May 17–18, 2019

Southern Utah University

Cedar City, Utah

Mormon Scholars in the Humanities announces its 12th annual conference, to be held in Cedar City, Utah at Southern Utah University on May 17-18, 2019 under the patronage of Provost Brad Cook. The conference theme is “Ecologies.” Our keynote speakers will be George Handley and Steven L. Peck.

Ecology is interested in the way entities relate to one another and to their environment.  Rather than seeing individuals as isolated agents, an ecological perspective considers kinship and connectivity. Timothy Morton describes this in his book Ecological Thought as “a vast web of interconnection without a definite center or edge” (8), recognizing at once the individualism and interdependency of all living (and non-living) things. Mormonism has a complicated relationship with geographical place and questions of earth and animal stewardship.  For Mormon scholars, an ecological perspective can mean thinking about the relationship of Mormon thought and belief to the natural world and thinking about Mormon things ecologically, or in other words, how those things are connected or organized into systems.

We invite 250–350 word abstracts for papers, as well as proposals for organized panels.  Abstracts and proposals are due November 2, 2018 and should be accompanied by a short CV. Acceptance notices will be sent no later than January 18, 2019.  Submissions are made using an online portal (link below); a link to the portal is also available at

Potential topics include:

  •      Does an understanding of ecological kinship inform Mormon ideas about how humans should live in and interact with the natural world?
  •      In what ways are Mormon approaches to ecologies found in literature, such as ecocriticsm, nature writing, and zoopoetics?  Do Mormon texts recognize non-human agents?
  •      What theological and philosophical possibilities are there in the combination of ecologies and Mormonism?  Is there a Mormon aesthetics of nature?
  •      How are Mormon approaches to ecologies visualized, including in landscape painting, environmental art, and sustainable art and design?
  •      From a disciplinary perspective, how does thinking about systems and ecologies affect the field of Mormon Studies and its ties to history, literary criticism, philosophy, visual culture, musicology, and the life sciences?
  •      What role does gender play in Mormon approaches to environmentalism?

Although proposals for papers or panels organized around the theme are encouraged, we will consider papers on other topics, including those that reflect one’s current professional research interests in the humanities.

Presentations will be organized into 90-minute sessions featuring 3 speakers, with twenty minutes allocated for each presentation, and 30 minutes for Q&A and related discussion.  All presenters are required to register for the conference, but they are not required to be members of the LDS church. MSH welcomes submissions by independent scholars and graduate students.  Graduate students wishing to be considered for a Graduate Student Travel Fund award should indicate so when making their submission.

Exceptional undergraduate students may also submit proposals, and we will organize a special session for 10-12 minute presentations from those students, with 5 places available.

Registration will run $150.00 USD for a Professional/Independent Scholar, and $125.00 for a graduate student. Some assistance to graduate students may be available.

Please direct any questions to:

Submission Portal: 

Deadline: Friday, November 16