Habits of Being: Mormon Women’s Material Culture at Sunstone

We were planning to announce this exciting project on Monday, but it goes so beautifully with Alisa’s post today, I couldn’t resist posting this a little early.

Exponent II is organizing an exhibit of Mormon women’s material culture for this year’s Sunstone Symposium to be held at Weber State University, August 3-6. The exhibit, Habits of Being: Mormon Women’s Material Culture will feature a photo-display of artifacts bequeathed to modern women by their female ancestors, accompanied by a short, 250-500 word essay describing the artifact and its significance. We plan to publish the essays in a small booklet and, if we receive too many responses to display, possibly online as well.

So much of women’s history is encoded in women’s possessions and creations, yet the stories of these items often go untold because they are not deemed to be as important as the events of institutional and world histories. Through this exhibit, we would like to explore how Mormon women today interact with their ancestral, religious, and material pasts. What does this interaction teach us about Mormon womanhood, past or present? What is the wisdom that has been imparted through material things and the stories women tell about them? We hope that the exhibit will open a conversation about how we use artifacts to define ourselves as women, to preserve past meanings and ways of being, and to create new meanings and ways of being. If anything, this is an opportunity for you to explore your own spiritual and material history and to contribute to Mormon women’s history.  

If you have an artifact and story to tell, you are invited to participate!  Please comment below and/or email scholaristas@gmail.com for further details about deadlines and what exactly we would need from you.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Pinborough (EXII staff and a blogger at Scholaristas) for coming up with and organizing this project!


EmilyCC lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her spouse and three children. She currently serves as a stake Just Serve specialists, and she recently returned to school to become a nurse. She is a former editor of Exponent II and a founding blogger at The Exponent.

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2 Responses

  1. In terms of accessibility to a wider audience and collecting a wide range of objects, is there any reason not to publish online first?

    I’m thinking of scholar Minh-Ha T. Pham‘s Tumblr site Of Another Fashion, which collects images of the fashion history of US women of color. OAF takes picture submissions from readers, and the captions often include family stories about the clothing depicted. I could easily envision this exhibit following a similar pattern.

    • Liz says:

      Shane, excellent idea! And Tumblr might be the perfect format for an online launch of the project. I am not sure if we will put things online before the exhibit at Sunstone–that might be the place to debut the site. Women’s history and technology is definitely an avenue we plan to explore in the panel. Thank you so much for your savvy suggestion!

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