As part of our occasional series of announcements on important Mormon Studies events, we’re happy to publicize an academic conference entitled “Joseph Smith and the Prophetic Tradition,” sponsored by the School of Religion of the Claremont Graduate University and to be held on its Southern California campus on October 20 and 21.
Featured speakers will include Richard Bushman, emeritus professor of history from Columbia University, whose biography of Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling, was released last week; Jan Shipps, a non-Mormon scholar on Mormonism and long-time participant in Mormon Studies venues; and Robert Millet, a well-known Brigham Young University religion professor who has been involved in interfaith activities. The complete program is available here.
This gathering will mark the second conference that the Claremont Graduate University (CGU) has hosted on Mormonism. Last year’s conference examined the positioning of Mormon Studies both within the field of religious studies and among the disciplines more generally. This year, in keeping with the bicentennial of the birth of Joseph Smith and in tandem with a number of other notable Mormon Studies events, the conference focuses on the contributions of the American prophet and compares him to others in the prophetic tradition.
The conference is also part of a major academic initiative at the Claremont School of Religion to establish a Mormon Studies program, the first of its kind. The Council for Mormon Studies and the School of Religion are working first to form a foundation and solicit funds for the creation of an academic chair at CGU. When selected, the chair will be a full-time faculty member in the CGU School of Religion doctoral program. He or she will also direct the Mormon Studies program. This year’s academic conference at Claremont represents one of many steps toward that goal.
We extend our congratulations to the organizers of the conference, and urge our readership to attend the conference—and blog about it! (Campus map and information available here.)