Program Director
Jenn Dorsey 518-782-6947
shakerworkshop@siena.edu      

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Readings, Lectures and Research

Assigned Readings 

Academic rigor and intellectual exploration are the hallmarks of the NEH Landmark Workshop. Presently, we are putting the finishing touches on a detailed study plan for the week. The detailed study plan will include a schedule of daily events (lecture, tours, meals, discussion) and will be sent to you on June 1. For now I am pleased to share with you the reading assignments, lecture topics and the schedule of site visits.  

 

Dr. Stephen Stein’s The Shaker Experience in America (Yale University Press, 1992) will serve as our common reading for Heaven on Earth. Considered a foundational text in modern Shaker scholarship, Stein traces the Shaker movement from the 1780s to the 1960s and covers a range of topics from Shaker leadership, theology, material culture and institutional development. 

 

We will also read Dr. Carol Medlicott's Isaachar Bates: A Shaker's Journey (University Press of New England, 2013). It is a scholarly biography of Isaachar Bates, a convert to the Shaker faith in 1801 who was one of the most charismatic missionary preachers and was regarded by many Shakers as the "father" of the Shaker west.  

 

Finally, we will read Dr. Glendyne Wergland’s Sisters in the Faith:Shaker Women and Equality of the Sexes (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011). Sisters examines the unique experience of Shaker women: why they joined the Shaker movement; how they were viewed by the outside community, and their relationships with Shaker brothers and elders among other themes. 

  

Please download the comprehensive reading schedule, which includes reading assignments for the site visits and discussion sessions.

 

Workshop Lectures

I am pleased that both Dr. Wergland and Dr. Medlicott have agreed to participate in the workshop as visiting scholars. Each of us will lead the group in discussion of the assigned readings. We will also deliver lectures that will provide historical context for understanding the Shaker movement in the early nineteenth century. My own area of interest is economy and labor. I will deliver a lecture titled "The Communitarian Critique" as context for understanding communitarian movement as a critique of the so-called Market Revolution. Dr. Wergland will lecture on “The Status of Women in Early America” and “Shaker Women & Equality of the Sexes.” Dr. Medlicott will lecture on “Advancing Shakerism across the American Frontier” and “Hymns and Songs in the Formation of the Shaker Collective.”

Research Projects

The goal of the NEH Landmark Workshop is to empower NEH Summer Scholars to apply what they learn in lecture, discussions and site visits to enrich their curriculum. To that end, you should come to the workshop prepared to revise existing curriculum or to develop the elements of a new teaching guide (aim, rationale, goals and objectives, instructional plan, materials). The workshop study plan includes one to two hours each day for Summer Scholars to brainstorm with the workshop faculty and each other on how to apply their discoveries about American Shakerism to their teaching.

Deborah Escobar will be available to mentor and advise NEH Summer Scholars as they experiment with how to apply their fresh insights and new knowledge. Deb has coordinated the Gifted and Talented program at Farnsworth Middle School for twenty years. She has created curriculum and taught courses in history, mythology, law, geography, philosophy, and debate. She has led teacher workshops and been an active participant in National History Day programming. She has published several workbooks and articles on teaching with documents as well as resources for students who want to research and produce history documentaries.