Congregation at Duke Chapel

There's 'No Place' Like Home: Religious Utopian Societies in America

 

There's 'No Place' Like Home: Religious Utopian Societies in America

presentation at Adult Forum by Sonia Hazard
Ph.D. candidate in Religion, Duke University
January 22, 2012

2 pages in book
A few pages from Thomas More's 1516 novel Utopia, which popularized the term.

1. Agenda

  1. Banishing the Curio Cabinet
  2. What is Utopia? Heaven on Earth
  3. Theme: Authority
  4. Theme: Communalism and Equality
  5. Theme: Sexuality and the Body
  6. Theme: Ephemerality
  7. Conclusions and Questions

2. Religious Utopian Societies Mentioned (Out of Thousands!)

  • The Ephrata Cloister (1732 – 1814)
  • Moravians (15th century – present; utopian c. 1720 – 1740)
    drawing of pedalavium
    The Moravian ritual of pedalavium, or foot washing.
  • The Shakers (1774 – ?)
    drawing of Shaker meeting
    A Shaker girl falling into a trance during a meeting.
  • The Harmony Society / Harmonist movement (1803 – 1916)
  • Bethel and Aurora (1844 – 1883)
  • Bishop Hill (1846 – 1861)
    painting of workers in field for wheat harvest
    Olaf Kraus' 1875 painting of Bishop Hill Colony workers.
  • The Oneida Perfectionists (1848 – 1881)
  • Mormons (1830s – present; utopian c. 1830 – 1900)
  • The Woman’s Commonwealth (1867 – 1983)

3. Further Reading

Halloway, Mark. Heavens on Earth: Utopian Communities in America, 1680-1880. London: Turnstile Press, 1951.

Hayden, Dolores. Seven American Utopias: The Architecture of Communitarian Socialism, 1790 – 1975. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1976.

Miller, Timothy. The Quest for Utopia in Twentieth-Century America. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1998.

**Sutton, Robert. Communal Utopias and the American Experience: Religious Communities, 1732-2000. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003.