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Date & Time

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
6:30 PM


Seminary Co-op Bookstore


Free and open to the public

More Information


Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381


Peter Coviello discusses "Make Yourselves Gods: Mormons and the Unfinished Business of American Secularism." He will be joined in conversation by Kathryn Lofton. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

About the book: Trom the perspective of Protestant America, nineteenth-century Mormons were the victims of a peculiar zealotry, a population deranged––socially, sexually, even racially––by the extravagances of belief they called “religion.” "Make Yourselves Gods" offers a counter-history of early Mormon theology and practice, tracking the Saints from their emergence as a dissident sect to their renunciation of polygamy at century’s end.

Over these turbulent decades, Mormons would appear by turns as heretics, sex-radicals, refugees, anti-imperialists, colonizers, and, eventually, reluctant monogamists and enfranchised citizens. Reading Mormonism through a synthesis of religious history, political theology, native studies, and queer theory, Peter Coviello deftly crafts a new framework for imagining orthodoxy, citizenship, and the fate of the flesh in nineteenth-century America. What emerges is a story about the violence, wild beauty, and extravagant imaginative power of this era of Mormonism—an impassioned book with a keen interest in the racial history of sexuality and the unfinished business of American secularism.

About the author: Peter Coviello is professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His books include "Tomorrow’s Parties: Sex and the Untimely in Nineteenth-Century America" and "Long Players: A Love Story in Eighteen Songs."

About the interlocutor: Kathryn Lofton is professor of religious studies, American studies, history and divinity at Yale University.