Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness: Author Paul Reeve Speaks

The Charles Redd Center will sponsor a lecture by author and historian Paul ReevePaul Reeve, titled “Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness” on January 27. Reeve, who teaches at the University of Utah, will base his comments from evidence found in his recent book, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness. Paul Reeve suggests that Mormon whiteness in the nineteenth century was a contested variable, not an assumed fact.

Situating the Mormon racial story within the broader context of a very fluid and illogical American racial history, Reeve will address the evolution of Mormon whiteness over time and offer a new lens through which to view the evolving priesthood and temple bans within Mormonism. Reeve also argues that one way in which Mormons attempted to secure whiteness for themselves was in distancing themselves from their fellow black Mormons. For more information about upcoming lectures scheduled by the Redd Center for the winter semester, click here.

Religion of a Different Color book cover

Paul has published a book on the subject, entitled, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, was published by Oxford University Press in February 2015.  He is also the author of Making Space on the Western Frontier: Mormons, Miners, and Southern Paiutes, and co-editor with Ardis E. Parshall of Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia.  With Michael Van Wagenen, he co-edited Between Pulpit and Pew: The Supernatural World in Mormon History and Folklore. He is the former Associate Chair of the History Department at the University of Utah and current Director of Graduate Studies where he teaches courses on Utah history, Mormon history, and the history of the U.S. West.  He is the recipient of the University of Utah’s Early Career Teaching Award and of the College of Humanities Ramona W. Cannon Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.  He serves on the Board of Editors of the Utah Historical Quarterly and was a past board member of the Mormon History Association and the Faculty Advisory Council of the University of Utah Press.