Society for the Scientific Study of Religion/Mormon Social Science Association slides from this week
A few hours after presenting at AECT on Thursday morning, I hopped on a plane to Salt Lake City, so that I could attend the 2023 conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion—especially the sessions associated with the Mormon Social Science Association. I’m giving three presentations today and wanted to include my slides here for anyone else who’s interested: I’d be happy to talk more about any of these!
A couple of months ago, Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune mentioned the work that Amy Chapman and I have been doing on the far-right-influenced DezNat movement. Shortly after Peggy’s article was published, someone who coordinates an unofficial series of Latter-day Saint-related firesides reached out to us about speaking to their group about our research on the DezNat movement. Before accepting, we made it clear that our work isn’t devotional, neither of us are practicing Latter-day Saints, and our work could be understood as critical of cultural and institutional Mormonism; however, the fireside organizers said that they were used to getting into controversial topics related to Mormonism and that our work was welcome with them.
Next month, I’m flying to Salt Lake City to attend the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion to present some of my work about social media, religion, and the far right. I’ll be presenting on three different projects at SSSR—this was biting off more than I could chew, but since two of them connect with Mormonism, Salt Lake suggested the possibility of a larger-than-usual audience for that work, so there you go.
This past weekend, Peggy Fletcher Stack at the Salt Lake Tribune published an article about the #DezNat movement on Mormon Twitter, which takes cues from far-right and anti-feminist online communities. In her article, Peggy was kind enough to reference (and quote from) my new publication with Amy Chapman in the Journal of the Mormon Social Science Association, which presents the (partial) results of a qualitative analysis of over 1,400 DezNat tweets from 2019.
I am very happy to announce that a paper I wrote with Amy Chapman is finally published and available open access in the Journal of the Mormon Social Science Association (I have also archived a PDF of the article on my website, available at this link). Amy and I began this project in the spring/summer of 2019, so it’s a relief to finally see our first paper in print. In short, the paper is a descriptive look at tweets using the #DezNat hashtag; DezNat, short for either Deseret Nation or Deseret Nationalism (depending on who you ask) is a movement of arch-conservative Mormons on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet.
It’s been over a year since Levi Sands, Amy Chapman, and I started talking about doing a topic model analysis of the LDS Freedom Forum, an online space for far-right Mormonism. I’ve usually been the one slowing us down, but today, I finally checked off a task that’s been on my lost for a month and a half. I’m really excited about the project, I just need to stop dragging my feet.
This morning, we got copyedits back on our first DezNat piece, so I’ve been going through them. I appreciate having a copyeditor who’s better at mechanics and style than I am, but since I consider myself a pretty good writer, it’s also pretty humbling.
Amy Chapman and I currently have an in-press paper on the far-right inspired DezNat movement on Mormon Twitter, and we’ve also been at work on a second paper covering all our analysis we couldn’t fit in the first paper. In particular, we’re interested in how the DezNat movement conceptualizes (and claims) religious authority. I spent time this morning getting back into the flow of this paper and reading up on Weber, whose tripartite model of authority ought to be helpful here.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 2022 meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion to present research with Amy Chapman on how the reactionary DezNat movement on Mormon Twitter conceptualizes and claims—but ultimately problematizes—religious authority in the online sphere. We presented in one of the sessions sponsored by the Mormon Social Science Association and were lucky enough to have some good conversations and receive some helpful feedback.
In my second-to-last year of grad school, I was asked to give a research talk as part of my program’s prospective student day. My talk was representing the “educational technology” part of the program, and the incomparable Kristy Robinson gave a talk reresenting the “educational psychology” part (to this day, when I’m struggling with a bout of imposter syndrome, I still remind myself that my grad program let me present alongside someone of Kristy’s caliber, so I must have something going for me).