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CFP: Space, Place, and the Spirit of Material Culture

Deadline May 20, 2019

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Human creativity shapes and reshapes the material world in many ways. This year’s The Communal Studies Association conference theme is meant to underscore the role of material culture in intentional communities and its link to the creation of objects and spaces within a community, the making of places where intentional communities can be found, and the ideological, spiritual, and material values that are expressed in the objects and landscapes a community makes, owns, uses, or alters. We are looking for studies that focus on how belief and ideology writ broadly create, reflect, and reinforce material culture in intentional communities, and conversely how that material culture creates, influences, promotes, or obstructs an ideology or way of life. How do communities design their own material existence, even if their primary goals are spiritual? How do success and failure in the realm of the material affect the existence and success or failure of the communities themselves? How do communities make room for individual creativity, especially in those instances where the practices are communal? In what ways do contemporary communities handle the material world for their economic survival without letting it compromise their values? Of course, we are also interested in proposals that concern any other topic about intentional communities. Please feel free to submit a proposal on any aspect of communalism or intentional communities.

The 2019 conference will be held at the beautiful Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Delaware, and those attending the conference will have an opportunity to present their papers in some of its wonderful venues and special spaces, attend workshops and tours exploring Winterthur’s collections, as well as participate in pre-conference tours of nearby communities with a special focus on communities of the twentieth century.