Meth cooks practice late industrial alchemy—transforming base materials, like lithium batteries and camping fuel, into gold
Meth alchemists all over the United States tap the occulted potencies of industrial chemical and big pharma products to try to cure the ills of precarious living: underemployment, insecurity, and the feeling of idleness. Meth fires up your attention and makes repetitive tasks pleasurable, whether it’s factory work or tinkering at home. Users are awake for days and feel exuberant and invincible. In one person’s words, they “get more life.”
The Alchemy of Meth is a nonfiction storybook about St. Jude County, Missouri, a place in decomposition, where the toxic inheritance of deindustrialization meets the violent hope of this drug-making cottage industry. Jason Pine bases the book on fieldwork among meth cooks, recovery professionals, pastors, public defenders, narcotics agents, and pharmaceutical executives. Here, St. Jude is not reduced to its meth problem but Pine looks at meth through materials, landscapes, and institutions: the sprawling context that makes methlabs possible. The Alchemy of Meth connects DIY methlabs to big pharma’s superlabs, illicit speed to the legalized speed sold as ADHD medication, uniquely implicating the author’s own story in the narrative.
By the end of the book, the backdrop of St. Jude becomes the foreground. It could be a story about life and work anywhere in the United States, where it seems no one is truly clean and all are complicit in the exploitation of their precious resources in exchange for a livable present—or even the hope of a future.
What does it mean to live and die in relation to other animals? Animal Intimacies posits this central question alongside the intimate—and intense—moments of care, kinship, violence, politics, indifference, and desire that occur between human and non-human animals.
Built on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the mountain villages of India’s Central Himalayas, Radhika Govindrajan’s book explores the number of ways that human and animal interact to cultivate relationships as interconnected, related beings. Whether it is through the study of the affect and ethics of ritual animal sacrifice, analysis of the right-wing political project of cow-protection, or examination of villagers’ talk about bears who abduct women and have sex with them, Govindrajan illustrates that multispecies relatedness relies on both difference and ineffable affinity between animals. Animal Intimacies breaks substantial new ground in animal studies, and Govindrajan’s detailed portrait of the social, political and religious life of the region will be of interest to cultural anthropologists and scholars of South Asia as well.
Appalachia in the Classroom contributes to the twenty-first century dialogue about Appalachia by offering topics and teaching strategies that represent the diversity found within the region. Appalachia is a distinctive region with various cultural characteristics that can’t be essentialized or summed up by a single text.
Appalachia in the Classroom offers chapters on teaching Appalachian poetry and fiction as well as discussions of nonfiction, films, and folklore. Educators will find teaching strategies that they can readily implement in their own classrooms; they’ll also be inspired to employ creative ways of teaching marginalized voices and to bring those voices to the fore. In the growing national movement toward place-based education, Appalachia in the Classroom offers a critical resource and model for engaging place in various disciplines and at several different levels in a thoughtful and inspiring way.
Contributors: Emily Satterwhite, Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt, John C. Inscoe, Erica Abrams Locklear, Jeff Mann, Linda Tate, Tina L. Hanlon, Patricia M. Gantt, Ricky L. Cox, Felicia Mitchell, R. Parks Lanier, Jr., Theresa L. Burriss, Grace Toney Edwards, and Robert M. West.
With hundreds of thousands of copies sold, a Ron Howard movie in the works, and the rise of its author as a media personality, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis has defined Appalachia for much of the nation. What about Hillbilly Elegy accounts for this explosion of interest during this period of political turmoil? Why have its ideas raised so much controversy? And how can debates about the book catalyze new, more inclusive political agendas for the region’s future?
Appalachian Reckoning is a retort, at turns rigorous, critical, angry, and hopeful, to the long shadow Hillbilly Elegy has cast over the region and its imagining. But it also moves beyond Hillbilly Elegy to allow Appalachians from varied backgrounds to tell their own diverse and complex stories through an imaginative blend of scholarship, prose, poetry, and photography. The essays and creative work collected in Appalachian Reckoning provide a deeply personal portrait of a place that is at once culturally rich and economically distressed, unique and typically American. Complicating simplistic visions that associate the region almost exclusively with death and decay, Appalachian Reckoning makes clear Appalachia’s intellectual vitality, spiritual richness, and progressive possibilities.
Architecture for the Poor describes Hassan Fathy's plan for building the village of New Gourna, near Luxor, Egypt, without the use of more modern and expensive materials such as steel and concrete. Using mud bricks, the native technique that Fathy learned in Nubia, and such traditional Egyptian architectural designs as enclosed courtyards and vaulted roofing, Fathy worked with the villagers to tailor his designs to their needs. He taught them how to work with the bricks, supervised the erection of the buildings, and encouraged the revival of such ancient crafts as claustra (lattice designs in the mudwork) to adorn the buildings.
“I reckon stranger you have not been used much to traveling in the woods,” a hunter remarked to Henry Rowe Schoolcraft as he trekked through the Ozark backcountry in late 1818. The ensuing exchange is one of many compelling encounters between Arkansas travelers and settlers depicted in Arkansas Travelers: Geographies of Exploration and Perception, 1804–1834. This book is the first to integrate the stories of four travelers who explored Arkansas during the transformative period between the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and statehood in 1836: William Dunbar, Thomas Nuttall, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, and George William Featherstonhaugh.
