The lecture, entitled, “Native Kin: Latter-Day Saints and the Politics of Interracial Marriage in the 19th and 20th Centuries” analyzes the experiences of the American Indians and Native Hawaiians who became a part of white Latter-day Saint families, highlighting the intertwining of Latter-day Saint theology and American ideas about race, sexuality and the nature of colonialism.

Hendrix-Komoto is an expert on the history of the American West, religion and sexuality, as well as public history. The talk is based on Hendrix-Komoto’s book, “Imperial Zions: Religion, Race, and Family in the American West and Pacific,” which was published in Oct. 2020 by University of Nebraska Press. The book shows how Latter-day Saints developed their ideas about polygamy while trying to reshape the domestic practices of Indigenous Americans and Pacific Islanders. Her book is a key intervention into our understandings of the role of Latter-day Saints in U.S. settler colonialism and empire.

Sponsored by the USD Department of History, the Schell Lecture is named after Dean Herbert S. Schell (1899-1994), who served the Department of History, USD and the State of South Dakota for 43 years. Schell provided leadership as department chair from 1946 to 1955 at USD. From 1936 to 1964, he administered the Graduate School serving first as director and then as dean. Following his retirement, Schell served as university archivist and received the title dean emeritus in 1969. Among other honors, he was presented the Will G. Robinson Memorial Award and was inducted into the Western Writers Hall of Fame for his work in western and South Dakota history. Schell was also the first scholar to receive the annual South Dakota Cowboy and Western Heritage Hall of Fame Writer of the Year Award in 1983.

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