"Gilded Age Railroad Brotherhoods as Industrial Religion"

Hartwick’s Dalton to Present Next Installment in Faculty Lecture Series

February 18, 2013

Associate Professor of Religious Studies Dr. Lisle Dalton will present a talk titled "Gilded Age Railroad Brotherhoods as Industrial Religion" as this month's Faculty Lecture Series. The talk will be held at 4 p.m. this Friday, February 22 in Bresee Hall's Eaton Lounge on the Hartwick College Campus. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

The railroad industry was among the most powerful forces in American life during the 19th century. Although usually understood as a "secularizing" influence in modern life, this presentation will demonstrate that the railroads generated new forms of religious expression, or what some recent scholars have called "industrial religion."

This was particularly true of the workers whose lives and livelihoods were most intimately connected to mastering and sustaining the technology of the railroads - the so called "running trades" of engineers, conductors, firemen, and brakemen. The lecture will focus on three dimensions of the railroad brotherhoods' industrial religion - their use of ritual to organize and shape member identity, the elaborate lithographs they commissioned to celebrate their core values, and various sermons and poems published in their journals to honor brothers and sisters killed in train accidents.

This Friday's lecture is the fifth of eight discussions during the 2012-13 academic year. The project has received support from a Hartwick College Faculty Trustee Grant and a NEH Long-term Fellowship. Throughout the lecture series, faculty members discuss recent research in their fields, focusing on politics, religion, art, economics, biology, and psychology.

This year's remaining faculty lecture dates, presenters, and titles (subject to change) include:

  • March 15, 2013: Assistant Professor of Chemistry Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brunstad, "Where Minerals Meet Life: Fungal Weathering and Potassium Acquisition"
  • April 12, 2013: Associate Professor of Art & Art History Doug Zullo, "The Soviet Occupation of Russian Orthodox Iconography"
  • May 3, 2013: Assistant Professor of Psychology Justin Wellman, "Understanding the Dark Horse of Personality: When Will the Pessimist Win?"

For more information, contact Assistant Professor of Political Science and Faculty Development Chair Dr. Matthew Voorhees at 607-431-4387 or

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Valerie Capullo
Phone: 607-431-4031