Josh Probert—“carving out uniquely Mormon worlds”

06.20.2018 | The Maxwell Institute

The Maxwell Institute is pleased to welcome Josh Probert as a visiting scholar from June 2018 through June 2019. Probert is a historian who specializes in American architecture, decorative arts, and the material culture of religion, having received his PhD in American history from the University of Delaware in cooperation with the Winterthur Museum. Probert currently works as a historic interiors consultant to the LDS Church on various projects related to nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century temples and teaches as an adjunct professor in BYU’s departments of history and art history.

Josh Probert

I’m interested in the way people draw upon the cultural resources of their material environment to create religious worlds and the ways that these solutions stay constant and also change over time. Having grown up as a Latter-day Saint in Central Utah, I’m interested in the way Mormons have selectively drawn upon the material discourses of Christianity and western gentility in order to carve out uniquely Mormon worlds. Why were some of these styles and approaches abandoned? How they are changing today? These questions help illuminate the things my fellow Latter-day Saints and I have inherited.”
While at the Maxwell Institute, he’ll be working on two projects: first, bringing to publication the late Paul L. Anderson’s manuscript Mormon Moderne: Latter-day Saint Architecture, 1890–1955 and second, reworking and publishing his dissertation, Gilded Religion in the Age of Tiffany, 1877–1932.