Skip to main content

Concord, Massachusetts: Feminists, Utopians, and Social Reform in the Age of Emerson and Thoreau

Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for Community College Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Concord, Massachusetts: Feminists, Utopians, and Social Reform in the Age of Emerson and Thoreau” consists of two one-week NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops held during summer 2012 for fifty community college faculty members on Concord’s central role in American nineteenth-century thought and social reform. The program focuses on historic sites and primary sources in Concord, Massachusetts, an intellectual center of nineteenth-century America. The project shows that as much as the Transcendentalists advanced utopian ideals, they also engaged in concrete programs of social reform, namely the abolition of slavery and advancement of women. Private tours of the sites associated with Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Amos Bronson Alcott, and Louisa May Alcott include the Concord Museum, the Emerson home, Walden Pond, the First Parish Church, the Concord School of Philosophy, and the utopian communities of Brook Farm and Fruitlands. Sessions led by five leading scholars elucidate recent research. Robert Gross, author of The Minutemen and Their World, addresses Concord’s central role in the period. Phyllis Cole and Sandra Petrulionis discuss the advancement of women and their active role in abolitionism. Participants read Cole’s Mary Moody Emerson and the Origins of Transcendentalism and Petrulionis’s To Set This World Right: The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau’s Concord. Sterling Delano, project director and author of Brook Farm: The Dark Side of Utopia, examines Transcendentalist utopian communities. John Matteson, who wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father, discusses educational reform. The schedule includes time for research in the Concord Free Public Library, which holds materials on Transcendentalism and antebellum social reform that can be found at no other location.

Dates: Concord, MA: July 8–14 or July 15–21
Grantee Institutions: Sterling F. Delano and Diane Whitley Bogard, Community College Humanities Association
Location: Walden Pond; Brook Farm; Fruitlands; various Concord sites: Emerson House, Louisa May Alcott House, Old Manse, Concord Museum

About NEH Landmarks of American History: Workshops for Community College Faculty

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the federal government. As part of the NEH’s We the People program, we offer the following Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for Community College Faculty. NEH Landmarks Workshops provide the opportunity for community college educators to engage in intensive study and discussion of important topics in American history and culture. These one-week programs will give participants direct experiences in the interpretation of significant historical and cultural sites and the use of archival and other primary evidence. Landmarks Workshops present the best scholarship on a specific landmark or related cluster of landmarks, enabling participants to gain a sense of the importance of historical places, to make connections between what they learn in the Workshop and what they teach, to advance their own scholarship, and to develop enhanced teaching materials.

Amount of Award

Faculty selected to participate will receive a stipend of $1,200. Stipends help cover living expenses, books, and travel expenses to and from the Workshop location.


These projects are designed for faculty members at American community colleges. Adjunct and part-time lecturers as well as full-time faculty are eligible to apply. Other community college staff, including librarians and administrators, are eligible to compete, provided they can advance the teaching and/or research goals of the workshop. An applicant need not have an advanced degree in order to qualify. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must complete the NEH application and provide all of the information requested to be considered eligible.

New this year: An individual may apply to up to two NEH Summer Programs in any one year (Landmarks Workshops, Summer Seminars, or Summer Institutes), but may participate in only one. Please note that eligibility criteria differ significantly between the Landmarks Workshops and the Seminars and Institutes Programs.

How to Apply

Please e-mail, telephone or send by U.S. Post a request for application information and expanded Workshop descriptions to the Landmarks directors listed here; in many cases, these materials will also be available on project websites. You may request information about as many Workshops as you like, and, as noted above, you may apply to up to two programs but participate in only one.