Annual Conference


2014 Conference Theme: “Form Follows Faith: The Influence of Belief on the Architecture and Crafts of American Communal Societies”

October 9-11, 2014
Amana, Iowa

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After eighteen years, the Communal Studies Association will return to Amana, Iowa for our forty-first annual conference, October 9-11, 2014. The Amana Heritage Society and the Amana Church Society are honored to welcome conference participants to help celebrate the 300 year anniversary of the founding of the Community of True Inspiration (Amana Church).

The Inspirationists settled Amana beginning in 1855, continuing the communal system they had established in Ebenezer, New York 13 years earlier. In short order, seven villages were established, each with its church, farms, industries and communal kitchens. The communal system lasted until 1932 when members voted to establish a new business corporation (the Amana Society) separate from the community’s religious foundation. Still today, the land and villages of Amana reflect their communal, religious heritage.

Conference venues include the Amana Heritage Museum, the Amana church building (one of the largest communal meeting halls in America), the Amana woolen mill, and some of Amana’s well-known restaurants. Tours of the church, cemetery, industrial buildings, farms, and more will acquaint participants with both the cultural and natural heritage of the Amanas.

The Amana Heritage Museum will have two special exhibits open during the conference. “300 Years of the Printed Word: the History of the Amana Church through Print” features numerous publications, photographs and documents that trace the evolution of the community. “Telephones in Communal Amana” displays telephones, switchboards and other hardware, some manufactured in Amana, that demonstrates the quick adoption of new technology by the Amana colonists.

The conference will include many presentations focused on the conference theme of “Form Follows Faith: the influence of belief on the architecture and crafts of American Communal Societies,” as well as other topics. A draft program is available on the CSA website,, as is a registration form. Online payment may be made via Paypal. A printed registration form is included in this newsletter.

Two pre-conference tours are planned to give conference attendees the opportunity to visit other interesting sites in the area. On Wednesday October 8, we will visit Bishop Hill, Illinois, the site of the Swedish Pietist communal society of Erik Janson. The tour includes several historic buildings just recently renovated and opened to the public. On Thursday October 9 we travel to Fairfield, Iowa, home to the Maharishi University Sustainability Center, Abundant Ecovillage, and the planned community of Vedic City.

We thank Jonathan Andelson, Program chair, and his committee for creating an exciting program. Any question about the program can be directed to Jon at If you have questions about arrangements contact Lanny Haldy at Make your plans to attend soon. We look forward to seeing you at our Versammlung in Amana.

Conference Lodging and Travel

The conference motel is the Guest House Inn in the village of Amana, just a couple blocks from all conference venues. The Guest House is holding rooms for conference participants until September 5. Phone 877-331-0828 or visit and tell them you are attending the CSA conference. The Amana Colonies offer a number of charming B&Bs, and other motel choices are available in nearby Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Links to many of these lodgings can be found at

Those flying to the area have several choices. The Eastern Iowa Airport near Cedar Rapids is only a short 20 minute drive from Amana. The Moline, Illinois airport offers very competitive fares and is an easy 50 minute drive to Amana. Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City and Minneapolis are all less than a 5-hour drive away.