Material in the Immaterial World: Material Culture and the Realization of Utopia in Communities of Shakers, Mormons, and Oneida Perfectionists



Kim, Kelsey

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This thesis delves into the material culture of three American religions—Shakers, Oneida Perfectionists, and Latter-day Saints (Mormons)—in the nineteenth century. Looking at the religions’ Utopian ideals, the author discusses how the philosophies of materiality and the actual goods extant in these communities coincided, and what the emerging successes and tensions reveal about the intersection of material ideas with spiritual goals. This thesis thus constitutes a cursory analysis of each community in turn, followed by an examination of the artifacts from these groups, ultimately grappling with the question of how they each realized immaterial ideas in everyday life.



Latter-Day Saints, Mormons, Oneida Perfectionists, Shakers, Material culture, Nineteenth century, Religion