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March 2013


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Nicole Roth <[log in to unmask]>
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Wed, 27 Mar 2013 13:09:24 -0400
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To: The George Mason University Community

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the 
following dissertation defense:

      Jennifer Reeder
      Major Professor: Dr. Paula Petrik

      "To Do Something Extraordinary": Mormon Women and the Creation of
      a Usable Past

Monday, April 22, 2013
01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
George Mason University, Fairfax Campus
Johnson Center, Room B

On 17 March 1842, twenty-two women of the Church of Jesus Christ of 
Latter-day Saints gathered in Nauvoo, Illinois, under the direction of 
their prophet, Joseph Smith, to organize a female counterpart to 
priesthood and patriarchal leadership. The women elected lady leaders 
and established a purpose: to save souls and provide relief to the poor. 
"We are going to do something extraordinary," said Emma Smith, first 
Relief Society president. "We expect pressing calls and extraordinary 
occasions." The Relief Society engaged in religious, charitable, 
economic, political, and cultural activity and initiated a new emphasis 
on recording, remembering, and retaining the authority of the past.

This dissertation examines the way Mormon women remembered and 
commemorated the Nauvoo Relief Society for the next fifty years through 
the lens of material culture. Hair wreaths, quilts, buildings, posters, 
and hand-painted poetry books illustrate the transition of Mormonism 
through isolation in Utah to acceptance by mainstream America, based on 
the way the women presented their identity and their heritage. They 
selected the pieces of the past that would appeal to their audience, 
always maintaining a memory of their Nauvoo roots.

Copies of the dissertation will be on reserve in the Johnson Center 
Library. The doctoral project will not be read at the meeting, but 
should be read in advance.

All members of the George Mason University community are invited to attend.