Mormonism as Sound and Medium

A brief seminar brings the disciplines of sound studies and media studies to Mormonism.

Media studies scholarship, broadly conceived, and Mormonism intersect more and more, as is evident by John Durham Peters’ article, “Recording beyond the Grave: Joseph Smith’s Celestial Bookkeeping” in Critical Inquiry (2016), or J. B. Haws’ The Mormon Image in the American Mind: Fifty Years of Public Perception (2013). Much of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’sA House Full of Females (2017) makes use of media prominent in Mormon culture such as the diary and the quilt. Tona Hangen and Julie Allen consistently focus their work on media technologies as well.

Relatively little has been done on Mormonism and sound however, even as sound studies continues to be a burgeoning field in humanistic, historical, and sociological inquiry. In an effort to kickstart that conversation and build on the intersections of Mormonism and media studies, Peter McMurray and Sharon Harris are organizing a mini-seminar, “Mormonism as Sound and Medium” at Harvard University, 12-5PM on May 25, before the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities conference at Boston University. John Durham Peters will open with remarks over lunch, and then the seminar will discuss Mormon primary documents as well as theoretical ideas. Readings include works from Roland Barthes, Mladen Dolar, Friedrich Kittler, Peter McMurray, Steven Connor, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and John Durham Peters, as well as Mormon scripture, hymns, and historical anecdotes. Space is limited. Please register by May 1 by emailing Peter McMurray, or Sharon Harris,


  1. Olde Skool says:

    John D Peters is a massive thinker and should be more widely known in Mormon circles.

  2. Agreed, Olde Skool. He’s very significant to the work of this seminar for sure.

  3. Sound studies and Mormonism? JDP? This is so rad.

  4. BHodges says:

    This looks absolutely fantastic.

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