Annual Conference

The 2020 CSA Conference Theme: “Foundations and Futures”

October 1 – October 3, 2020
Virtual Conference.

2020 Conference Will Be Virtual – Registration and Program Below

The coronavirus has disrupted all parts of our lives, and that includes the Communal Studies Association’s 2020 Conference. Originally scheduled for beautiful Ephrata Cloister in Ephrata, Pa., the conference will now be held online on Zoom Webinar. After an online poll of the membership, the CSA board met via a special video conference in May and decided that an in-person meeting was no longer feasible.

The dates of the conference will remain the same, Thursday, October 1 through Saturday, October 3. So that concurrent sessions will not be necessary, we will use all of Thursday for presentations, not just the evening. Sessions will begin at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time and end at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. Each session will be 90 minutes in length, generally with three presenters speaking for 25 minutes with time for questions. Viewers will be able to query speakers in real time via the Q & A tab. There will be 15 minutes between sessions. Our business meeting, election and awards ceremony will occur on Friday evening.

Registration will be on our website at conference registration. Cost for registration will be just $50 for members, $60 for non-members and $10 for students and current communitarians. We hope this low price will encourage many to attend who might not otherwise be able to afford the transportation and lodging expense of an in-person conference. So please spread the word!

Registrants will receive access to the conference session links a few days before the event. All sessions will be password-protected.

The program will be our usual eclectic mix of all things communal – from Ephrata and Amana to the communal nature of video games and the Seattle CHOP. A draft conference schedule will be online soon.

This is a brand-new experience for the CSA. We hope you’ll join us in cyberspace!

P. S. If you were looking forward to seeing the Cloister, never fear. The staff at Ephrata has graciously offered to host us again in 2024!

Conference Theme Information

The foundational knowledge of intentional communities shapes the formation and futures of those communities, as well as shaping outsiders’ and scholars’ views of them. The 2020 conference invites attendees studying, working at or living in communal societies to consider the foundational information known about intentional communities. The conference also challenges participants to reexamine past histories in light of new research and changing interpretations. How might foundational knowledge continue to operate within communities long after their founding? How might foundational knowledge shape scholars’ views of communities? How might foundational knowledge about a community be challenged or critiqued by outsiders, scholars, or by the community itself? How might foundational scholarship about a community influence or be critiqued by later scholars? How might foundational knowledge be reinterpreted over time?

Of course, we are also interested in proposals that concern any other topic about intentional communities. Please feel free to submit proposal on any aspect of communalism or intentional communities.

Additional Information

About the Communal Studies Association

The Communal Studies Association is an interdisciplinary organization for people living in intentional communities, historic site personnel and academics representing topics including history, anthropology, religious studies, sociology, political science, and others. Each year, the CSA’s annual conference is held at the site of an historic intentional community.