Searching for Utopia, Part 2: Utopian societies, sects, and cults in America

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Residents of the utopian community Oneida Community House enjoy time together outdoors. Photo courtesy of the Oneida Community House.

This is the second in a two-part series about utopian societies, exploring community living and America’s history with utopian ideas, sects, and cults. What was the appeal back then, and how do they operate today? This week, KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with religion professor Ben Zeller about the characteristics of utopian societies, including sects and cults. We also hear from Chris Jennings, author of “Paradise Now: The Story of American Utopianism,” about the utopian communities of 18th and 19th century America. And Anna Newcomb, founder and resident of a co-housing community, describes her life and the appeal of living in Blueberry Hill.

Read more: Searching for Utopia, Part 1: The freedoms and failures of of an intentional community in India



Andrea Brody