In addition to gathering their tales of treacherous rivers, drunken scoundrels, and repulsive food, historian and geographer Andrew J. Milson explores the impact such travel narratives have had on geographical understandings of Arkansas places. Using the language in each traveler’s narrative, Milson suggests, and the book includes, new maps that trace these perceptions, illustrating not just the lands traversed, but the way travelers experienced and perceived place. By taking a geographical approach to the history of these spaces, Arkansas Travelers offers a deeper understanding—a deeper map—of Arkansas.
Beardstown and Monmouth, Illinois, two rural Midwestern towns, have been transformed by immigration in the last three decades. This book examines how Mexican immigrants who have made these towns their homes have integrated legally, culturally, and institutionally. What accounts for the massive growth in the Mexican immigrant populations in these two small towns, and what does the future hold for them?
Based on 260 surveys and 47 in-depth interviews, this study combines quantitative and qualitative research to explore the level and characteristics of immigrant incorporation in Beardstown and Monmouth. It assesses the advancement of immigrants in the immigration/ residency/citizenship process, the immigrants’ level of cultural integration (via language, their connectedness with other members of society, and their relationships with neighbors), the degree and characteristics of discrimination against immigrants in these two towns, and the extent to which immigrants participate in different social and political activities and trust government institutions.
Immigrants in new destinations are likely to be poorer, to be less educated, and to have weaker English-language skills than immigrants in traditional destinations. Studying how this population negotiates the obstacles to and opportunities for incorporation is crucial.
Over the past four decades, French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu produced one of the most imaginative and subtle bodies of social theory of the postwar era. When he died in 2002, he was considered to be the most influential sociologist in the world and a thinker on a par with Foucault and Lévi-Strauss—a public intellectual as important to his generation as Sartre was to his.
Bourdieu’s final book, The Bachelors’ Ball, sees him return to Béarn, the region where he grew up, to examine the gender dynamics of rural France. This personal connection adds poignancy to Bourdieu’s ethnographic account of the way the influence of urban values has precipitated a crisis for male peasants. Tied to the land through inheritance, these bachelors find themselves with little to offer the women of Béarn who, like the young Bourdieu himself, abandon the country for the city in droves.
Wayman Hogue’s stories of growing up in the Ozarks, according to a 1932 review in the New York Times, “brilliantly illuminate mountain life to its very heart and in its most profound aspects.” A standout among the Ozarks literature that was popular during the Great Depression, this memoir of life in rural Arkansas in the decades following the Civil War has since been forgotten by all but a few students of Arkansas history and folklore.
Back Yonder is a special book. Hogue, like his contemporary Laura Ingalls Wilder, weaves a narrative of a family making its way in rugged, impoverished, and sometimes violent places. From one-room schoolhouses to moonshiners, the details in this story capture the essence of a particular time and place, even as the characters reflect a universal quality that will endear them to modern readers.
Historian Brooks Blevins’s new introduction explores the life of Charles Wayman Hogue, analyzes the people and events that inspired the book, and places the volume in the context of America’s discovery of the Ozarks in the years between the World Wars. The University of Arkansas Press is proud to reissue Back Yonder as the first book in the Chronicles of the Ozarks series, making this Arkansas classic available again, ready to be discovered and rediscovered by readers sure to find the book as interesting and entertaining as ever.
Responding to pressure from the United States, the Colombian government in 1996 intensified aerial fumigation of coca plantations in the western Amazon region. This crackdown on illicit drug cultivation sparked an uprising among the region’s cocaleros, small-scale coca producers and harvest workers. More than 200,000 campesinos marched that summer to protest the heightened threat to their livelihoods. Between the Guerrillas and the State is an ethnographic analysis of the cocalero social movement that emerged from the uprising. María Clemencia Ramírez focuses on how the movement unfolded in the department (state) of Putumayo, which has long been subject to the de facto rule of guerrilla and paramilitary armies. The national government portrayed the area as uncivilized and disorderly and refused to see the coca growers as anything but criminals. Ramírez chronicles how the cocaleros demanded that the state recognize campesinos as citizens, provide basic services, and help them to transition from coca growing to legal and sustainable livelihoods.
For the past fifty years, America has been extraordinarily busy building prisons. Since 1970 we have tripled the total number of facilities, adding more than 1,200 new prisons to the landscape. This building boom has taken place across the country but is largely concentrated in rural southern towns.
In 2007, John M. Eason moved his family to Forrest City, Arkansas, in search of answers to key questions about this trend: Why is America building so many prisons? Why now? And why in rural areas? Eason quickly learned that rural demand for prisons is complicated. Towns like Forrest City choose to build prisons not simply in hopes of landing jobs or economic wellbeing, but also to protect and improve their reputations. For some rural leaders, fostering a prison in their town is a means of achieving order in a rapidly changing world. Taking us into the decision-making meetings and tracking the impact of prisons on economic development, poverty, and race, Eason demonstrates how groups of elite whites and black leaders share power. Situating prisons within dynamic shifts that rural economies are undergoing and showing how racially diverse communities lobby for prison construction, Big House on the Prairie is a remarkable glimpse into the ways a prison economy takes shape and operates.
In this study of the Biase, a small ethnic group living in Nigeria's Cross River State, David Uru Iyam attempts to resolve a long-standing controversy among development theorists: must Third World peoples adopt Western attitudes, practices, and technologies to improve their standard of living or are indigenous beliefs, technologies, and strategies better suited to local conditions?
