UVSC and Utah State have growing Religious Studies programs. The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology will hold its fourth annual meeting at BYU in March 2007 (they are still accepting paper submissions). The broad title of BYU’s new Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship could be construed to include theology in its scope, and the Summer Seminar Richard Bushman and Terryl Givens hosted this past summer through the Maxwell Institute produced several intriguing and theological graduate student papers (one of my favorites was by an Italian!). Claremont Graduate University is working to establish a Mormon Studies program. As one might expect from simple demographics, there are several points of light in the West. On the other hand, some key events have happened in recent years in the East: the conference at Yale on Mormon philosophy and history in 2003, the conference on Joseph Smith at the Library of Congress in 2005, and a graduate student conference to be held at Yale this coming February. While many of the graduate students in religion collect in the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic area is also showing some signs of promise. Celebrated Mormon scholar Terryl Givens teaches in Richmond, predominantly Mormon Southern Virginia University has two philosophers on staff, and young upstart Nate Oman will probably mingle some theology with his law scholarship now and then while at William and Mary. The American Academy of Religion meeting in D.C. this year also features Mormon topics in at least three sessions. Theology is unpopular in many Mormon circles nowadays, partly because of traditional Christian errors, but Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were not fideists, and theology is cropping up here and there despite the pessimism. Where will it turn up next?
(I have left a lot of important people, events, and institutions out of the above; feel free to add them in the comments!)