Mormonism and American Politics Conference at Princeton

There has been much discussion of Mitt Romney’s run for the White House, both here and throughout the Bloggernacle. Predictably, scholars don’t want bloggers to have all the fun.

An upcoming conference at Princeton University plans to address both perennial questions about the place of religion in the public square and the contested intersection of religion and politics, as well as the particular issues which Romney’s candidacy adds to those questions. The media has made much of Romney’s religion and so have some sectors of the American public. What can we learn from public attitudes about Mormonism? Are the religious beliefs of a political candidate relevant to serving in office, and if so, how? Are there political implications to Mormonism? Do the legislative records and political careers of other Mormon politicians shed any light on this question? In what ways is Mormonism politically comparable to other religious groups?

This conference will explore some of these issues in four separate panels that will discuss 1) the earliest encounters of Mormonism and American politics, 2) Mormonism as a case study for church/state separation 3) the media perceptions of Mormonism and 4) the role religious identity plays in the public square.

Participants include Richard Bushman, Richard Land, Kathleen Flake, Philip Barlow, Marci Hamilton, Alan Wolfe, Helen Whitney, Mark Silk, Noah Feldman, Sarah Barringer Gordon, Stephen Macedo, Thomas Griffith, Melissa Proctor, Robert George, Russell Arben Fox, Chris Karpowitz, David Campbell, John Green, and Francis Beckwith.

The event begins Friday, November 9th at 8:00 p.m. and continues until 5:00 Saturday, November 10th. It is free and open to the public. For more information please click here.

(I just noticed that this same announcement was made earlier on Faith Promoting Rumor. They’re on the ball, those guys.)

11 comments for “Mormonism and American Politics Conference at Princeton

  1. That’s a lot of questions for two days — “Are there political implications to Mormonism?” Yikes.

    Someday I will live in a place where things happen. Till then, good luck to all (and maybe publish transcripts of your presentations?)

  2. Wow – that sounds awesome. I can’t help but notice Russell Arben Fox’s name! Since many of the others up there could be called prestigious, I guess I should treat Russell a little better! (grin)

  3. RAF: Is the “begins at 8 p.m. on Friday” a typo? Is it supposed to say 8 a.m., or does the conference really begin Friday evening? I am thinking of driving up, but I teach until 1pm on Fridays, so I am trying to figure out if it is worth the drive if I miss half the conference. On the other hand, if it really does begain at 8 pm — rather than 8 am — it is a no brainer.

  4. Sarah, I hear you. I, too, never live where things happen (because, after all, “nothing ever happens in Princeton”).

    But seeing as I do live at Princeton, I will finally get to go to something!

  5. Russell: nothing ever happens in Princeton? Yeah, right! Come to rural Ohio and we’ll show you the meaning of “nothing ever happens.” ^_^

    By the way, I tried to email you but got a “mailbox full” warning (you can delete this line if you want): you need to fix the link to Faith Promoting Rumor, as it has two “http://”s in a row and thus redirects to

  6. This sounds great. Why did they have to have this after I graduated? Give the small LDS contingent at Old Nassau a big hello.

  7. Sarah,

    Thanks for the heads-up on the FPR link, I got it fixed. Incidentally, never e-mail me at my Times and Seasons address, as I haven’t checked it since….actually, I’ve never checked it, ever. Just e-mail me at my work address through my other website.


    It’s a one day conference: a headline speaker Friday evening (almost certainly Richard Bushman, unless one or two other highly tentative invites come through), and then four panels on Saturday. I’d love to see you there, if you can make it. I’m going to try to get Damon and some other friends to come out too.

  8. This looks like a first rate event of notable figures- Princeton is in my LDS stake, as is Rutgers, and we have several LDS there – several of our stake leaders work at Rutgers, I\’m very excited about this conference and will report on it. Sarah Barringer Gordon\’s interview on This Times & Seasons webiste is very thoughtful, Helen Whitney is much more thoughtful than her shoddy PBS The Mormons show would indicate -see her thoughtful interview transcripts with Elder Packer and Elder Oaks on the LDS website – Kathleen Flake is LDS, an author and a professor – Elder Oaks has stated her book on the Reed Smoot US Senate hearings the best that\’s been written – all the panelists I\’ve known or looked up so far seem worthwile

  9. Russell,

    Thanks for posting the announcement for me.

    Will you please make the link live in the original post?

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