Sign In




Presentation type

Topic it belongs to

Subtopic it belongs to

Title of the presentation (use both uppercase and lowercase letters)

Presentation abstract

From the colonial period, the Pennsylvania Quakers’ values of respecting the Inner Light of every individual and volunteering in one’s community were of the utmost importance. Strikingly, however, historians of colonial Quaker culture such as Baltzell have argued that the characteristic priorities of the Quaker faith often precipitated an unanticipated withdrawal from at least institutional education. As the religion spread to the New Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties of Pennsylvania’s southern neighbor, Delaware, its values manifested similarly, laying the historical foundation for an educational class disparity that arguably persists into the 21st century. This class disparity is particularly urgent to probe given the traditional class limitations of environmental student activism and pedagogy in American education. The present study surveyed students and faculty of 34 public and private secondary schools in Delaware, finding that the majority of students engaged with environmental groups and fulfilling mandatory volunteering requirements attend private schools. Reflecting perhaps the anxiety of this class disadvantage, public school respondents likewise tended to offer significantly longer, often more defensive responses to queries about levels of environmental engagement in the classroom and outside it. Contrary to the more egalitarian legacy of 20th-century Quakerism, which would predict the breaking down of traditional barriers preserving environmentalism as an elite pastime, this study thus confirms a limiting class structure essentially conserving environmental engagement and educational access for middle to upper-class Delawareans.

Long abstract of your presentation

Keywords (use both uppercase and lowercase letters)

Main author information

Isabel Hwang (United States of America) 8595
Scientific production

Co-authors information