictions and the Mainstreaming of Mormonism."
  • Jared Halverson, "Fictionalizing Faith: Popular Polemics and the Gold Plates."
  • Julie Frederick, "What Hath the Earth to Do With the Angels? Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and the Gold Plates."
  • Tyler Gardner, "Possessing the Plates: The Presence and Absence of the Gold Plates."
  • Rachael Givens, "Lost Wagonloads: The Disappearance of the Book of Mormon's Sealed Portion."
Part 2 (summaries of presentations can be read here)
  • Sarah Reed, "Fantasy, Fraud, and Freud: The Uncanny Gold Plates in 19th Century Newspaper Accounts."
  • Elizabeth Mott, "The Forbidden Gaze: The Veiling of the Gold Plates and Joseph Smith's Redefinition of Sacred Space."
  • Michael Reed, "The Notion of Ancient Metal Records in Joseph Smith's Day."
  • Caroline Sorensen, "Operation Tumbaga: The Metallurgic Plausibility of the Gold Plates."
  • Christopher Smith, "Rediscovering Joseph Smith's 'Discovery Narrative' in Southern Utah."
  • Rachel Gostenhoffer, "In Consequence of Their Wickedness:The Decline and Fall of Mormon Seership, 1838-1900."

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