MSH 2010: The Family and Human Relationships
Claremont Graduate University
May 21–22, 2010



The Family and Human Relationships in History, Literature, Art, and Philosophy
May 21-22, 2010, Claremont, CA
A conference sponsored by Mormon Scholars in the Humanities

Every story, it is said, is a family story. Yet in stressing the freedom and self-sufficiency of the individual, modern culture de-emphasizes the degree to which people are born in dependency, of specific parents, and develop in and through relationships with others, most closely in the family. By considering the family, family history, and human relationships, we invite inquiry into changes in the culture of the family over time, inquiries into family memory, depictions of the family and the individual in art and literature, and philosophical investigations of the role of family, friends, and mentors in personal development. Some questions to consider:

* How do models and philosophies of the family and relationships illuminate depictions of the family in history, literature, and the arts, and vice versa?
* How has the notion of genealogy shaped different forms of representation in the arts and in sacred literature, as well as philosophies of history, morality, and ethics?
* To what degree is our identity a gift of others, and to what degree is it an individual accomplishment and responsibility? Do degrees of autonomy and dependence differ from era to era, culture to culture, and even from individual to individual?
* In what sense is the family the basic unit of society? What do the humanities teach us about the family as a social institution or about the roles and responsibilities within a family? About successes and failures of the family?
* If one goal of personal development is a certain kind of maturity in the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and moral realms, what are the processes by which individuals achieve it? Do these types of development have necessary social dimensions? In light of possible family and social aspects of self-development and freedom, in what ways are individuals also responsible for others, and for themselves?
* How do LDS history, values, and doctrine pertaining to the family and to the notion of genealogy influence the work of the Mormon scholar in the humanities? How do they challenge or support the fundamental assumptions of humanities scholarship today?

Creative submissions relevant to the conference theme in story, verse, drama, or visual form are also invited.

We encourage LDS scholars in all fields of the humanities, arts, and history to propose papers or complete panels in response to the topic. Panel proposals should include a general title, presenters’ names and contact information, and paper abstracts.

Please send 200-word abstracts and brief CV to David Paxman at (without the 9’s), by January 15, 2010.



PDF of program available here: MSH2010Program

Friday Sessions

9:00–10:30 a.m. • Theorizing the Self
Chair: Jonathon Penny, United Emirates University
• Adam Miller, Collin College, “‘I am legion’: Mormonism’s Genealogical Conception of the Soul”
• Mark Wrathall, University of California, Riverside, “Senses of Self”
• Rosalynde Welch, Independent Scholar, “Does Mormon Thought Offer a Theory of Gender?”

10:45–12:15 p.m. • Family in Early History and Prehistory
Chair: Neal Kramer, Brigham Young University
• Dale Pratt, Brigham Young University, “‘Who’s Your Daddy?’: Human Evolution and the Quest for the Family in Spanish Novels of Prehistory”
• John Armstrong, Southern Virginia University, “Three Classical Views of the Basic Unit of Society”
• David Gore, University of Minnesota Duluth, “Divine Drives and Family Foundations in Vico’s Course of History”

12:30–1:15 p.m. • Lunch (Stauffer Lobby)

1:15–2:00 p.m. • Oral History Readers Theater
Claudia Bushman, Claremont Graduate University, with Lisa T. Clayton, Bethany Saunders, Lauren Kennard, and Caroline Kline, “LDS Women in the Twentieth Century: Witnesses to a Changing Church”

2:15–4:00 p.m. • Genealogy and Family, Placed and Displaced
Chair: Ron Bartholomew, Church Educational System
• George Handley, Brigham Young University, “Towards a Mormon Critical Theory of Genealogy”
• Jonathon Penny, United Arab Emirates University, “God Love Father—Literature”
• Bryan Wallis, University of California, Davis, “Wendell Berry on Place and Familial Continuity”
• Ron Bartholomew, Church Educational System, “Cross-Currents among Converts: The Post-Immigration Utah Church and the Josephite/Brighamite Controversy”

4:15–5:45 p.m. • Reading Scripture
Chair: Jenny Rytting, Northwest Missouri State University
• Joseph Spencer, Utah Valley University, “Of ‘Eternal’ Gender: Saint Paul on Sexuality”
• Kim Matheson, Brigham Young University, “‘Let us go forth’: The Role of the Feminine in Helaman 2”
• Alan Goff, DeVry University, “One Eternal Round: Textuality and Priority in Scriptural Reading”

6:30 p.m. • Dinner (Hampton Room)

7:30 p.m. • Keynote Address
Chair: Bruce Jorgensen, Brigham Young University
James Faulconer, Brigham Young University, “On a Philosophy of the Family”

Saturday Sessions

8:00–9:00 a.m. • Business Meeting (TBA)

9:00–10:30 a.m. • Early Modern Iberian Women Writers: The Creation of Their Families in Life & Literature
Chair: Valerie Hegstrom, Brigham Young University
• Anna-Lisa Halling, Vanderbilt University, “The Ties that Bind: Sisterhood in Sor Marcela de San Félix’s Convent”
• Emily Tobey, University of Indiana, “Creating Communities through Theater: Feliciana Enríquez de Guzmán and Her Plays”
• Valerie Hegstrom, Brigham Young University, “Heavenly Family Relationships on Earth: Soror Maria do Ceo Writes and Performs Families in an Early Modern Portuguese Convent”

10:45–12:30 p.m. • Marriage, Family, Theology
Chair: John Armstrong, Southern Virginia University
• Jenny Rytting, Northwest Missouri State University, “‘Honeste Love’: Medieval Marriage Ideals in Sermons, Literature, and History”
• Jenny Webb, Independent Scholar, “The Apostle, the Proclamation, and the Bard: A Comparative Approach to the Family”
• Anne Leahy, Independent Scholar, “LDS Lives in Relationship with Disability”
• Neal Kramer, Brigham Young University, “Marriage and Redemption”

12:30–1:00 p.m. • Lunch (Stauffer Lobby)

1:00–2:00 p.m. • Keynote Address
Chair: Thomas Draper, Brigham Young University
David C. Dollahite, Brigham Young University, “Mormonism and Modernization: Why Many LDS Families Thrive in Postmodern America”

2:15–3:45 p.m. • Featured Papers
Chair: David Paxman, Brigham Young University
• Richard Bushman, Claremont Graduate University, “The Family Farm in the Production of the Nation”
• Thomas Draper, Brigham Young University, “Studies in the Faith: The Happy People Who Kill Themselves, Young Couples in Love, and Preschool Liberals”

4:00–5:45 p.m. • Family Stories
Chair: Alan Goff, DeVry University
• Bruce Jorgensen, Brigham Young University, “Entering the Tragic World of the Family in Gina Berriault’s ‘The Stone Boy’”
• Doreen Williams, Georgia Southern University, “Complicated Conversations on the Dis/Ease of Mental Illness: A Personal Essay”
• Jared White, University of California, Irvine, “Kierkegaard and Unamuno: Philosophical Anguish from Familial Crisis”
• David Paxman, Brigham Young University, “Bad Parents and Moral Character in the Eighteenth-Century English Novel”



Program cover: