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Depicting A Mormon Moment: Mormon Characters and Mormon Authors in American Popular Culture. Call for Chapters (1 February 14)
full name / name of organization:
Mark Decker and Michael Austin
When Mitt Romney captured the Republican presidential nomination, news outlets such as Time, CNN, and the Huffington Post had already begun to talk about a “Mormon Moment” in the United States. At the same time that the Romney campaign focused the nation’s attention on the LDS Church, a variety of media forces combined to spread the Mormon Moment across the culture. Between Romney’s entrance into the 2008 presidential campaign and the present, The Book of Mormon became a Broadway hit, Big Love concluded its run, Cody Brown moved his complicated family to Las Vegas, and Brady Udall wrote another well-received novel about Mormon oddballs. And Mormon writers treating a variety of subjects—most of them not explicitly Mormon—have become more popular than they have ever been. Stephenie Meyer’s vampire novels and their film adaptations became phenomenally popular while causing many to wonder if Bella and Edward’s romance has Mormon inflections. Shortly, the release of the big-budget movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s science fiction novel Ender’s Game will bring increased scrutiny to Card’s politics and religious commitments.
While pundits and political scientists can – and should – opine about the political implications of Romney’s Mormon Moment, the cultural Mormon Moment deserves its own investigation. Consequently, this volume will explore what this fascination with Mormon characters and Mormon authors says about American culture. Specific questions might include:
• Does critical preoccupation with an author’s Mormonism create the perception of a Mormon text, or are Mormon authors employing Mormon themes to reach an unsuspecting mass audience?
The editors encourage submissions from a variety of theoretical perspectives concerning texts that portray Mormons or texts that were written or created by people who self-present as engaged Mormons. Preference will be given to proposals dealing with texts designed to reach a broad audience. Discussions of texts created for a Mormon audience will not be considered unless a strong argument for crossover appeal is made.
Proposals should be sent to both editors as a Microsoft Word, Pages, or rich text document attached to an email. Contact information below: