Princeton Conference on Mormonism and American Politics

Astute bloggernacle readers will note the similarity between my title and Russell’s, announcing a conference at Princeton with most of the rock stars of Mormon Studies. They should call it MoPalooza. This post is just to let you know that we were on the distribution list for the Press Release, too. Here it is:

Press Release

Mormonism and American Politics Conference at Princeton University, November 9-10.

Mitt Romney’s run for the White House raises perennial questions about the place of religion in the public square and offers scholars an interesting occasion to reconsider the contested intersection of religion and politics. The media has made much of Romney’s religion and so have some sectors of the American public. What can we learn from public attitudes about Mormonism? Are the religious beliefs of a political candidate relevant to serving in office, and if so, how? Are there political implications to Mormonism? Do the legislative records and political careers of other Mormon politicians shed any light on this question? In what ways is Mormonism politically comparable to other religious groups?

This conference will explore some of these issues in four separate panels that will discuss 1) the earliest encounters of Mormonism and American politics, 2) Mormonism as a case study for church/state separation 3) the media perceptions of Mormonism and 4) the role religious identity plays in the public square.

Participants include Richard Bushman, Richard Land, Kathleen Flake, Philip Barlow, Marci Hamilton, Alan Wolfe, Helen Whitney, Mark Silk, Noah Feldman, Sarah Barringer Gordon, Stephen Macedo, Thomas Griffith, Melissa Proctor, Robert George, Russell Arben Fox, Chris Karpowitz, David Campbell, John Green, and Francis Beckwith.

The event begins Friday, November 9th at 8:00 p.m. and continues until 5:00 Saturday, November 10th. It is free and open to the public.

For more information please see here.


  1. Steve Evans says:

    SO glad I declined the invitation to participate.

  2. Steve, I lobbied so hard for you over Bro. Bushman and you declined? There goes my reputation at Princeton!

  3. Randy Cragun says:

    Ray, I hope you see this comment. I must apologize to all the others who read this and are bored to tears (or annoyed). Ray, you mentioned that Mitt Romney was your stake president. I am a student in political psychology at Oregon State University, and I am in the middle of developing a psychological analysis of Romney and his leadership, and would appreciate any help you could give. My email is, if you can be of any assistance. Thanks so much.

    Randy Cragun

  4. Kevin Barney says:


    I am familiar with the following names:

    Richard Bushman
    Kathleen Flake
    Philip Barlow
    Melissa Proctor
    Helen Whitney
    Russell Arben Fox
    Sarah Barringer Gordon
    Francis Beckwith

    I am not with the following list; any insights on who these folks are?

    Mark Silk
    Noah Feldman
    Marci Hamilton
    Alan Wolfe
    Richard Land
    Stephen Macedo
    Thomas Griffith
    Robert George
    Chris Karpowitz
    David Campbell
    John Green

  5. Noah Feldman is a professor at Harvard Law School (recently poached from NYU Law). Astute bloggernacle addicts may remember reading an interesting New York Times Magazine article–linked to in the T&S sidebar–he wrote about religious boundaries and exclusion in connection with the Orthodox Jewish community in which he was raised.

    Thomas Griffith is a judge on the D.C. Circuit and former General Counsel of BYU. When he spoke to a group of LDS students at HLS last fall, his remarks included something to the effect of, “If you aren’t making sure that your career is in accord with your moral obligations, then you’re going to hell. And your temple recommend will burn with you!” It was pretty awesome.

  6. Steve Evans says:

    Chris Karpowitz is, IIRC, a political science professor at BYU. Marci Hamilton is a con law professor at Cardozo who’s published on religious freedoms.

    The only Noah Feldman I’ve heard of is a Harvard professor, but I doubt it’s the same one.

  7. Robert George is a Princeton professor in Politics who teaches Con Interp and Civil Liberties and runs the James Madison Program. I took Civil Liberties with him and he has tried to be pretty LDS friendly (Although I think this is because he thinks we are all as conservative as he is…).

    Chris Karpowitz got his Ph.d from a couple years back.

    Marci Hamilton is visiting Professor in the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.

    Stephen Macedo is a professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values.

    As for the rest, I don’t know.

  8. Uh, that should say that Chris Karpowitz got his Ph.d from Princeton a couple years back…

  9. Here’s the Feldman link Evans references:

    Meanwhile, Weakypedia says about Feldman–

    Work and views. As an academic and public intellectual, Feldman is concerned with issues at the intersection of religion and politics. […]

  10. Robert George is a prominent conservative political science professor at Princeton. The alumni magazine ran an article on him a few years back called “The Heretic in the Temple” (because most of the other political science faculty are left-liberal types).

  11. (It’s Anna who mentioned the link–sorry)

  12. all glory to Anna!

  13. I say if Kevin Barney doesn’t know them, they must not be very important :)

  14. (or else they don’t blog anywhere prominent on the Bloggernacle)

  15. queno, unlike the rest of us, Kevin actually has a life, and writes real papers and reads books!

  16. This comment is just to let you know that I was not on the distribution list for the Press Release.

    I recognize the name of Alan Wolfe, a political scientist and sociologist at Boston College who wrote The Transformation of American Religion: How We Actually Live Our Faith, which contains a section on Mormonism.

    Land is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

  17. Christopher says:

    Mark Silk is the director for the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College.

    He is the author and editor of a number of books dealing with Religion, Politics, and Culture in America. He has also published on Religious persecution and the law, and edited the Religion and Public Life regional series, including Religion and Public Life in the Mountain West which he co-edited with Jan Shipps (and which has a chapter by Kathleen Flake on Mormonism, and Religion and Public Life in the Midwest, which he co-edited with Phil Barlow.

  18. Thanks for posting this, Kris. Would you mind fixing the link in the post to make it live?

    Some of these names will certainly be unfamiliar to BCC readers outside the academy, but all of the participants are first rate in their respective fields. One of my goals in organizing this deliberately interdisciplinary conference was to broaden the conversation beyond those who usually work in “Mormon Studies” to scholars from disciplines as diverse as political science, history, ethics, and law while also including award-winning journalists and documentary filmmakers who have so much influence in shaping public perceptions of Mormonism. This very ambitious conference is the first of its kind in Mormon Studies.

    Do come if you’re at all inclined. It’s free and open to the public.

  19. Steve Evans says:

    Melissa, can you tell me what the product of the conference will be? Will you publish the remarks?

  20. Kevin Barney says:

    It looks terrific, Melissa. Good work!

  21. Does anyone have any insight as to if there will be audio of this conference available on-line?

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