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Graduate Research Fellowship in Mormon Studies

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The first of its kind in the nation, the Tanner Humanities Center's Mormon Studies fellowship provides a doctoral student funds to spend a year researching the history, beliefs, and culture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members, or any religious group that traces its roots to Joseph Smith Jr. This fellowship is open to all dissertation level students of the Mormon Experience from any university in the United States or from around the world. Areas of focus include, but are not limited to: Theology, History, Sociology, Economics, Literature, Philosophy, and Political Science.

This fellowship supports academic scholarship.  It seeks to enlighten and educate while grounding understanding in serious research. Serious academic scholarship does not disparage or denigrate any religion, organization, people, or group. The fellow must be affiliated with a university and actively enrolled in a Ph.D. program.  A committee, chaired by W. Paul Reeve, Simmons Professor of Mormon Studies, and composed of scholars and members of the community who are informed and sensitive to the needs of Mormon Studies, select the fellow annually. 

The fellowship was originally established with a grant from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. Thanks to our generous donors, a $400,000 endowed fund has been created to ensure future funding for excellent Mormon Studies doctoral students from across the country. 

The deadline for the 2020-21 Mormon Studies Fellowship application is March 2, 2020.

2020-21 MORMON STUDIES FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION (.PDF)  2020-21 Mormon Studies Fellowship Application (.doc)

Hannah Jung


HANNAH JUNG, Department of History, Brandeis University

Hannah’s research project investigates secrecy as a cultural phenomenon that shaped the lives of Mormon polygamous families in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Foregrounding the experiences of families, she examines their practices of secrecy and how secrets changed Mormons’ relationship to the government and their religious community.


Sasha Coles

2019-2020 | SASHA COLES
Department of History, University of California, Santa Barbara

My project, titled “Homespun Respectability: Silk Worlds, Women’s Work, and the Making of Mormon Identity, 1850-1910s,” traces the history of silk production in the nineteenth-century American West to argue that early Latter-day Saints used labor, commerce, and commodities to negotiate their identities as religious outsiders and respectable American citizens.

David Dmitri Hurlbut

Department of History, Boston University

In “Understanding the Rise of Mormonism in the Aba-Uyo Hinterlands of Nigeria, 1960-2005,” Hurlbut examines why the Igbo and Ibibio of Southern Nigeria abandoned established mission churches and African indigenous churches in order to join the LDS Church in the late-twentieth century. It also asks how this religious change affected not only the LDS Church’s policies and practices, but also Igbo and Ibibio culture. This project will provide insights into religious conversion in Africa, cultural change, and the transformation of Mormonism into a global faith during the second half of the 20th century.

Cristina Rosetti

Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Riverside

My project analyzes the historic connections between nineteenth-century Mormons and spiritualists and investigates how and why the practice of spirit communication translates into the present for Mormon members of outlier groups. In particular, I am interested in the ways that Mormon individuals and groups utilize this practice to harness spiritual power.

Gavin Feller

2016-2017 | GAVIN FELLER
Department of Communication, University of Iowa

Enamored but Ambivalent: Mormonism and 20th Century New Media is an interdisciplinary and interpretive analysis of Mormonism’s historical relationship with new media technology. Feller plans to explore the existing tensions by examining Mormonism’s approach to emerging radio, television, and Internet technologies across the 20th century. 

Stanley Thayne

2015-2016 | STANLEY THAYNE
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

My dissertation project situates and examines articulations of Book of Mormon identity by American Indian Latter-day Saints as an emergent Indigenous subjectivity. Since The Book of Mormon purports to be a history of the ancient Americas and narrates a racialized origin story, it has a profound influence on the way many American Indian Latter-day Saints view their past and present identity.

Nathan Jones

2014-2015 | NATHAN JONES
University of Utah

Nathan's research project, titled “Mormon Political Thought in an Age of Pluralism,” examines the effects of political pluralism on the Mormon Church and its people since the late-nineteenth century and explores the competing strands of political thought that emerged.

Mees Tielens

2013-2014 | MEES TIELENS
Dortmund University, Germany

Mees's research project, titled “The Ritualization of Modern Mormon History: Tracing Global Memory in a Global Zion,” investigates the transnational context of Mormonism by tracing cultural memory as it passes borders (both real and imagined, physical and cultural) in a global Mormon community.

Rosemary Avance

University of Pennsylvania

Rosemary's research project, titled “Voices and Silences: On the Construction of Mormon Identities,” considers the ways that modern Mormon identities are rendered from multiple, often conflicting sources: authorities, faithful members, the secular media, and former Mormons.

Max Mueller

2011-2012 | MAX MUELLER
Harvard University 

Max's research project, titled “Beyond the Priesthood: Race and Gender in the History of African American Mormons” examines the experiences of early black Mormon pioneers—most notably Jane Manning James—in light of the evolving racial and gender politics in Utah from the arrival of the first pioneers to Salt Lake in 1847 through Utah statehood in 1896.

Kate Holbrook

2010-2011 | KATE HOLBROOK
Boston University

Kate's research project, titled “Radical Food: Mormon Foodways and the Ameri­can Mainstream,” examines LDS food cul­ture throughout the mid-20th century and how this culture affected the relationship between Mormons and broader society. Kate is now affiliated with the Department of Church History.

Past Applications (for reference only):

2019-20 Mormon Studies Fellowship Application (Word)
2019-20 Mormon Studies Fellowship Application (PDF)
2018-19 Mormon Studies Fellowship Application (Word)
2018-19 Mormon Studies Fellowship Application (PDF)
2016-2017 Mormon Studies Fellowship Application (Word)
2016-2017 Mormon Studies Fellowship Application (PDF) 


Last Updated: 5/21/20