Thursday, May 21, 2009

An Open Invitation: Warfare 2.0

Some scholars have said that one third of the Book of Mormon is devoted to war. Yet only one book is exclusively devoted to the subject (and is now an out of print collectors item) This book was the product of a symposium held by The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormons Studies back in 1989.

There is a huge demand for the study of warfare in the Book of Mormon. Victory in the book was a product of superior faith, and defeat often the consequences of sin. Warfare touches upon every other subject as well. The composition of armies can use sociological tools, the funding of armies moves towards economics, the reasons for war meld into political science, the experience in battle give us insights into social history, students at war colleges can study the strategy of wars, the inclusion of women and families in Nephite armies can lead to gender studies, and the entire record contains elements of ethnocentric and class bias.

After doing some research of my own and viewing the lack of in depth research concerning this subject and the topics mentioned above, I feel it is time to rejuvenate warfare studies. With this intent I announce a Symposium on Book of Mormon Warfare. This is tentatively entitled Warfare 2.0 in the Book of Mormon, since this is 20 years later than the first symposium. I am looking for those who want to present original research that they have done concerning Warfare in the Book of Mormon (as stated above, this is a diverse topic). Parties simply interested in attending are welcome as well.

I want this symposium to be a place where like minded individuals can get positive feedback for their research, or simply enjoy listening to ideas. You should also mention your location, since I will try to plan it around the center of gravity for warfare scholars. Depending on the quantity of interested persons and quality of papers, I will also try to co sponsor this with outside parties such as FARMS or FAIR or even Southern Virginia University. I also want to invite one major LDS historian and a major non LDS military historian as keynote speakers.

Since this is in the early planning stages I have no date scheduled. I am located at Southern Virginia University, and nearby Lexington is hosting the Society for Military History Annual Conference a year from now,(this is the equivalent of the LDS General Conference for military historians) thus I am leaning towards the same general time and using SVU facilities.

In short, this a chance for all of you budding scholars and Book of Mormon enthusiasts to get your ideas heard in a constructive setting. This is also a chance to generate interest in a greatly neglected but ready to harvest area of Book of Mormon research. I look forward to seeing your comments.


Mormon Heretic said...

I am no expert in warfare, but the conference sounds interesting.

So did you get a job at SVU? Are there openings for math teachers or statisticians there? (I'm looking.)

Morgan Deane said...

Not yet, I am currently applying for the Dean of Admissions job, and maybe I can sweeten the deal for them by voluteering to teach as well. They were looking for math teachers earlier, but right now they are not.

I'm glad you would be interested in a conference. I am hoping to gather interest over the next year so we can get this symposium going.

thefirestillburning said...

Sorry to be so slow in commenting, Morgan, but I've been having trouble with my normal browser crossing over from the WordPress to the Blogspot world thing weekend. I've been able to read, but not to open the comment form when using Open ID.

I want to really encourage what you are doing with this conference, even if my health no longer permits me to travel to the corner drugstore without assistance, let alone Southern Virginia.

I come out of the era when environmental sciences were blossoming in public consciousness, and "interdisciplinary studies" were all the rage. I kept the lesson when I got out of grad school and went to work at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. It was amazing to me how many times in later years things I'd absorbed from casual conversations with the DoD types working in the Lab about terrain or logistics popped up as insights in environmental clean-up or energy conservation projects, for example.

Bringing as many new perspectives to study of the Book of Mormon as possible is something I feel my own denomination very much needs as it charts its future. And I am certain that the LDS can benefit from the idea as well.