The Biase today face social and economic pressures that seriously strain their ability to cope with the realities of modern Nigeria. Iyam, an anthropologist and a Biase, examines the relationship between culture and development as played out in projects in local communities.
Western technologies and beliefs alone cannot ensure economic growth and modernization, Iyam shows, and should not necessarily be imposed on poor rural groups who may not be prepared to incorporate them; neither, however, is it possible to recover indigenous coping strategies given the complexities of the postcolonial world. A successful development strategy, Iyam argues, needs to strengthen local managerial capacity, and he offers suggestions as to how this can be done in a range of cultural and social settings.
At the turn of the 20th century, the California dream was a suburban ideal where life on the farm was exceptional. Agrarian virtue existed alongside good roads, social clubs, cultural institutions, and business commerce. The California suburban dream was the ultimate symbol of progress and modernity.
California Dreaming: Boosterism, Memory, and Rural Suburbs in the Golden State analyzes the growth, promotion, and agricultural colonization that fed this dream during the early 1900s. Through this analysis, Paul J. P. Sandul introduces a newly identified rural-suburban type: the agriburb, a rural suburb deliberately planned, developed, and promoted for profit. Sandul reconceptualizes California’s growth during this time period, establishing the agriburb as a suburban phenomenon that occurred long before the booms of the 1920s and 1950s.
Sandul’s analysis contributes to a new suburban history that includes diverse constituencies and geographies and focuses on the production and construction of place and memory. Boosters purposefully “harvested” suburbs with an eye toward direct profit and metropolitan growth. State boosters boasted of unsurpassable idyllic communities while local boosters bragged of communities that represented the best of the best, both using narratives of place, class, race, lifestyle, and profit to avow images of the rural and suburban ideal.
This suburban dream attracted people who desired a family home, nature, health, culture, refinement, and rural virtue. In the agriburb, a family could live on a small home grove while enjoying the perks of a progressive city. A home located within the landscape of natural California with access to urban amenities provided a good place to live and a way to gain revenue through farming.
To uncover and dissect the agriburb, Sandul focuses on local histories from California’s Central Valley and the Inland Empire of Southern California, including Ontario near Los Angeles and Orangevale and Fair Oaks outside Sacramento. His analysis closely operates between the intersections of history, anthropology, geography, sociology, and the rural and urban, while examining a metanarrative that exposes much about the nature and lasting influence of cultural memory and public history upon agriburban communities.
Paul Theobald chronicles the history of the one-room country schools that were spread throughout the rural Midwest during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Focusing on the region’ s educational history in light of the religious, economic, and political atmosphere, Theobald explores the tight connection between educational preferences and religious views, between the economics of the countryside and the educational experiences of children, and between the politics of local power and the educational prospects of the powerless.
Basing his study on extensive archival research, including findings from eight midwestern states, Theobald neither condemns nor lauds the one-room school experience. Providing an objective evaluation, he examines rural school records, correspondence of early school officers, contemporary texts, and diaries and letters of rural students and teachers.
As he weaves together a contextualized account of the circumstances surrounding and within the one-room country schools of the Midwest, Theobald stresses that religion was of primary importance in nineteenth-century American life. Yet he also looks carefully at the shifting economic environment at work in the countryside, particularly in regard to the development of widespread farm tenancy and the consolidation of agricultural and related industries. He challenges readers to analyze how a national move from an agrarian to an industrial view caused conflict and confusion, thereby introducing irrevocable change into rural American life.
Theobald’ s study illuminates the history of education on the plains and sheds light on the social foundations of the period.
In Challenging Social Inequality, an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars and development workers explores the causes, consequences, and contemporary reactions to Brazil's sharply unequal agrarian structure. They focus on the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST)—Latin America's largest and most prominent social movement—and its ongoing efforts to confront historic patterns of inequality in the Brazilian countryside. Several essays provide essential historical background for understanding the MST. They examine Brazil's agrarian structure, state policies, and the formation of rural civil-society organizations. Other essays build on a frequently made distinction between the struggle for land and the struggle on the land. The first refers to the mobilization undertaken by landless peasants to demand government land redistribution. The struggle on the land takes place after the establishment of an official agricultural settlement. The main efforts during this phase are geared toward developing productive and meaningful rural communities. The last essays in the collection are wide-ranging analyses of the MST, which delve into the movement's relations with recent governments and its impact on other Brazilian social movements. In the conclusion, Miguel Carter appraises the future of agrarian reform in Brazil.
Contributors. José Batista Gonçalves Afonso, Sonia Maria P..P. Bergamasco, Sue Branford, Elena Calvo-González, Miguel Carter, Horacio Martins de Carvalho, Guilherme Costa Delgado, Bernardo Mançano Fernandes, Leonilde Sérvolo de Medeiros, George Mészáros, Luiz Antonio Norder, Gabriel Ondetti, Ivo Poletto, Marcelo Carvalho Rosa, Lygia Maria Sigaud, Emmanuel Wambergue, Wendy Wolford
The work of Douglas Harper has for two decades documented worlds in eclipse. A glimpse into the life of dairy farmers in upstate New York on the cusp of technological change, Changing Works is no exception. With photographs and interviews with farmers, Harper brings into view a social world altered by machines and stuns us with gorgeous visions of rural times past. As a member of this community, Harper relates compelling stories about families and their dairies that reveal how the advent of industrialized labor changed the way farmers structure their work and organize their lives. His new book charts the transformation of American farming from small dairies based on animal power and cooperative work to industrialized agriculture.
