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Camphill and the Future

Spirituality and Disability in an Evolving Communal Movement

Dan McKanan


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The Camphill movement, one of the world’s largest and most enduring networks of intentional communities, deserves both recognition and study. Founded in Scotland at the beginning of the Second World War, Camphill communities still thrive today, encompassing thousands of people living in more than one hundred twenty schools, villages, and urban neighborhoods on four continents. Camphillers of all abilities share daily work, family life, and festive celebrations with one another and their neighbors. Unlike movements that reject mainstream society, Camphill expressly seeks to be “a seed of social renewal” by evolving along with society to promote the full inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities, who comprise nearly half of their residents. In this multifaceted exploration of Camphill, Dan McKanan traces the complexities of the movement’s history, envisions its possible future, and invites ongoing dialogue between the fields of disability studies and communal studies.


Praise For Camphill and the Future: Spirituality and Disability in an Evolving Communal Movement

"Diligent scholarship grounded in solid theoretical moorings and punctuated with perceptive personal interviews will make Camphill and the Future the definitive work on the first eighty years of this laudable humanitarian communal movement. It may well help shape that future."

— Nova Religio

University of California Press, 9780520344082, 250pp.

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

About the Author

Dan McKanan is the Emerson Senior Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School. His research focuses on religion and social transformation, with special emphasis on intentional communities, sustainable agriculture, and leftist activism. His most recent book is Eco-Alchemy: Anthroposophy and the History and Future of Environmentalism.