The Common Read Presents…
“ The Oneida Community- A failed Utopia’s Lessons for Today”
by Dr. Giles Wayland-Smith
March 31, 2016
1:00 pm–2:30 pm
SBM Charitable Foundation Building Auditorium
Please join us as Dr. Giles Wayland Smith shares a lecture on the history of the Oneida Community. This talk will detail the fascinating story of the Oneida Community and its successor, OCL, and will argue that many of their values and practices provide all of us with a “teaching moment” in the 21st century. All are welcome! We look forward to seeing you there!
For more information please contact:
Rosalyn Wormack, Coordinator of the Common Read
The Common Read presents ...
"Hitchhiking Through South East Asia - Lessons Learned"
Thursday, April 7, 2016
1:00 pm -- 2:30 pm
Please join us for an exciting lecture by MCC's very own Jonathan Morris, on his travels and experiences while in South East Asia. All are welcome. We look forward to seeing you there.
Classes are invited too! This is a free event! Contact Rosalyn Wormack, Coordinator of the Common Read, with any questions. 860.512.2618 / firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ONEIDA COMMUNITY: A FAILED UTOPIA’S LESSONS FOR TODAY
Dr. Giles Wayland-Smith
Manchester Community College
November 5, 2015
1:00 pm -- 2:30 pm
The Oneida Community (1848-1881) was founded on the belief that people could create a perfect society, literally heaven on earth. Led by John Humphrey Noyes and anchored in the unorthodox doctrines of Perfectionism and Bible Communism, this community of some 300 members felt they could eliminate sinfulness by doing away not only with private property but also with the selfishness of monogamous marriage. Work and wealth would be shared, women would be spared unwanted children as well as household drudgery, education and the arts would abound, and self-governance would benefit everyone. Ironically, these New England idealists also were unusually successful entrepreneurs: they became leading manufacturers of animal traps, silk thread, and preserved fruits and vegetables. When the Community broke up in 1881, due to a variety of internal and external factors, its assets were transferred to a new joint stock corporation, Oneida Community Ltd. (OCL), and members received shares of stock based upon when they joined and the assets they brought with them. OCL, in turn, not only became this country’s foremost silverware producer but also translated a number of original Community values into an exceptionally progressive form of welfare capitalism.
This talk will detail the fascinating story of the Oneida Community and its successor, OCL, and will argue that many of their values and practices provide all of us with a “teaching moment” in the 21st century.
Dr. Giles Wayland-Smith is Professor Emeritus of political science, Allegheny College, with a specialty in comparative politics. While his major focus was on Latin America, his broader interest was the process of social change and the roles that ideology and specific political movements (such as Marxism and Christian Democracy) have played in that process. He received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College, worked for the Chemical Bank in New York for four years, and received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University. Since retiring from Allegheny College after thirty-two years in 1999, he taught for six years as an adjunct faculty member at Hamilton College, offered two adult classes as part of the Oasis program and, in the spring of 2007, was a professor on the University of Virginia’s around-the-world Semester at Sea program. Dr. Wayland-Smith is a direct descendant of the Oneida Community. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Oneida Community Mansion House museum since 1992, assuming the role of Board Chair from 1999 through 2003 and acting as Interim Executive Director in 2004 during the organization’s most recent executive director search. He is the author of conference papers, lectures, and articles on the Oneida Community, upstate New York history, and the presentation of historical narratives at museums and historic sites. He lives with his wife, Kate, in the Mansion House in Oneida, New York.