See You in Park City (or online!) – The 2021 Mormon History Association Conference
I was so thrilled earlier this year to receive my acceptance to present at the 2021 Mormon History Association Conference. I was anxious though, because aside from the nerves inherent in giving my first presentation at an academic conference in over a decade, I didn’t know what the conference would look like or how it would happen. The initial plan had been to meet in Rochester, NY, and with the pandemic still ongoing, I worried that the conference would be cancelled.
I have been amazed to watch as conference co-chairs Anne Berryhill and Joseph Stuart have pivoted from the hope of an indoor conference in New York to a hybrid in-person and digital conference to be held at an outdoor venue in Park City, UT from June 10-12, 2021.
The in-person events will be held at the outdoor Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. This venue will allow for social distancing and the safest conditions for meeting in person. You can check out the preliminary conference program here, including pre-conference tours and hikes, and see the incredible lineup of in-person and online-only panels, discussions, and plenary presentations.
One event I’m excited about is the “Thirty-fifth Anniversary Panel on the Mark Hofmann Case” that will be held at the opening reception on Thursday night and will be livestreamed and recorded for online-only attendees. The panel, moderated by MHA Executive Director Barbara Jones Brown, will bring together historians/authors Sandra Tanner, Allen Roberts, Richard E. Turley, Jr., retired archivist Jeffery Johnson, rare documents dealer Curt Bench, and co-director of “Murder Among the Mormons” (2021) Jared Hess. With the buzz around the new Netflix documentary and the important and sobering impact that the bombings had on the field of Mormon history, I’m interested to hear what these experts have to say.
While I am of course excited for the in-person panels and hope to meet some of the scholars whose names line my bookshelves, I am impressed with the number of online-only offerings. These online panels are bringing together scholars from around the world for a variety of topics and author-meet-critic discussions for some of the most exciting recent publications in Mormon Studies. While the in-person concurrent sessions will not be recorded, the plan is for all of the livestreamed events (indicated on the schedule) and the online-only sessions to be available to watch for the next year. If you can’t make it in person and won’t have time to watch much that weekend in June, you will have plenty of time to make the registration worth your while.
In order to host what I expect will be the most inclusive, most accessible MHA conference ever as currently planned, they will need more people to register. Check out the fee breakdowns for MHA members and non-MHA members, in-person or online-only attendance, and for student pricing. This may make a great gift for the Mormon history-loving friend or family member in your life (Father’s Day? Belated Mother’s Day? A super romantic anniversary gift? For your co-worker who won’t shut up about Mormon podcasts?). Registration ends on May 26.
If you do make it to the conference in person, please feel free to say hi. This will be my first time attending and I can use some friendly faces. If you attend online, I would love to hear what your favorite sessions end up being.