Origins and Destinations: Forty Years of Mormon Women’s Histor(ies)
This volume, based on proceedings from symposium sponsored by the Mormon Women’s History Initiative Team, brings together a stellar assemblage of authors to assess and reflect on forty years of scholarship. Since the birth of the academic study of Latter-day Saint women’s history in the 1970s, the field has evolved from biographies of early female leaders and institutional histories toward richer explorations of involvement in suffrage and progressive activism, women’s ecclesiastical and political work, and marriage and family structures. At this moment of vibrant discussions about the status and roles of LDS women, it is more important than ever to examine the historical roots of Mormon women’s religiosity, empowerment, service, family roles, and political activism.
The overarching theme of Origins and Destinations is the construction and uses of Mormon women’s narratives, past and present. Leading practitioners in the field reflect on their approaches and experiences, and they address questions, emphasizing intergenerational perspectives: What is the historiography of Mormon women’s history? What narratives have been constructed and how have they been used? What are the limitations and potentials of these narratives? Are there gaps or absences? What methodologies and theoretical frames have been developed and how can they be refined? What can Mormon women’s history learn from and contribute to institutional histories and broader academic fields? To this end, we look for new interpretations—from feminist theory, intersectionality, and sociologies of gender, to useful and contextualized biography, comparative history, as well as legal history, race theory, and internationalism.