Changing Works combines Harper's pictures with classic images by photographers such as Gordon Parks, Sol Libsohn, and Charlotte Brooks-men and women whose work during the 1940s documented the mechanization and automation of agricultural practices. Part social history and part analysis of the drive to mass production, Changing Works examines how we farmed a half century ago versus how we do today through pictures new and old and through discussions with elderly farmers who witnessed the makeover. Ultimately, Harper challenges timely ecological and social questions about contemporary agriculture. He shows us how the dissolution of cooperative dairy farming has diminished the safety of the practice, degraded the way we relate to our natural environment, and splintered the once tight-knit communities of rural farmers. Mindful, then, of the advantages of preindustrial agriculture, and heeding the alarming spread of mad cow and foot-and-mouth disease, Changing Works harks back to the benefits of an older system.
A century ago, most Americans had ties to the land. Now only one in fifty is engaged in farming and little more than a fourth live in rural communities. Though not new, this exodus from the land represents one of the great social movements of our age and is also symptomatic of an unparalleled transformation of our society.
In Children of the Land, the authors ask whether traditional observations about farm families—strong intergenerational ties, productive roles for youth in work and social leadership, dedicated parents and a network of positive engagement in church, school, and community life—apply to three hundred Iowa children who have grown up with some tie to the land. The answer, as this study shows, is a resounding yes. In spite of the hardships they faced during the agricultural crisis of the 1980s, these children, whose lives we follow from the seventh grade to after high school graduation, proved to be remarkably successful, both academically and socially.
A moving testament to the distinctly positive lifestyle of Iowa families with connections to the land, this uplifting book also suggests important routes to success for youths in other high risk settings.
The image of rural America portrayed in this illuminating study is one that is vibrant, regionally varied, and sometimes heroic. Communities of Work focuses on the ways in which rural people and places are affected by political, social, and economic forces far outside their control and how they sustain themselves and their communities in response.
Bringing together the two fundamental concepts of community—where the relationships and practices of daily life occur—and work, in which an elementary exchange occurs, Communities of Work bridges several fields of study. Presented here is the contextual and embedded nature of social relations and the complexity involved in understanding them. Through the use of multiple case studies, the authors apply diverse theories and methods in seeking an integrated outcome, one captured by “communities of work.”
Beginning with a description of the broad changes in work and economic activities across the United States, ranging from the Ohio River Valley to a western boomtown, the book shifts its focus to the interplay of work, family, and local networks in time and place. Activities range from fishing in the Mississippi Delta to farming and family life in the Midwest. The authors then highlight how rural people and places respond to extra-local, increasingly global forces in settings as diverse as rural South Carolina and Wisconsin.
A certain communitarian theme runs through Communities of Work. It is about people and communities not merely reacting, but instead responding in ways that reflect their local culture, while being cognizant of the larger world within which they live.
Community leadership development programs are designed to increase the capacity of citizens for civic engagement. These programs fill gaps in what people know about governance and the processes of governance, especially at the local level. The work of many in this field is a response to the recognition that in smaller, rural communities, disadvantaged neighborhoods, or disaster areas, the skills and aptitudes needed for citizens to be successful leaders are often missing or underdeveloped.
Community Effects of Leadership Development Education presents the results of a five-year study tracking community-level effects of community leadership development programs drawn from research conducted in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, South Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia.
As the first book of its kind to seek answers to the question of whether or not the millions of dollars invested each year in community leadership development programs are valuable in the real world, this book challenges researchers, community organizers, and citizens to identify improved ways of demonstrating the link from program to implementation, as well as the way in which programs are conceived and designed.
This text also explores how leadership development programs relate to civic engagement, power and empowerment, and community change, and it demonstrates that community leadership development programs really do produce community change. At the same time, the findings of this study strongly support a relational view of community leadership, as opposed to other traditional leadership models used for program design.
To complement their findings, the authors have developed CENCE, a new model for community leadership development programs, which links leadership development efforts to community development by understanding how Civic Engagement, Networks, Commitment, and Empowerment work together to produce community viability.
The Guide is a tool for practitioners at all levels - social scientists, agency employees, community leaders, volunteers - to complete social impact assessments (SIAs) efficiently and effectively. The Guide is a how-to manual that provides the users with a step-by-step process easily followed by persons with minimal social science training. The Guide is organized into three sections: Chapters 1-6 provides the background, a short history, the conceptual model, the SIA scoping process and an explanation as to how to obtain data to measure SIA variables. Chapters 7-11 correspond to the five categories of SIA variables - population change, community and institutional arrangements, communities in transition, individual and family impacts and community infrastructure needs. Chapters 12-13 provide worksheets for summarizing SIA variables, and how resulting data may be used in the SIA mitigation/enhancement process.
From the late 1940s to the early 1960s, Puerto Rico was swept by a wave of modernization, transforming the island from a predominantly rural society to an unquestionably urban one. A curious paradox ensued, however. While the island underwent rapid urbanization, and the rhetoric of economic development reigned over official discourses, the newly installed insular government, along with some academic circles and radio and television media, constructed, promoted, and sponsored a narrative of Puerto Rican culture based on rural subjects, practices, and spaces.
