History 12 Reading Guide

Counterculture (1960s) and Intentional Communities (1970s)

  • Jefferson P. Selth, "Document:  The Ashram of Graton Road: Morning Star Ranch, A California Commune in the 1960s," Communal Societies 4 (1984), 204-211.  (e-reserve)
  • Ellen Broslovsky, "Just to Breathe:  Personal Recollections of Synanon founder, Charles E. Dederich," Communal Societies 20 (2000), 97-108.  (e-reserve)
  • Melanie Arcudi and Pauline Meyer, "The Brotherhood of the Sun, 1969-1985:  A Memoir," Communal Societies 5 (1985), 82-88.  (e-reserve)


  • Note:  This selection of communes and societies introduces some of the blended theologies, and the organizational and leadership styles that we will explore when we examine Rajneeshpuram and the dystopian communities.
  • In what ways did counter-culture communes, New Age communes, and religious cults resemble earlier utopian ventures?
  • In what ways were their responses to socio-cultural crises decidedly imbedded in the context of the 1960s and 1970s?  How was their brand of cultural radicalism era specific?  How do we understand this particular communal search for connectedness?  How did the opposition by society resemble and differ from earlier societal reactions and responses?

Further reading:

  • Timothy Miller, The 60s Communes: Hippies and Beyond (Syracuse University Press, 1999).
  • Brian J.L. Berry, "Pathways to Self-Realization: From Protest Movements to the New Age Paradigm," in Berry, America's Utopia Experiments: Communal Havens from Long-Wave Crises (1992), 214-227.
  • Michael Barkun, "Communal Societies as Cyclical Phenomena," Communal Societies 4 (1984), 35-48
  • J. Gordon Melton, Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America (NY, 1986).
  • Daniel A. Foss and Ralph W. Larkin, "Worshipping the Absurd:  The Negation of Social Causality among the Followers of Guru Maharaj Ji," Sociological Analysis 39.2 (1978), 157-164.
  • Anson D. Shupe and David G. Bromley, "The Moonies and the Anti-cultists:  Movement and Counter-Movement in Conflict," Sociological Analysis 40.4 (1979), 325-334.
  • Arthur S. Parsons, "Redemptory Intimacy:  The Family Culture of the Unification Church," Communal Societies 5 (1985), 137-175.
  • Deborah Altus, "Student Housing Cooperatives:  Communitarianism among American Youth," Communal Societies 17 (1997), 1-13.
  • William L. Smith, "Families in Contemporary Intentional Communities:  Diversity and Purpose," Communal Societies 21 (2001), 79-93.
  • Clifford J. Green, "Ambiguities of Community:  A Koinonia Experience," in Gairdner B. Moment and Otto F. Kraushaar, Utopias: the American Experience (1980), 179-193.
  • Leroy J. Day, "Koinonia Partners:  An Intentional Community," Communal Societies 10, (1990), 114-123.
  • Isabelle Kilchenstein, "Extremes of the Contemporary Communal Frontier" [The Farm, in Summertown, Tennessee, and the Philadelphia Life Center], in Moment and Kraushaar, Utopias: The American Experience (1980), 153-178.
  • Louis J. Kern, "Pronatalism, Midwifery, and Synergistic Marriage: Spiritual Enlightenment and Sexual Ideology on The Farm (Tennessee)," in Chmielewski, Kern, and Klee-Hartzell, eds., Women in Spiritual and Communitarian Societies in the United States (1993), 201-220.
  • Sheri F. Crawford, "Arcosanti [Arizona]: An American Community Looking toward the Millennium," Communal Societies 14 (1994), 49-66.
  • Charles Redenius, "Lindisfarne [Southampton, Long Island]: Change and Development in a Utopian Community," Communal Societies 9 (1989), 62-75.
  • Karol H. Borowsky, "From the Tree House to the 2001 Center: The Renaissance Movement in the United States," [counterculture] Communal Societies 4 (1984), 121-130.
  • Rachel E. Wright-Summerton, "Survey of Letters to Padanaram Settlement, 1967-1991-2," Communal Societies 15 (1995), 121-130.