The Afterlife of Cemeteries: Understanding the Shakers, the Victorians, and American Death Culture
Mar. 12 2023

The North Union Shakers have been known for over 200 years for their radical life practices: their simplicity, celibacy, and exuberant worship practices. In contrast to the extravagance and sentimentality of their Victorian neighbors, Shaker death practices were equally radical, including those on display in the North Union Shaker Cemetery, now a residential neighborhood. Although societies all over the world acknowledge that their communities are made up of both living and deceased members, the idea became increasingly foreign in 20th century America, including in our own community. How can understanding Shaker and Victorian death practices help us be better connected to our living neighbors and better students of our dead ones?

Join Dr. Katherine Ranum to explore these topics from 2-3:30 pm on Sunday, March 12 at the Shaker Height Public Library, Fernway Room. This event will also be accessible to non-local attendees via Zoom. Admission to the event is donation-based. Registration is required at

About the speaker: Katherine Ranum holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Cincinnati. She specializes in Protestantism, Judaism, and folk religion in the British Atlantic, and researches issues of embodiment including gender, disability, and recently death, mourning, and burial. Dr. Ranum lives in Cincinnati where she teaches at the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University.

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