Quincy Newell

Associate Professor of Religious Studies Quincy Newell was recently awarded a $40,000 Sabbatical Grant for Researchers by the Louisville Institute. The grant will support her book project titled Marginal Mormons: African Americans and Native Americans in the Nineteenth-Century Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

According to Newell’s grant proposal, Marginal Mormons explores “the intersection of 19th-century racial and religious identities by examining the experiences of African American and Native American Mormons.”

She said her work “expands our understanding of 19th-century African American religion by analyzing how a small group of African Americans constructed religious identities in a church that became known in the 20th century for excluding black people.”

Newell also aims to contribute to the understanding of Native American religions by exploring how Native Americans adopted and adapted Mormonism when it was rarely politically or economically advantageous to do so.

Most importantly, Newell said, by examining the histories of both African American and Native American Mormons – whose experiences differed greatly, her work increases the understanding of how racial, gender and religious identities are all essential in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other religious traditions. “This understanding is critical for North American congregations of every denomination,” she said.

According to its website, “the Louisville Institute is a Lilly endowment-funded program based at Louisville Seminary supporting those who lead and study North American religious institutions.”

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