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Feminine Mystic Conference to Explore Women’s Religious Authority

Bard College at Simon’s Rock and Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon hosted “The Feminine Mystic: American Prophetesses and the Politics of Religious Experience,” Friday, June 9 to Sunday, June 11, 2017.

The Graphic. May 14, 1870. “Shakers at Meeting. The Religious Dance.” Artist Arthur Boyd Houghton

The Graphic. May 14, 1870. “Shakers at Meeting. The Religious Dance.” Artist Arthur Boyd Houghton

Marking the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State in 1917, The Feminine Mystic Conference is an interdisciplinary conference exploring the significance of women’s religious authority in American political and cultural contexts from the early republic through the long nineteenth century.

The conference begins Friday evening in the Kellogg Music Center with a keynote speech by poet, writer, and feminist icon Eileen Myles. “We are delighted and proud to welcome Eileen Myles, a leading voice in contemporary poetry, to initiate our discussion of the prophetic and political traditions in which women’s authority has shaped American history,” said Ian Bickford, Provost and Vice President of Bard College at Simon’s Rock. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend this free event.

Ann Lee, the founder of the Shakers, created a communal society in which men and women together held positions of authority, said Lacy Schutz, Executive Director of the Shaker Museum. In a time when women were disenfranchised from the political process, they often, like Ann Lee, found their voice and power in the religious realm. Im excited to explore this topic in more depth.

Saturday consists of a series of paper presentations and roundtable discussions between the presenters and participants. On Sunday, conference participants will travel to Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon in New Lebanon, NY for a tour of the site and current exhibition, Break Every Yoke: Shakers, gender equality, and women’s suffrage.

Registration is still open for the conference. Attendees are welcome to sign up for the entire conference or a single day. The registration link is below.

Full conference registrations includes all meals, Saturday night tickets to “Close Encounters with Music: Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, and transportation to the Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon.