The History Department's own Professor Paul Reeve has been appointed as the first
Simmons Mormon Studies Professor by the College of Humanities. This position was made
possible by the generosity of the David E. and Melinda K. Simmons Foundation.
Dr. Reeve's appointment will solidify the already stellar reputation held by the University of Utah's College of Humanities for its representation of exceptional Mormon scholars.
“With the appointment of Paul, the U has moved into the front rank of schools engaged in the vibrant, intellectual exploration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its institutions, history and people,” said Bob Goldberg, director of the U’s Tanner Humanities Center, which houses the Mormon studies initiative. “He will help advance our goals of fostering understanding, respect and tolerance while expanding the breadth and depth of our program.”
Reeve, who received his doctorate in history from the U, teaches courses on Utah history, Mormon history and the history of the Western U.S. His most recent book, “Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness,” received the Mormon History Association’s Best Book Award, the John Whitmer Historical Association’s Smith-Pettit Best Book Award and the Utah State Historical Society’s Francis Armstrong Madsen Best History Book Award.
“I am honored to hold the Simmons Mormon Studies Professorship and am especially pleased for what it means for the progression of Mormon studies at the U,” said Reeve. “The professorship elevates the status of an already strong Mormon Studies initiative and helps to solidify the U’s position as a leader in the field.”
The appointment will allow Reeve to continue his research and begin a new digital history project, “A Century of Black Mormons.” The project seeks to build a digital database that names all identifiable black Mormons baptized into the faith between 1830 and 1930 and document their existence through primary source research. The database will become publicly available, including the primary source documentation.
“Because of the LDS church’s racial policy, from the 1850s to 1978, which restricted black male priesthood ordination and black male and female temple admission, public perception, both among Mormons and outsiders, sometimes suggests that there were no black Mormons until after 1978. This digital history project is designed to correct that perception and to recover the names and lives of black Mormons who have been erased from collective Mormon memory. Their lives matter and their names deserve to be known,” said Reeve.
In many regards the digital project is a spin-off from of his book, “Religion of a Different Color,” which tells the Mormon racial story in all of its complexity. The book documents the lives of early black priesthood holders and other black pioneers.
“As I gave book talks across the country to various audiences, people frequently wanted
to know how many black Mormons there were. No scholar to date has tried to systematically
answer that question. This professorship will allow me to do just that,” added Reeve.
Most Recent Faculty News
Paul Reeve, professor of history at the University of Utah, and the J. Willard Marriott Library have collaborated to develop a public history project,“Century of Black Mormons,” a database that illuminates the history of black members in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Our award-winning and internationally-recognized faculty educate students in a myriad of time periods, world regions and areas of interest. Guided Pathways will allow students to customize a learning experience specific to their interests and future career goals.
New for 2018, we are introducing a regular blog post feature from our faculty members wherein they tackle current topics from a historical perspective. Our inaugural essay comes from Dr. Nadja Durbach on the phenomenon of "lunch shaming" schoolchildren and its relationship to education standards in the United Kingdom in the early 20th century.
Dr. Elizabeth Clement, along with other specialists from the College of Law and Marriott Library, contributed to Quiet Heroes, which will be screened at this year's Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Dr. Clement served as historical consultant and conducted interviews with subjects in the film. She has also worked to solicit and evaluate archival materials and conduct oral histories.
In Spring 2018, Dr. Maile Arvin will begin teaching her first classes with the U History Department, rounding out our course offerings with her expertise in the Pacific Islands. Professor Arvin comes to us from her postdoctural fellowship at UC Riverside and will also be teaching classes for the Gender Studies department. Enjoy this brief introduction to Professor Arvin and her work!
History Professor Dr. Paul Reeve has been appointed the first Simmons Mormon Studies professor, advancing the University's Mormon Studies initiative.
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Associate professor of history Dr. Bradley Parker has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue his archaeological work on Inca and Wari Imperialism in Ayacucho, Peru.
Safi S. M. Safiullah, a native of Bangladesh and Manager of the Salt Lake City Public Library’s Marmalade Branch, was recognized for his career in community engagement and lifelong support of libraries and education around the world.
The American Historical Society has announced its participants for the 2017-18 Career Diversity for Historians Faculty Institute, including Department Chair and Professor Eric Hinderaker, Professor Matt Basso, Professor Greg Smoak, and Professor Paul Reeve.
Dr. Clement was one of 20 faculty members selected out of over 200 nominations to receive this year's award. Her nomination by student Amy Brown emphasized Dr. Clemet's "dedication to helping students find resources, figuring out their career passions, and realize the possibilities that exist for their futures".
Professor Matthew Basso has been named the State Scholar for the Smithsonian Institute's The Way We Worked, a Museum on Main Street program. Presented by Utah Humanities and the Smithsonian Institute, this exhibition of work and labor in American history began its year-long Utah tour in January at the Ogden Union Station.
Danielle Olden, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. The year-long NEH Fellowship will enable Danielle to complete her book, Racial Uncertainties: Mexican Americans, School Desegregation, and the Making of Race in Post-Civil Rights America,which examines Denver, Colorado's battle over school desegregation in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Professor Bradley Parker guests on the Thinking Aloud podcast to discuss Utah's archaeological treasures, the dangers facing petroglyphs and material remains, and how archaeologists and the public can work to preserve them for future generations.
Professor Beth Clement’s ongoing work on the AIDS epidemic has supported the production of a documentary on HIV in Utah, part of which just appeared in Still Here, an eight-minute short film hosted by VideoWest. Click on "Read more" for the link.