At Home in Nature: Modern Homesteading and Spiritual Practice in America

At Home in Nature: Modern Homesteading and Spiritual Practice in America

By: Rebecca Gould (author)Paperback

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Motivated variously by the desire to reject consumerism, to live closer to the earth, to embrace voluntary simplicity, or to discover a more spiritual path, homesteaders have made the radical decision to go 'back to the land', rejecting modern culture and amenities to live self-sufficiently and in harmony with nature. Drawing from vivid firsthand accounts as well as from rich historical material, this gracefully written study of homesteading in America from the late nineteenth century to the present examines the lives and beliefs of those who have ascribed to the homesteading philosophy, placing their experiences within the broader context of the changing meanings of nature and religion in modern American culture. Rebecca Kneale Gould investigates the lives of famous figures such as Henry David Thoreau, John Burroughs, Ralph Borsodi, Wendell Berry, and Helen and Scott Nearing, and she presents penetrating interviews with many contemporary homesteaders. She also considers homesteading as a form of dissent from consumer culture, as a departure from traditional religious life, and as a practice of environmental ethics.

About Author

Rebecca Kneale Gould is Associate Professor of Religion and Affiliate in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College.


List of Illustrations Preface Acknowledgments A Homesteading Time Line Introduction 1. Conversion 2. Getting (Not Too) Close to Nature 3. Homemade Ritual Interlude: Interpreting Ambivalence: Homesteading as Spiritual and Cultural Work 4. The Reenchantment of the Farm: John Burroughs Goes Back to the Land 5. Scott Nearing and the Social Gospel of Agriculture 6. Ambivalent Legacies I: The Dynamics of Engagement and Retreat 7. Ambivalent Legacies II: Gender, Class, Nature, and Religion Appendix: Of Hoes and Huckleberries: A Note on Method Notes Selected Bibliography Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780520241428
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 380
  • ID: 9780520241428
  • weight: 544
  • ISBN10: 0520241428

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