We are pleased to announce that Kathleen Flake is the next participant in our 12 Questions series. Professor Flake’s highly regarded book, The Politics of American Religious Identity (2004), explores the national crisis that developed upon Apostle Reed Smoot’s election to the United States Senate in 1903. She writes that the book is framed by two primary questions: first, “How do religious communities change over time and retain a sense of sameness with their originating vision?”; and second, “What are the political terms by which diverse religions are brought within America’s constitutional order?” Several of us have read or are reading this book now, and heartily recommend it. How often do you get a chance to read a book and concurrently ask the author any questions you may have?
Professor Flake was a lawyer for 15 years before beginning her graduate work in religion and history. She has an M.A. from Catholic University in Liturgical Studies, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in History of Christianity. She currently teaches at Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School. Last month she presented a paper at Claremont Graduate Univerity’s conference on Mormonism, entitled “Positioning Mormonism in Religious Studies and American History.” She also presented on “Joseph Smith’s Narrative Theology” at last year’s Yale conference on Mormon perspectives.
For more information on her book, here is an article from the Salt Lake Tribune, and here is a brief post by Nate, with some interesting comments. And here are some terrific posts about Smoot from Justin B. at the Mormon Wasp.
Please suggest any questions you would like to ask Professor Flake by Friday, December 10, either by posting in the comments here or by emailing me. Based on your submissions, we will select twelve questions for her and post her responses.