University of Southern Indiana
Students attending a presentation

Lecture Series

The Center annually sponsors lectures on topics related to Communal Studies. The lectures typically take place in the fall and spring semesters on the campus of the University of Southern Indiana. 

Upcoming Events

Past Events


Yoga and the West promo

See a TedTalk with Raghunath Cappo.

A special thank you to Dr. Casey Harison (former Director of the Center for Communal Studies) for making this lecture possible.

Director and producer, Beverly Seckinger and Jim Hunter, USI English Instructor and film critic for WEHT/WTVW, appeared on Local Lifestyles to discuss Hippie Family Values.

Greetings from Kate, a resident of the remote communal ranch in New Mexico featured in Hippie Family Values.

See the Hippie Family Values Q&A session!

Beverly Seckinger displays two awards received by Hippie Family Values Oct 2019

Film Screening and Q&A
March 3, 2022, 2 P.M. CST

Professor Beverly Seckinger of the University of Arizona School of Theater, Film & Television will present the film Hippie Family Values (2018) on March 3, 2022 from 2:00 to 3:15 P.M. Hippie Family Values is a feature-length documentary about three generations at a back-to-the-land community in rural New Mexico. Shot over a period of ten years at a remote communal ranch, Hippie Family Values is an intimate chronicle of a handful of hippie elders, along with their adult children and grandkids. The film counters dismissive stereotypes with stories of real people whose worldview was forged in the 60s counterculture, and who remain motivated by those youthful convictions. The founders of this back-to-the-land experiment are slowing down and facing declining health. Will the next generation be able to sustain the community into the future? Fifty years after the Summer of Love, the don’t-trust-anyone-over-30 generation now dotes on their grandchildren and faces the challenges of advancing age. The elders profiled in the film continue to defy convention as they pursue communal alternatives to commercial retirement facilities and nursing homes. Hippie Family Values won the Grand Festival Award for Documentary at the Berkeley Film Festival, the Outstanding Project Award for 2019 from the Communal Studies Association, and the award for the Outstanding Documentary Feature at the University Film & Video Association 2018 Annual Conference. The film continues to screen in community and campus venues across the country. This event is sponsored by the USI Center for Communal Studies.

Faculty, Students, Staff & Public Invited

Dr. William Hemminger
November 5, 2021, from 3-4:15pm CST
View recorded Zoom presentation.

Growing Good: A Beginner's Guide to Cultivating Caring Communities shows how ordinary people have transformed themselves into volunteers and activists. Centered mostly in the Midwest, this collection of essays brings together the stories of normal people who have rolled up their sleeves to make their community a better place by serving nonprofits such as Gleaner Food Bank in Indianapolis, Indiana; Migration and Refugee Services in Louisville, Kentucky; and Patchwork Central in Evansville, Indiana, along with national organizations like CASA. For instance, a teacher and his student started a native plant garden to help local insects thrive in a disused corner of their school property. A woman saw a billboard and was moved to become a voice for children in need. A professional photographer offered his services to people experiencing homelessness in order to help others witness their humanity. Editor Bill Hemminger also writes of his own extensive experience with community gardening to feed hungry neighbors.

Faculty, Students, Staff & Public Invited

Growing Good

A Beginner's Guide to Cultivating Caring Communities

Edited by William Hemminger

Contributions by John A. Elliott, Shelley Dewig, Kyle Kramer, Wendy Bredhold, Cris G. Hochwender, Anna Jean Stratman, William Hemminger, Jes Pope, Amy Rich, R. Calvin Kimbrough Jr., Trisha Brown, Yvonne Mans, Sally Carr, Kamela Jordan and Jim Poyser

Published by: Indiana University Press

George Rapp book

PRESENTATION AND BOOK SIGNING BY DR. SILVIA RODE (Professor of German & Chair of Department of World Languages & Cultures) -- March 13, 2019 from 2-3 p.m. in Kleymeyer Hall (LA 0101)

"Utopia Explored: George Rapp’s Thoughts on the Destiny of Man, Particularly with Reference to the Present Times; by the Harmonist Society in Indiana. A.D. 1824."

Dr. Rode will be available for a book signing: George Rapp: Thought on the Destiny of Man, Particularly with Reference to the Present Times by the Harmony Society in Indiana A.D. 1824: A Critical Study (2018)

Laura Johnston Kohl, "Jonestown Survivor – Evolution of People's Temple in the 1960s and 1970s" (April 2017)

  • Center for Communal Studies 40th Anniversary Colloquium (October 2016)

  • Jaya Priya Reinhalter, "Kashi Ashram, A Community in Transition: Becoming an Intentional Community after 40 Years" (April 2016)

  • Don Janzen, Exhibit and Talk on Shiloh Community (October 2015)

Artistic Group (Maidens), "Shavasana Project for a Harmonist Farm: Maidens of the Cosmic Body Running, Vibrating the Fabric of Time and Fanning the Glowing Coals of the Ascending Flames of Love in the Play of Wisdom (Dedicated to a Contemplative Society)" (March 2014)

Carol Medlicott, "Branches of One Living Tree: Advancing Shakerism Across the American Frontier" (November 2013)
  • Stephen Zehr, "The Place of Villages in Sustainable Development" (March 2013)

  • Dawn Bakken, "Monroe County’s Own New Harmony: An Owenite Experiment in 1826 Bloomington, Indiana" (October 2012)
Donald Pitzer, "New Harmony Then and Now" (March 2012)

  • Don Janzen, "A Photographic Tour of America's Intentional Communities" (April 2009)

Contact Dr. Silvia Rode


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