The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife (founded in 1976) is pleased to announce the subject of next year’s conference, Religious Spaces: Our Vanishing Landmarks, to be held in Deerfield, Massachusetts in June 2018.
The Dublin Seminar is now accepting proposals for papers, presentations, tours, exhibits, and workshops on New England meetinghouses, churches, and other religious spaces of all denominations in the period 1622 through 1865. We are interested in theoretical approaches to the region’s architectural and religious history, specifically questions dealing with houses of worship as an Atlantic phenomenon; European, North American, or Caribbean building styles; design, construction, and furnishing techniques; private versus collective worship; the decline of the “parish” system; issues involving seating, legal jurisdiction, and musical events; and the influence of Anglican, Catholic, Quaker, Baptist, Unitarian, and Mormon sects. Additional subjects of interest include camp meetings, campgrounds, cemeteries, convents, and intentional communities like the Shakers. A principal focus of this conference is how communities and scholars can take advantage of new digital resources, new approaches to historical archeology, and new gateways to the region’s social, cultural, and ecclesiastical history.
Simultaneously, the conference will address the continuing survival of extant structures. As these buildings’ original religious functions become less sustainable, their future is imperiled. The Seminar plans to offer a historic preservation workshop that will also examine adaptive reuses of these buildings. Many survivals have come to serve their communities as museums, libraries, town halls, schools, fire stations, granges, barns, and performing arts centers. To help place meetinghouses, churches, synagogues, and other religious spaces on track to permanent survival, the Seminar invites church groups, communities of faith, civic associations, architectural preservationists, and the general public to share their stories of successful conservation and multiple-use approaches to securing their future.
The Seminar encourages papers that reflect interdisciplinary approaches and original research, especially those based on primary or underused resources such as material culture, archaeological artifacts, letters and diaries, vital records, federal and state censuses, as well as newspapers, portraits, prints and photographs, business records, church records, recollections, and autobiographies, some of which have recently become available online.
Religious Spaces: Our Vanishing Landmarks will be held in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on the weekend of June 22 through 24, 2018, and will consist of approximately seventeen lectures of twenty minutes each, with related tours and workshops. Professional development points will be available for public school teachers. Selected papers will appear as the 2018 Annual Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar to be published about eighteen months after the conference.
To submit a paper proposal for this conference, please send a one-page prospectus that cites sources and a one-page vita by February 10, 2018. Email proposals sent as attachments are encouraged.
Peter Benes, Director
The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife
P.O. Box 321
Deerfield, MA 01342