By examining a wide range of cultural texts, but focusing on the film production of the Division of Community Education, the popular dance music of Cortijo y su combo, and the literary texts of Jose Luis Gonzalez and Rene Marques, Concrete and Countryside offers an in-depth analysis of how Puerto Ricans responded to this transformative period. It also shows how the arts used a battery of images of the urban and the rural to understand, negotiate, and critique the innumerable changes taking place on the island.
A single seed is more than just the promise of a plant. In rural south India, seeds represent diverging paths toward a sustainable livelihood. Development programs and global agribusiness promote genetically modified seeds and organic certification as a path toward more sustainable cotton production, but these solutions mask a complex web of economic, social, political, and ecological issues that may have consequences as dire as death.
In Cultivating Knowledge anthropologist Andrew Flachs shows how rural farmers come to plant genetically modified or certified organic cotton, sometimes during moments of agrarian crisis. Interweaving ethnographic detail, discussions of ecological knowledge, and deep history, Flachs uncovers the unintended consequences of new technologies, which offer great benefits to some—but at others’ expense. Flachs shows that farmers do not make simple cost-benefit analyses when evaluating new technologies and options. Their evaluation of development is a complex and shifting calculation of social meaning, performance, economics, and personal aspiration. Only by understanding this complicated nexus can we begin to understand sustainable agriculture.
By comparing the experiences of farmers engaged with these mutually exclusive visions for the future of agriculture, Cultivating Knowledge investigates the human responses to global agrarian change. It illuminates the local impact of global changes: the slow, persistent dangers of pesticides, inequalities in rural life, the aspirations of people who grow fibers sent around the world, the place of ecological knowledge in modern agriculture, and even the complex threat of suicide. It all begins with a seed.
On September 9, 2015, in the quirky village of Yellow Springs, Ohio, the Miami Township Board of Trustees arbitrated a dispute concerning an area bed and breakfast that was apparently causing problems in the neighborhood where it was located. People were irate: the B&B was considered too loud by some but unfairly under attack by others, while township officials were called incompetent by both sides for not ruling in their favor. The trustees were amused, concerned, and baffled at the situation before them.
This quaint debate represents just one of many fascinating problems the trustees deal with on a daily basis. While Miami Township is small, the concerns are myriad—from cemeteries filled with unknown remains to a fire department to oversee to legal action required against properties clogged with junk. The responsibilities are doubly impressive considering no trustees have backgrounds in public office.
This book combines entertaining nonfiction vignettes with well-researched township history—including a history of religious cults and the possibility that Lee Harvey Oswald was once in town—and elucidates the processes behind an entire civic division. Dance of the Trustees documents twenty-first-century small-town life with humor, warmth, and erudition.
Between 1819 and 1970, the town of Dardanelle, Arkansas, located on the south side of the Arkansas River in Yell County, Arkansas, experienced sustained prosperity and growth made possible by the nearby farming community known as the Dardanelle Bottoms.
A reciprocal relationship between the town and the Bottoms formed the economic backbone on which the area’s well-being was balanced. The country people came to town on Saturdays to buy their groceries and supplies, to shop and take in a movie or visit the pool halls or barbershops. Merchants relied heavily on this country trade and had a long history of extending credit, keeping prices reasonable, and offering respect and appreciation to their customers.
This interdependence, stable for decades, began to unravel in the late 1940s with changes in farming, particularly the cotton industry. In Dardanelle and the Bottoms, Mildred Diane Gleason explores this complex rural/town dichotomy, revealing and analyzing key components of each area, including aspects of race, education, the cotton economy and its demise, the devastation of floods and droughts, leisure, crime, and the impact of the Great Depression.
Inspired by the Arkansas Review’s “What Is the Delta?” series of articles, Defining the Delta collects fifteen essays from scholars in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities to describe and define this important region.
Here are essays examining the Delta’s physical properties, boundaries, and climate from a geologist, archeologist, and environmental historian. The Delta is also viewed through the lens of the social sciences and humanities—historians, folklorists, and others studying the connection between the land and its people, in particular the importance of agriculture and the culture of the area, especially music, literature, and food.
Every turn of the page reveals another way of seeing the seven-state region that is bisected by and dependent on the Mississippi River, suggesting ultimately that there are myriad ways of looking at, and defining, the Delta.
Dreamworlds of Alabama
Allen Shelton University of Minnesota Press, 2007 Library of Congress F334.J33S54 2007 | Dewey Decimal 976.163
“I speak in what others often hear as a strange accent. My past can’t be located. I live in Buffalo, New York, an exile from the South. But these aren’t Yankee dreams, even though my past seems like a fabrication, a dreamworld in which I’m a paper character and not a historical participant, with scars from barbed wire ripping under the pressure and flying through the air like a swarm of bees, or a horse rearing up and banging its head into mine from within, exploding my forehead.” —from the Preface
Wisteria draped on a soldier’s coffin, sent home to Alabama from a Virginia battlefield. The oldest standing house in the county, painted gray and flanked by a pecan orchard. A black steel fence tool, now perched atop a pile of books like a prehistoric bird of prey. In Dreamworlds of Alabama, Allen Shelton explores physical, historical, and social landscapes of northeastern Alabama. His homeplace near the Appalachian foothills provides the setting for a rich examination of cultural practices, a place where the language of place and things resonates with as much vitality and emotional urgency as the language of humans.
