Etta’s experiences teaching Italian university students as a William J. Fulbright scholar, teaching US university students abroad, and her onsite research in Italian archives feed her love for All Things Italy. Gain a taste by subscribing to her newsletter and blog and following on social media. 

Mark Sundeen, The Unsettlers & The Good Life

Mark Sundeen's book, The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today's America Mark Sundeen's The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today's America ranks among the most interesting new...
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Constance Fenimore Woolson and Zoar

Constance Fenimore Woolson Linking “utopian” communal groups and American women writers in Italy, I spoke last weekend on Constance Fenimore Woolson and Zoar. Zoar Separatist Community, Ohio....
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An American Woman in 19th-Century Palestine

Occasionally I read a not-recently-published book that moves me so that I wonder how I missed it when it first appeared. Book cover of Barbara Kreiger's Divine Expectations: An American Woman...
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Transitions in Gender and Spirituality: Michael Dillon/Lobzang Jivaka

In the spring of 1962, within a month of my birth and just before his death, Lobzang Jivaka finished composing his spiritual autobiography in India. Almost fifty years before and half-way round the world, he...
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Vida Dutton Scudder, Christian Socialist for Several Generations

Yesterday my son, just returned from grad school,  told me he's writing an essay on Vida Dutton Scudder.  Before stating her name, he hesitated.  Why the hesitation--in what was otherwise an enthusiastic report of his...
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American Women Abroad

I often teach works by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Catharine Maria Sedgwick and Margaret Fuller, three among several 19th-century American writers whose lives were changed by time abroad.  My current book project focuses on three other...
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Food: a Utopian Studies Special Issue

Idealized food practices have changed, I explain in the introduction to a 2015 special issue (26.1) of the journal Utopian Studies. Since Eating in Eden: Food and American Utopias appeared, utopian foodways have turned to production that...
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Savory Bites

"Savory Bites: Books on Eating in Early America," appeared in Early American Literature 50.2 (2015).  On the hot topic of food and literature, it considers three books on American literature and culture from colonial exploration...
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Eliza Leslie: Fun & Food

Selections from Eliza Leslie collects stories, recipes and other works by the nineteenth-century cookbook author and humor writer from Philadelphia. In addition to providing a biographical sketch, my introduction to the volume describes Eliza Leslie's early...
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Eating in Eden: Food and American Utopias

Drawing from our interests in utopian communities and religious history, my co-editor Martha Finch and I highlight in Eating in Eden (U Nebraska 2006) American food practices that range from those of colonial English Puritans and...
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Bodies of Life: Shaker Literature and Literacies

In Bodies of Life: Shaker Literature and Literacies, I examine the roles of reading and writing in the celibate, religious communities known popularly as Shaker villages.  Questions driving the project emerge from the widely held belief...
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Damanhur: An Italian Earth-Centered Community

"Damanhur: Sustaining Changes in an Intentional Community," is the first chapter in the book Spiritual and Visionary Communities: Out to Save the World. In it I probe the question of how a community in the mountains of...
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