As a society we search for alternatives to the hurried life, alternatives Henry David Thoreau famously described as living “deliberately.” This has given rise to communities that practice a sustainable mode of living based on contemplation of nature and thoughtful reflection about life. Some of these communities put down roots in a physical location, where they create a life based on shared values. But in addition to these "intentional communities,” there are also “communities of practice” that exchange ideas about living thoughtfully and sustainably while occupying a digital, rather than physical, space. Students in this course will investigate intentional communities and communities of practice, past or present, connected in some way to their own localities. They will chronicle the unique history and principles of that community. As a class, we will study the similarities and differences between these communities and ask whether their experiments suggest any general conclusions about the nature of community and the challenges involved in creating and sustaining communities that seek a better world.

Paul Schacht, Professor of English — SUNY Geneseo

Debra Schleef, Professor of Sociology — University of Mary Washington

Media Credits for the Course Flyer

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