Here is the program for the upcoming FPR conference in Geneseo, NY on October 3. If you have not already done so, register here. You won’t want to miss this one.

Panel 1:  Prophets, Sages, and Jesters of Sustainable Localism 

Chair:  Mark Mitchell

Jason Peters:  “The Holy Earth and Liberty Hyde Bailey’s Front Porch Cred”

Jeff Polet:  “Laudato Si and Localism”

Jeremy Beer: “Life on Both Sides of the Tracks in Indianapolis: The Non-Intersecting Lives of Booth Tarkington and Oscar Charleston”


Panel 2:    The Life, Thought, and Legacy of Christopher Lasch

Chair:  Russell Arben Fox

Eric Miller   “Putting the Porch in Its Place: Christopher Lasch’s Republican Hope”

Robert Westbrook:  “Death and Dying in a Front Porch Republic”

Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn: “At Home with Nostalgia and the Gravity of Sentiment”


Lunch:  College Union Patio or Ballroom



Keynote:  James Howard Kunstler “Looking for Sustainability in All the Wrong Places”


Panel 3:  Urban Design:  Buffalo As Representative City

Chair:   Jennifer Rogalsky

Catherine Tumber:  “Provincial Cities and Spatial Democracy in the Age of Global Warming”

Tim Tielman: Paleo-urban Principles for the Modern Town”


Panel 4:   In God’s Country

Chair:  Michael Sauter

Bill Kauffman: “Pat and Barber:  An Education in Place and Politics”

Abbot Gerard D’Souza:  “Monastic Stability: In One Place with God and the Brethren”




Jeremy Beer, a native of Indiana, lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the author of The Philanthropic Revolution: An Alternative History of American Charity and the editor of America Moved: Booth Tarkington’s Memoirs of Time and Place, 1869-1928. He is at work on a biography of Oscar Charleston, baseball’s greatest forgotten player. Jeremy is a founding partner at American Philanthropic, LLC, and president of the American Ideas Institute, publisher of The American Conservative. He also serves on the boards of the Institute for Family Studies, Mars Hill Audio, and Catholic Phoenix.

Abbot Gerard D’Souza was born in Qatar and raised in India, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology. After seminary studies in Mumbai, he moved to the United States, where he earned a master’s degree in religious studies from the Institute of Religious Studies in Yonkers. In 1992, he entered the Abbey of the Genesee, a cloistered Trappist monastery near the Geneseo campus.

Bill Kauffman is the author of eleven books, including Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette (Henry Holt), which won the 2003 national “Sense of Place” award from Writers & Books; Look Homeward, America (ISI Books), which the American Library Association named one of the best books of 2006; and, most recently, Poetry Night at the Ballpark and Other Scenes from an Alternative America (Front Porch Republic Books/2015). He wrote the screenplay for the feature film Copperhead (2013) and is vice president of the Batavia Muckdogs baseball team. Bill lives with his family in his native Genesee County.

Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn is Professor of History and Senior Research Associate in the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University, author of Black Neighbors: Race and the Limits of Reform in the American Settlement House Movement (UNC Press) and Race Experts: How Sensitivity Training, Interracial Etiquette, and New Age Therapy Hijacked the Civil Rights Movement (W.W. Norton), and editor of a volume of essays by Christopher Lasch, Women and the Common Life: Love, Marriage, and Feminismand (with Elizabeth Fox-Genovese) of Reconstructing History. Some of her essays include: “From Inwardness to Intravidualism” in the Hedgehog Review; “A Stranger’s Dream: The Contemporary Socialization Crisis and the Rise of the Virtual Self” in Figures in the Carpet: Finding the Human Person in the American Past (ed. Wilfred M. McClay); “Individual Liberty and Civic Practices” in Civic Values and Civic Practices (ed. Donald Harward); and “The Mind of the Moralist” (on Philip Rieff) and “Loving and Leaving” in the New Republic. Her family moved frequently when she was a child, including to Iowa, Illinois, England, and a small town outside of Rochester, New York, called Avon, where she grew up. After college in Virginia and graduate school in New England, she returned to beautiful upstate New York, where she lives with her husband and two teenage daughters. Their yard and gardens, from which the sun can be seen rising over a gentle eastern hill in back and setting in the western sky out front, are increasingly reminiscent of the Italian countryside, with which they fell in love when she held a Fulbright fellowship in American intellectual history in 2012 at the University of Rome.

Eric Miller is Professor of History and the Humanities at Geneva College, in Beaver Falls PA, where he also directs the honors program.  A Pennsylvania native, he has for most of his life lived no more than an hour from the venerable PA Turnpike.  For the past sixteen years Eric, his wife Denise, and their three sons have lived atop a modest ridge on the Allegheny Plateau, nearly in Ohio.  Eric is the author of Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch; Glimpses of Another Land: Political Hopes, Spiritual Longing; and is the co-editor of Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation.

