University of Virginia is the first major public university to establish a Mormon studies chair. You may recall that we did a post on the creation of this endowed chair in December 2012.
We can now announce that Kathleen Flake has been named as the first Bushman Chair of Mormon Studies at UVA. She comes to Charlottesville after a career in law and a stint as a professor of American religious history at Vanderbilt. Here is a taste of the press release:
Flake will begin teaching classes this spring. One course will focus on America’s newer religious movements: Scientology, the Nation of Islam and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A second course will examine variety of Scriptural texts produced in America, from the many versions of the Bible to entirely new bible-like texts, such as the Book of Mormon, she said.
Flake also plans to continue her research on 19th-century Mormonism’s highly gendered power structure, with an upcoming book on early Mormonism’s plural marriages.
“It is an honor to be named to this chair,” she said. “Professor Bushman is rightly considered one of the premier historians of early American social, cultural and political history. Those who occupy this position, not least myself, have been set a high bar of accomplishment, and his name on this chair signifies a pattern for our future endeavors.”
U.Va.’s Bushman Chair was established with a $3 million endowment funded by anonymous donors. Fundraising is under way to support student scholarships, special lectures and conferences.
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