Multidisciplinary Approaches to Research and Abolitionism Through the Parker Academy.
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- Art and Design; History; History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology
conference paper description
The Parker Academy (1839-1892) had a longstanding history of being a home for the abolitionist movement. Founded in 1839, the Parker family of New Richmond, Ohio created the first all-inclusive academy that provided education to students regardless of race, gender, political identity, or religious affiliation. Students from across the country attended the Academy. The multidisciplinary approach the Parkers used to facilitate inclusion aimed to establish an all-encompassing educational environment, which was not only fascinating, but uniquely ahead of its time. By closely networking with educators, artists, students, religious leaders, politicians, lobbyists and freedom fighters, the Parkers established a school of inclusiveness far exceeding the standard of the mid to late 1800’s. Spanning the ranges of scientific study from anthropology, archaeology, history and public history, to local historians and educators; researchers have been able to piece together groundbreaking discoveries of the underground abolitionist movement throughout the Ohio River Valley. Investigating the Parker Academy connections and networks through anthropological methods has allowed for new depths in the study of the abolitionist network to be reached. Through researchers’ efforts in applying the same multidisciplinary approach facilitated by the Parkers, it has taught us to utilize resources previously untapped by the constraints of our individual subjective disciplines. While opening our realms of research to new ideas and methods, a more holistic approach allows for a wider breadth of knowledge. For example, an accompanying art installation was composed using the Abby Warburg’s mnemosyne concepts of memory to show and to emphasize the multiple aspects of research used.