Quakerism in the 20th Century

On June 8-11, 2017 at the Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana, The Quaker History Roundtable will bring together scholars and others with expertise on the forces that shaped (& reshaped & misshaped) Quakerism in the USA during the 20th century.  It will feature presentations that offer overviews, portraits of key Quakers, analysis of important groups and movements, controversies and conflicts, and provocative perspectives on the carryover from this intensely active period into our present situation. [For a list of presenters and topics, keep scrolling down.]

The 20th century was pretty busy for the USA: two world wars, plus Vietnam, Iraq, and many smaller “conflicts”; a Great Depression, long booms, sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll.

It was busy for American Quakers too: among much else, several split yearly meetings came back together; others divided, and schismatic tensions persisted. American Quaker missionaries fanned out to many countries.  An effort to move Toward A Quaker View of Sex set off a firestorm that’s still smoking.

Meantime, two Quaker presidents claimed to work for peace.

Quaker Presidents

Grappling and Spicing it up

One president grappled with the issue of peace via treaties to outlaw war, the other claimed he was making war that would produce “peace with honor.” On other fronts, anonymous Friends revised the 1660 Peace Testimony so it fit recent pacifist notions.

YouthQuake erupted and then fizzled.

Spices

Someone else discovered that the “classic” Quaker testimonies could fit in a SPICE jar.

On the Screen

The Society even made it to the big screen a few times, from High Noon to Friendly Persuasion.

Quaker Movies & TV Episodes

Busy Indeed

Yet surprisingly, nearly seventeen years into the next century, serious study of this packed Quaker era has so far been sparse and scattered.

Thus the 2017 Quaker History Roundtable

At the Roundtable we hope to jump-start more extensive study and discussion (even, yes, debate) on this largely uncharted period in American Quaker history.

The Roundtable will bring together scholars and others with expertise on the forces that shaped (& reshaped & misshaped) Quakerism in the USA during the 20th century.  It will feature presentations that offer overviews, portraits of key Quakers, analysis of important groups and movements, controversies and conflicts, and provocative perspectives on the carryover from this intensely active period into our present situation.

Quakers in History

Participants will accompany their presentations with prepared papers, intended for publication in a post-colloquium book. We also plan to use streaming technology to broaden the event’s reach and audience.

Format: The colloquium is sponsored by the journal, Quaker Theology (which began just in time, in 1999), and will gather on Thursday afternoon, June 8, 2017, at the Earlham School of Religion,  in Richmond, Indiana. It will open with initial overview efforts, followed by a series of panels Friday and Saturday.

In addition to prepared presentations, feedback and discussion will be encouraged. Visitors can sit in on the sessions at no charge.

As part of the closing session on Sunday June 11, participants will contribute to an agenda for continued work on 20th century Quakerism. We hope this and the Roundtable itself will help jumpstart work on better understanding and constructive use of the experience of 20th century American Quakerism, by Friends and others. (A detailed schedule will be forthcoming as the list of Roundtable presentations takes shape.)

Followup: A book of papers will be produced after the conference; principal papers will also be posted on appropriate websites. We hope to have a video internet stream.

Quakers in the Media

Our goals: 

We hope to offer broad views, original insights, and searching examination, and will not shy away from controversial matters. Nor will the presentations be limited to professional academics: we will also hear independent, well-informed voices.

Presenters & Topics:

Guy Aiken – AFSC, Neutrality & Justice
Steve Angell, – Yearly Meeting reunifications
Betsy Cazden – Friends World Committee for Consultation & Modernism:
a Critique
Mary Craudereuff – Quaker Archives & Civil Rights & marginalized groups
Gwen Gosney Erickson – History & Historiography: What Gets Remembered & Preserved? What doesn’t?
Chuck Fager – Convenor/Overview
Thomas Hamm – U.S. Young Friends groups and their 20th century impact
H. Larry Ingle – Quaker Elites & Whittaker Chambers
Douglas Gwyn- An overview of Friends General Conference’s first 30 years
Greg Hinshaw – Friends United Meeting & The Protestant Mainline
Emma Lapsansky – Quakers and 20th Century Intentional communities
Isaac May – Quakers, Herbert Hoover & the 1928 Election
Kathy Adams – Willie Frye: North Carolina Quaker Pastor & Activist
Stephen McNeil – Quakers & Japanese Americans
Lonnie Valentine – Quaker Tax Resistance, 20th Century

We will also feature a panel on four major Quaker archival collections in the U.S.: the Earlham College Library Archives (with a tour);  Haverford College Quaker archives; Friends Historical Library (Swarthmore); and the Guilford College Friends Historical  Collection.

For More Updates & Presenter Previews, check the “News” page

Questions? Send them to Chuck Fager, at: contact@nullnewquakerhistory.net

(And if you want to sit in on the sessions, let us know that too. There is no fee to attend, though meals will be charged at the Earlham College Food Service rates.)