J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

“Religious Spaces” at the 2018 Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife

Next year’s Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife will take place on 22-24 June 2018 at Historic Deerfield. The subject will be “Religious Spaces: Our Vanishing Landmarks.”

Here’s the call for papers and similar material in that program:
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, archeological 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.
The Dublin Seminar committee hopes to assemble a program of approximately seventeen lectures of twenty minutes each, with related tours and workshops. There will be professional development points for public school teachers. The best papers will be printed in an upcoming volume of the seminar’s annual proceedings series.

To submit a paper proposal, please send a one-page prospectus that cites sources and a one-page vita to the seminar director by February 10, 2018. He would prefer emails with attachments sent to pbenes@historic-deerfield.org. For paper proposals the address is:
Peter Benes, Director
The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife
Historic Deerfield
P.O. Box 321
Deerfield, MA 01342

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