Presentation Description: “Missouri’s Utopian Communities”
Nineteenth-century Missouri was home to several alternative communities, often termed “utopian communities” for their emphasis on social betterment and a different way of life. But although their neighbors sometimes considered these utopians odd or eccentric, they were often within the mainstream of progressive social thinking of the time. Steve Wiegenstein has been researching these communities for decades, both as a scholar and in his role as a leading historical novelist. In this presentation, he will invite discussion of Missouri’s well-known and lesser-known utopian communities, including religious communes, secular communities, and those in between.
About the Speaker: Steve Wiegenstein taught at a number of Missouri colleges, including Drury University, Culver-Stockton College, and Central Methodist University, until his retirement. A native of the Ozarks with roots in Madison, Iron, and Reynolds counties, he is the author of three historical novels set in the Missouri Ozarks. His most recent book, a collection of short stories, was a finalist for the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award in Fiction. He now writes full-time and is at work on a continuation of his historical novel series.