Throughout the book, Shelton demonstrates how deeply culture is inscribed in the land and in the most intimate spaces of the person—places of belonging and loss, insight and memory.
Born and raised in Jacksonville, Alabama, Allen Shelton is associate professor of sociology at Buffalo State College.
Most Americans take for granted much of what is materially involved in the daily rituals of dwelling. In Dwelling in Resistance, Chelsea Schelly examines four alternative U.S. communities—“The Farm,” “Twin Oaks,” “Dancing Rabbit,” and “Earthships”—where electricity, water, heat, waste, food, and transportation practices differ markedly from those of the vast majority of Americans.
Schelly portrays a wide range of residential living alternatives utilizing renewable, small-scale, de-centralized technologies. These technologies considerably change how individuals and communities interact with the material world, their natural environment, and one another. Using in depth interviews and compelling ethnographic observations, the book offers an insightful look at different communities’ practices and principles and their successful endeavors in sustainability and self-sufficiency.
Look at any list of America’s top foodie cities and you probably won’t find Boise, Idaho or Sitka, Alaska. Yet they are the new face of the food movement. Healthy, sustainable fare is changing communities across this country, revitalizing towns that have been ravaged by disappearing industries and decades of inequity.
What sparked this revolution? To find out, Mark Winne traveled to seven cities not usually considered revolutionary. He broke bread with brew masters and city council members, farmers and philanthropists, toured start-up incubators and homeless shelters. What he discovered was remarkable, even inspiring.
In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, once a company steel town, investment in the arts has created a robust new market for local restaurateurs. In Alexandria, Louisiana, “one-stop shopping” food banks help clients apply for health insurance along with SNAP benefits. In Jacksonville, Florida, aeroponics are bringing fresh produce to a food desert.
Over the course of his travels, Winne experienced the power of individuals to transform food and the power of food to transform communities. The cities of Food Town, USA remind us that innovation is ripening all across the country, especially in the most unlikely places.
While environmental disputes and conflicts over fossil fuel extraction have grown in recent years, few issues have been as contentious in the twenty-first century as those surrounding the impacts of unconventional natural gas and oil development using hydraulic drilling and fracturing techniques—more commonly known as “fracking”—on local communities. In Fractured Communities, Anthony E. Ladd and other leading environmental sociologists present a set of crucial case studies analyzing the differential risk perceptions, socio-environmental impacts, and mobilization of citizen protest (or quiescence) surrounding unconventional energy development and hydraulic fracking in a number of key U.S. shale regions. Fractured Communities reveals how this contested terrain is expanding, pushing the issue of fracking into the mainstream of the American political arena.
Historian Royden Loewen has brought together selections from diaries kept by 21 Mennonites in Canada between 1863 and 1929, some translated from German for the first time. By skillfully comparing and contrasting a wide cross-section of lives, Loewen shows how these diaries often turn the hidden contours of household and community "inside out." The writers featured were ordinary rural people: young women and grandmothers, rural preachers and landless householders. They include a teenaged boy who immigrated from Russia to Manitoba in 1875 as well as a successful merchant, a traveling evangelist, and a devout, conservative church elder. An elderly grandfather recounted the daily circuit of his children's homes, while 19-year-old Marie Schoeder wrote of her literary aspirations, her "secret hope" that some day she would "write things that have a real worth, things that are worth printing, and things that other folks would love to read and pay for." From the Inside Out also contrasts diaries from two distinct Mennonite communities in Canada. The Swiss-American Mennonites in Waterloo County, Ontario, faced rapid urbanization, while the Dutch-Russian Mennonites in southern Manitoba maintained their more rural environment. The diaries mirror their writers' preoccupations with work and weather, but they also reveal a communityís social structure and round of activities such as weddings, funerals, and worship services. In the process of diary-keeping, the writers sought to make sense of a dynamic and often unpredictable world. Reading what they chose to record is to learn much about their culture. Their writings provide glimpses of their lives, their collective mindset, and their history as a people.
Why do young men born in many small villages in Spain tend, at the end of the twentieth century, to stay there to live, often remaining unmarried, while young women from the same villages tend to leave? In Gender, Work, and Property, Nancy Konvalinka explores this phenomenon using the case of one small village in northwestern Spain, and she extrapolates her findings there to understand similar processes elsewhere in Europe.
The changes in this village are analyzed and documented through long-term ethnographic research, participant observation, interviews, kinship diagrams, life-course models, and archive study in order to help bring the village alive for the reader.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, modern Chinese intellectuals, reformers, revolutionaries, leftist journalists, and idealistic youth had often crossed the increasing gap between the city and the countryside, which made the act of “going to the countryside” a distinctively modern experience and a continuous practice in China. Such a spatial crossing eventually culminated in the socialist state program of “down to the villages” movements during the 1960s and 1970s. What, then, was the special significance of “going to the countryside” before that era? Going to the Countryside deals with the cultural representations and practices of this practice between 1915 and 1965, focusing on individual homecoming, rural reconstruction, revolutionary journeys to Yan’an, the revolutionary “going down to the people” as well as going to the frontiers and rural hometowns for socialist construction. As part of the larger discourses of enlightenment, revolution, and socialist industrialization, “going to the countryside” entailed new ways of looking at the world and ordinary people, brought about new experiences of space and time, initiated new means of human communication and interaction, generated new forms of cultural production, revealed a fundamental epistemic shift in modern China, and ultimately created a new aesthetic, social, and political landscape.
