Counterculture history is often divided, with a focus on either the turbulent 1960s or the "back to the land" exodus of the 1970s. A study of Stephen Gaskin and his followers' founding of The Farm, a rural commune near Summertown, Tennessee, provides a unique insight into the commonalities and connections of these two periods. It will be the aim of this thesis to weave the separate narratives of this demographic into one complete idea. The idea that the hippies constituted a counterculture suggests that once that culture went into exile, onto numerous communes, they existed as a diaspora. The Farm's existence as a spiritual commune, with their roots in Haight-Ashbury's short-lived utopian dream, and their continuation and evolution of that dream in Tennessee, make this particular group a model for the diaspora. The Farm, with its larger profile, publishing, and outreach programs, became the preeminent post-Haight-Ashbury commune. The commune was able to preserve the counterculture in exile, while it became a leader in dictating the direction of its progress. The Farm's efforts in midwifery, sustainable living, promotion of vegetarian diets, and outreach in America's inner cities and the Third World all point to a proactive counterculture and the commune's leadership role for the remnants of the counterculture. While the profile of the counterculture has diminished, a shift in American attitudes toward natural childbirth, ecology, and a more earth-friendly diet containing a greater variety of organic and vegetarian options reveal a significant success for their agenda.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Mercer, Kevin, "The farm a hippie commune as a countercultural diaspora" (2012). HIM 1990-2015. 1282.