Jason Peters professes English at Augustana College. He received his B.A. from Calvin College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Michigan State University. His teaching interests include British and American Romanticism, Catholic fiction, and environmental literature; his research past and present has centered on Owen Barfield, Wendell Berry, Flannery O’Connor, and the Southern Agrarians. He has published on both British and American writers in such journals as Sewanee ReviewSouth Atlantic QuarterlyChristianity and LiteratureEnglish Language NotesExplicator, the Journal of Religion and Society, and Orion.  Recent publications include Wendell Berry:  Life and Work (University Press of Kentucky). Every other year he teaches a course on the British Romantic poets and then leads students on a hiking tour of the Lake District in England.  Dr. Peters helped establish “Augie Acres,” a student-run garden located on campus.

Jeff Polet is Professor of Politics at Hope College in Holland Michigan, teaching a mere half mile from where he grew up. There, he teaches American government and political theory, and serves largely in the capacity of gadfly. He has published on a wide range of subjects such as election law, faith-based social services, contemporary European theory, American political theory, and educational theory. He is also editor-in-chief of Front Porch Republic.

Tim Tielman is the founder and principal of Place Advantage LLC and The Neighborhood Workshop in Buffalo, New York, and the Executive Director of the non-profit Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture. Tielman has been the face of historic preservation in Buffalo for the past quarter-century. He conceived both Larkin Square and The Canal District, the two most popular 21st-century urban environments in Buffalo. Both were designed to rekindle urban habits and civic identity. He also directed the creation of public-interest alternative plans for The Canal District, The Richardson Complex (a former psychiatric hospital by H.H. Richardson with grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted), a convention center, and the New York Thruway Niagara Section.

Tielman has led every major Buffalo preservation campaign over the last 25 years, including creating historic districts of thousands of houses, shops, and industrial and religious structures; initiating local legislation to encourage rehabilitation of owner-occupied historic housing; and saving the mixed-use Metzger Block and dozens of other buildings. Tim has Bachelor of Arts degrees in Geography and Political Science from Binghamton University and a Master of Arts degree in history from Buffalo State College, where his thesis was on the spatial history of downtown Buffalo. Tielman regards the front porch as a human necessity. From April Fool’s Day through Halloween, Tielman can usually be found on his porch, relaxing, socializing, hailing, working, observing, and thinking. He spends the rest of the year in a not-fully-human state.

Catherine Tumber is a Research Associate for the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, a Fellow of the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, and a Scholar with the Penn Institute for Urban Research. She is the author of Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World (MIT Press, 2012).

Robert Westbrook is Joseph F. Cunningham Professor of History at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, where he has taught cultural and intellectual history (mostly American) since 1986. He has also taught at Scripps College and Yale University. His books include John Dewey and American Democracy (1991), Democratic Hope: Pragmatism and the Politics of Truth (2005), and Why We Fought: Forging American Obligations in World War II (2004). His current research focuses on American cultural history during the Great Depression and World War II. He lives on seven acres in the countryside south of Brockport, New York, along with two dogs, three cats, and fourteen chickens. And his wife Shamra, an unreconstructed Jeffersonian.


James Howard Kunstler says he wrote The Geography of Nowhere “because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work.”
Home From Nowhere was a continuation of that discussion with an emphasis on the remedies. A portion of it appeared as the cover story in the September 1996 Atlantic Monthly.
His next book in the series, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, published by Simon & Schuster/Free Press, is a wide-ranging look at cities here and abroad, an inquiry into what makes them great (or miserable), and in particular what America is going to do with its mutilated cities.
This was followed by The Long Emergency, published by the Atlantic Monthly Press in 2005, about the challenges posed by the coming permanent global oil crisis, climate change, and other “converging catastrophes of the 21st Century.”

Too Much Magic: Technology, Wishful Thinking, and the Fate of the Nation (2012), discussed the post financial crash mood of the country during the years of Obama.
His 2008 novel, World Made By Hand, was a fictional depiction of the post-oil American future. Sequels to that book, The Witch of Hebron and A History of the Future, were published in 2010 and 2014, respectively. The fourth and final installment of the series, The Harrows of Spring, will be published in June 2016.
Mr. Kunstler is also the author of eight other novels including The Halloween BallAn Embarrassment of Riches, and Maggie Darling, a Modern Romance. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times Sunday Magazine and Op-Ed page, where he has written on environmental and economic issues.
Mr. Kunstler was born in New York City in 1948. He moved to the Long Island suburbs in 1954 and returned to the city in 1957. He graduated from the State University of New York, Brockport campus, worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis.
He has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT, RPI, and many other colleges, and he has appeared before many professional organizations such as the AIA , the APA., and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In 2010 he was a guest on The Colbert Report.
He lives in the upstate New York village of Greenwich, Washington County.




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  1. I was wondering if/when audio or (hopefully) video of the recent FPR conference in New York would be available, possibly posted on YouTube.

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