As a critical response to the “urban turn” in the past few decades, this book brings the rural back to the central concern of Chinese cultural studies and aims to bridge the city and the countryside as two types of important geographical entities, which have often remained as disparate scholarly subjects of inquiry in the current state of China studies. Chinese modernity has been characterized by a dual process that created problems from the vast gap between the city and the countryside but simultaneously initiated constant efforts to cope with the gap personally, collectively, and institutionally. The process of “crossing” two distinct geographical spaces was often presented as continuous explorations of various ways of establishing the connectivity, interaction, and relationship of these two imagined geographical entities. Going to the Countryside argues that this new body of cultural productions did not merely turn the rural into a constantly changing representational space; most importantly, the rural has been constructed as a distinct modern experiential and aesthetic realm characterized by revolutionary changes in human conceptions and sentiments.
Going Up the Country is part oral history, part nostalgia-tinged narrative, and part clear-eyed analysis of the multifaceted phenomena collectively referred to as the counterculture movement in Vermont. This is the story of how young migrants, largely from the cities and suburbs of New York and Massachusetts, turned their backs on the establishment of the 1950s and moved to the backwoods of rural Vermont, spawning a revolution in lifestyle, politics, sexuality, and business practices that would have a profound impact on both the state and the nation. The movement brought hippies, back-to-the-landers, political radicals, sexual libertines, and utopians to a previously conservative state and led us to today’s farm to table way of life, environmental consciousness, and progressive politics as championed by Bernie Sanders.
The rural community presents not only distinct health care delivery challenges but also ethical problems for clinicians and administrators of small, rural health care facilities. Health care delivered in a rural context—in closely knit, tightly interdependent small community settings—poses unique ethical considerations for clinical practitioners. For example, a provider in a resource-poor rural setting may be faced with treating a family member, friend, business associate, or neighbor, since the role separation between clinician and patient that predominates in the urban setting is less likely to occur in a small town. Because of the unique rural context, the solutions that health care providers develop to resolve complex ethics dilemmas may differ from solutions reached in urban areas. The Handbook for Rural Health Care Ethics is designed to be a useful resource for clinicians and administrators in rural settings. It draws on the available research and real-life examples to paint a picture of challenging, yet all-too-familiar ethics conflicts while offering strategies for a proactive, preventive approach to ethical issues.
How women-only communities provide spaces for new forms of culture, sociality, gender, and sexuality
Women’s lands are intentional, collective communities composed entirely of women. Rooted in 1970s feminist politics, they continue to thrive in a range of ways, from urban households to isolated rural communes, providing spaces where ideas about gender, sexuality, and sociality are challenged in both deliberate and accidental ways. Herlands, a compelling ethnography of women’s land networks in the United States, highlights the ongoing relevance of these communities as vibrant cultural enclaves that also have an impact on broader ideas about gender, women’s bodies, lesbian identity, and right ways of living.
As a participant-observer, Keridwen N. Luis brings unique insights to the lives and stories of the women living in these communities. While documenting the experiences of specific spaces in Massachusetts, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Ohio, Herlands also explores the history of women’s lands and breaks new ground exploring culture theory, gender theory, and how lesbian identity is conceived and constructed in North America. Luis also discusses how issues of race and class are addressed, the ways in which nudity and public hygiene challenge dominant constructions of the healthy or aging body, and the pervasive influence of hegemonic thinking on debates about transgender women. Luis finds that although changing dominant thinking can be difficult and incremental, women’s lands provide exciting possibilities for revolutionary transformation in society.
J. Blake Perkins searches for the roots of rural defiance in the Ozarks--and discovers how it changed over time. Eschewing generalities, Perkins focuses on the experiences and attitudes of rural people themselves as they interacted with government in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He uncovers the reasons local disputes and uneven access to government power fostered markedly different reactions by hill people as time went by. Resistance in the earlier period sprang from upland small farmers' conflicts with capitalist elites who held the local levers of federal power. But as industry and agribusiness displaced family farms after World War II, a conservative cohort of town business elites, local political officials, and Midwestern immigrants arose from the region's new low-wage, union-averse economy. As Perkins argues, this modern anti-government conservatism bore little resemblance to the populist backcountry populism of an earlier age but had much in common with the movement elsewhere.
Counterculture flourished nationwide in the 1960s and 1970s, and while the hippies of Haight–Ashbury occupied the public eye, a faction of back to the landers were quietly creating their own haven off the beaten path in the Arkansas Ozarks. In Hipbillies, Jared Phillips combines oral histories and archival resources to weave the story of the Ozarks and its population of country beatniks into the national narrative, showing how the back to the landers engaged in “deep revolution” by sharing their ideas on rural development, small farm economy, and education with the locals—and how they became a fascinating part of a traditional region’s coming to terms with the modern world in the process.
