Phantom Luminaries: Frederick Willis, Spiritualism, and Paranormal Investigators in the Age of Disruption
Daniel Gorman, Jr., University of Rochester
This excerpt from my dissertation addresses Frederick Willis’s suspension from Harvard Divinity School in spring 1857. Willis was accused of fraud because he hosted Spiritualist séances off-campus in the Boston–Cambridge area. Drawing on Willis’s writings and internal documents from Harvard, this paper considers why, exactly, Harvard’s largely Unitarian faculty found Willis’s extracurricular occultism so concerning.
Respondent: Christopher Allison, Dominican University
This event is free, but all participants must register in advance and space is limited. To register and request a copy of the pre-circulated paper, click below. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.Register
About the Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar Series
The Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar explores topics in religion and culture including social history, biography, cultural studies, visual and material culture, urban studies, and the history of ideas. We are interested in how religious belief has affected society, rather than creedal or theological focused studies. Seminars are conversational and free and open to faculty, graduate students, and members of the public, who register in advance to request papers.