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Jenni Sorkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226303116

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226303253.001.0001

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Zen Veterans and the Vernacular

Zen Veterans and the Vernacular

The Black Mountain Pottery Seminar

(p.104) (p.105) Chapter Three Zen Veterans and the Vernacular
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Jenni Sorkin

University of Chicago Press

Black Mountain College’s 1952 Pottery Seminar has been an overlooked moment in the college’s history. But the Seminar stands as a pioneering moment, when the therapeutic properties of ceramics were integrated into an avant-garde context utilizing Zen philosophy, rather than a discourse of welfare. This is particularly significant against the backdrop of rural North Carolina, Black Mountain’s immediate vicinity, an Appalachian state with a history of vernacular craft initiatives largely established by women and driven by strong social mandates. It is previously unknown that local groups were in attendance: through archival evidence, the Pottery Seminar’s legacy can be further recovered through the pedagogical contributions of women, which converged with Eastern ideas to alter the medium’s reception in the United States.

Keywords:   Western Civilization, twentieth century, Japanese influences, Black Mountain College, World War II, America, personal narratives, Allen Hendershott Eaton, handicraft, Southern Appalachian Region

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