New Harmony, Indiana – the home of well-known communalist experiments in the early nineteenth century – will host a conference on “Capitalism & Socialism: Utopia, Globalization, and Revolution” on 6 – 8 November 2014. The conference coincides with the Bicentennial of New Harmony’s founding by German Harmonists in 1814. New Harmony is probably best known as the site of Welsh industrialist Robert Owen’s experiment in communal living in 1825. As a factory owner and manager in early nineteenth-century Scotland, Owen achieved great success in the new regime of modern capitalism. But as a critical observer of the effects of industrialization on British society, he was also a reformer and one of the “utopian socialists” described by Marx. The legacy of Robert Owen and the Bicentennial of New Harmony are particularly relevant as the world emerges from the shadow of the recent economic crisis and as socialism, seemingly banished with the failure of socialist experiments in Eastern Europe and Russia at the end of the last century, has returned to the political and economic lexicon.
New Harmony is located on the banks of the Wabash River, close to Evansville, the University of Southern Indiana and Evansville Regional Airport. A community that began almost two hundred years ahead of its time, New Harmony was first a spiritual sanctuary that later became a haven for international scientists, scholars, and educators who sought equality in communal living. Conference participants will find in historic New Harmony a setting that provides the opportunity to relax and engage with other scholars in a quiet and charming small-town setting.