Call for Papers: IV Brazilian Mormon Studies Conference

IV Brazilian Mormon Studies Conference

Annual Conference of the ABEM

(Associação Brasileira de Estudos Mórmons)


“The Relationship between Headquarters and Periphery in the LDS Church”

January 19, 2013

São Paulo, Brazil


Call for Papers

In 1830, Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ in Manchester, New York State, when the movement had only three distinct congregations: one in Manchester / Palmyra, another in South Bainbridge (NY) and third in Harmony (PA). In just over a year, Smith consolidated the three congregations in the area of a fourth and new congregation, directing all his followers to move to Kirtland, Ohio. A few years more and Smith founded another congregation in Missouri, and began to gather new converts to both of these two sites. Adverse events forced them to abandon Ohio, and then Missouri, and Smith founded a new city to which all Mormons would migrate, Nauvoo, Illinois. In 1847, after the murder of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young Saints relocated the Saints and founded a new territory in Utah.

Throughout the nineteenth century, Mormonism displayed a unique feature: centralization and migration. Members were encouraged to migrate to “Zion”, the gravitational center of the Church, or as some authors call it, “headquarters.” During the first half of the twentieth century that policy evolved into a more congregational concept, where the Church established congregations in different locations, eventually spread throughout the world, without migratory pressures and without an emphasis on a focal point.

Nevertheless, this policy of centralization left a deep cultural and institutional mark. Much has been discussed about the differences and distinctions between the characteristics of Church “headquarters” and those outside, i.e., in the periphery. Brazil has never belonged to the “headquarters” and never participated in the institutional processes represented in the “headquarters”, which leads to several questions:

  • What are the differences between the Church headquarters (e.g., Utah or the U.S.) and Brazil?
  • What is the impact of these differences on Brazilian LDS Church members?
  • What are the advantages and benefits of these differences? What are the disadvantages? What are the consequences?
  • How do these differences impact LDS Church members in Brazil?
  • How do these differences affect leadership styles in Brazil? Cultural practices? Beliefs?
  • What are the differences between Mormons and other denominations in Brazil or Latin America?

The organizing committee of the ABEM would like to invite you to submit proposals for panels, roundtables, work, and academic presentations that explore the idiosyncratic consequences of experiencing Mormonism in the periphery of the Mormon movement and of the Church. Literary and artistic performances are also requested and encouraged. Those interested in submitting articles or organizing roundtables should send an abstract of 250 words by October 31, 2012. Applicants will be notified whether or not the jury has accepted their proposal by November 30. Full versions of accepted papers should be sent by January 1, 2013. The final work should be sufficient for a presentation of 20-25 minutes in length (approximately 3000 words), which will be followed by a question and answer period.

Send proposals of up to 250 words, along with a short, one page CV to the following e-mail by the 31 October 2012 deadline: [email protected]

The IV Brazilian Mormon Studies Conference will be held at Av. Eng. Armando de Arruda Pereira, 345 (mezzanine floor), in São Paulo, SP.

4 comments for “Call for Papers: IV Brazilian Mormon Studies Conference

  1. March 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    My wife still speaks Portuguese from her time in Brazil. I’ll be she will be interested in the papers.

  2. BryanJ
    March 19, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    This sounds fascinating. I wonder if dependency theory will come up at all.

  3. March 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Stephen, we expect to issue the first number of an annual Portuguese-language Mormon Studies journal later this year. I also expect to release several books in Portuguese, in addition to the book of short stories released last year:

    Aquilo que nos move: os melhores contos do concurso Parley P. Pratt de contos mórmons, 2010 (Portuguese Edition)

  4. March 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    BryanJ, like all conferences, we are prisoners to the proposals made. If someone who relies on dependency theory in their work makes a proposal, I think it might be there. But, to be honest, the number of academics who study either Mormonism or Brazil and who are interested in a conference like this is small.

    I would love it if we did get a proposal applying dependency theory to Mormonism.

Comments are closed.