Kathleen Flake has been named the inaugural Richard Lyman Bushman Chair of Mormon Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, making UVA the first major public university to establish a Mormon studies chair.
Flake, previously a professor at Vanderbilt, researches religion in 19th- and 20th-century North America, and has a forthcoming book on early Mormonism’s plural marriages.
“Mormonism’s … ideological roots, as well as the more human question of why so many were convinced of its claims, are part of a well-kept public record,” Flake says. “[This] makes Mormonism an extraordinarily rich and complex example of religious formation.”
Mormonism is America’s fourth-largest religious denomination. Its growth and political influence in this country has helped establish Mormon studies as an emerging academic field.