Joseph Smith Papers Conference Call for Papers 2022

Proposal deadline extended to March 14.

To commemorate the release of volumes 12, 13, and 14 of the Documents series, the Joseph Smith Papers Project will host the sixth annual Joseph Smith Papers Conference on September 9, 2022, in Salt Lake City, Utah. In the event that COVID-19 conditions prevent holding an in-person conference, digital options will be offered. The theme of the conference is “Texts and Contexts in Nauvoo.”

During the period covered in volumes 12, 13, and 14—March 1, 1843, through May 15, 1844—Joseph Smith and his scribes produced a wide variety of texts, from routine administrative documents that turned the wheels of governance in Nauvoo to revelations that inspired thousands of men, women, and children to gather to Nauvoo in the 1840s. Smith also received and responded to letters that shaped his reactions to events. Texts featured in volumes 12 through 14 illuminate a number of contexts, including but not limited to

  • Church administration in Nauvoo and in church branches
  • Overseeing domestic and international missionary work
  • Nauvoo’s economy, land distribution, and church finances
  • Joseph Smith’s governance of Nauvoo as mayor and member of the city council
  • Local, state, and national politics
  • Women’s agency and actions in Nauvoo
  • Joseph Smith’s private instruction and his public discourses
  • Revelations, doctrinal developments, and gospel ordinances, including sealings and plural marriages
  • Lived religion and religious practices
  • Joseph Smith as judge in the Nauvoo mayor’s court and the municipal court
  • Ongoing legal and extralegal challenges from Missouri
  • Race, gender, and familial relations in Nauvoo
  • Seeking redress from the federal government for Missouri persecutions
  • The Council of Fifty and Joseph Smith’s presidential campaign
  • Internal dissent and external opposition

We invite scholars of all career stages and backgrounds to submit proposals for papers that engage Nauvoo’s texts and contexts from March 1, 1843, through May 15, 1844. In addition to drawing on volumes 12, 13, and 14, we encourage participants to utilize the documents and annotation from the relevant time period found in the Legal Records series and in the Financial Records series on josephsmithpapers.org. Questions about how to use the Legal Records series in proposals can be directed to David W. Grua (davidgrua@churchofjesuschrist.org), and queries about the Financial Records series can be sent to Elizabeth Kuehn (ekuehn@churchofjesuschrist.org).

Paper proposals should consist of a brief abstract (no more than 500 words) and a current CV; both should be sent to Jessica M. Nelson (jessicam.nelson@churchofjesuschrist.org) by March 14, 2022. Authors whose proposals are accepted will receive a copy of volumes 12 and 13 of the Documents series, as well as an advance copy of volume 14. Because the purpose of this conference series is to demonstrate how scholars can utilize the Joseph Smith Papers, authors of accepted proposals will be expected to develop their papers primarily from the texts and contexts provided in these volumes and the online resources in the Legal Records and Financial Records series. Some travel funding will be available for graduate students and early career scholars living outside of Utah whose papers are accepted for the conference. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by March 21, 2022.

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, generally 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.