Intimate Geopolitics begins with a love story set in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, in India’s Jammu and Kashmir State, but this is also a story about territory, and the ways that love, marriage, and young people are caught up in contemporary global processes. In Ladakh, children grow up to adopt a religious identity in part to be counted in the census, and to vote in elections. Religion, population, and voting blocs are implicitly tied to territorial sovereignty and marriage across religious boundaries becomes a geopolitical problem in an area that seeks to define insiders and outsiders in relation to borders and national identity. This book populates territory, a conventionally abstract rendering of space, with the stories of those who live through territorial struggle at marriage and birth ceremonies, in the kitchen and in the bazaar, in heartbreak and in joy. Intimate Geopolitics argues for the incorporation of the role of time – temporality – into our understanding of territory.
Most studies of lesbian and gay history focus on urban environments. Yet gender and sexual diversity were anything but rare in nonmetropolitan areas in the first half of the twentieth century. Just Queer Folks explores the seldom-discussed history of same-sex intimacy and gender nonconformity in rural and small-town America during a period when the now familiar concepts of heterosexuality and homosexuality were just beginning to take shape.
Eschewing the notion that identity is always the best measure of what can be known about gender and sexuality, Colin R. Johnson argues instead for a queer historicist approach. In so doing, he uncovers a startlingly unruly rural past in which small-town eccentrics, "mannish" farm women, and cross-dressing Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees were often just queer folks so far as their neighbors were concerned. Written with wit and verve, Just Queer Folks upsets a whole host of contemporary commonplaces, including the notion that queer history is always urban history.
Up until now, the majority of literature about service learning has focused on urban areas, while comparatively little attention has been paid to activities in rural communities. The Landscape of Rural Service Learning, and What It Teaches Us All is designed to provide a comprehensive look at rural service learning. The practices that have developed in rural areas, partly because of the lack of nonprofits and other services found in urban settings, produce lessons and models that can help us all rethink the dominant forms of service learning defined by urban contexts. Where there are few formal organizations, people end up working more directly with one another; where there is a need for services in locations where they are unavailable, service learning becomes more than just an academic exercise or assignment. This volume includes theoretical frameworks that are informed by the rural, concrete stories that show how rural service learning has developed and is now practiced, practical strategies that apply across service learning contexts, and points to ponder as we all consider our next steps along the path of meaningful service learning.
AIDS activists are often romanticized as extremely noble and selfless. However, the relationships among HIV support group members highlighted in Landscapes of Activism are hardly utopian or ideal. At first, the group has everything it needs, a thriving membership, and support from major donors. Soon, the group undergoes an identity crisis over money and power, eventually fading from the scene. As government and development institutions embraced activist demands—decentralizing AIDS care through policies of health systems strengthening—civil society was increasingly rendered obsolete. Charting this transition—from subjects, to citizens, and back again—reveals the inefficacy of protest, and the importance of community resilience. The product of in-depth ethnography and focused anthropological inquiry, this is the first book on AIDS activists in Mozambique. AIDS activism’s strange decline in southern Africa, rather than a reflection of citizen apathy, is the direct result of targeted state and donor intervention.
Life in the Leatherwoods is one of the country's most delightful childhood memoirs, penned by an Ozark native with a keen, observant eye and a gift for narrative. John Quincy Wolf's relaxed style and colorful characters resemble those of another chronicler of nineteenth-century rural life, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Wolf's acerbic wit and lucid prose infuse the White River pioneers of his story with such life that the reader participates vicariously in their log rollings, house-raisings, spelling bees, hog killings, soap making, country dances, and camp meetings. Originally published by Memphis State University Press in 1974, this new edition includes additional writings of John Q. Wolf and a continuation of the autobiographical narrative after his 1887 move to Batesville. Wolf's writings are valuable resources for southern historians, folklorists, general readers, and scholars of Ozarkiana because they provide a rare glimpse into the social and family life of a largely misunderstood and stereotyped people—the independent hill farmers of the Arkansas Ozarks of the 1870s and 1880s. With Life in the Leatherwoods, Wolf bestows a benediction upon a society that existed vibrantly and humorously in his memory—one that has now forever disappeared from the American countryside.
Originally published by Memphis State University Press in 1974, this new edition includes additional writings of John Q. Wolf and a continuation of the autobiographical narrative after his 1887 move to Batesville. Wolf’s writings are valuable resources for southern historians, folklorists, general readers, and scholars of Ozarkiana because they provide a rare glimpse into the social and family life of a largely misunderstood and stereotyped people—the independent hill farmers of the Arkansas Ozarks of the 1870s and 1880s. With Life in the Leatherwoods, Wolf bestows a benediction upon a society that existed vibrantly and humorously in his memory—one that has now forever disappeared from the American countryside.
The connection between people and companion animals has received considerable attention from scholars. In her original and provocative ethnography Livestock/Deadstock, sociologist Rhoda Wilkie asks, how do the men and women who work on farms, in livestock auction markets, and slaughterhouses, interact with—or disengage from—the animals they encounter in their jobs?
Wilkie provides a nuanced appreciation of how those men and women who breed, rear, show, fatten, market, medically treat, and slaughter livestock, make sense of their interactions with the animals that constitute the focus of their work lives. Using a sociologically informed perspective, Wilkie explores their attitudes and behaviors to explain how agricultural workers think, feel, and relate to food animals.
Livestock/Deadstock looks at both people and animals in the division of labor and shows how commercial and hobby productive contexts provide male and female handlers with varying opportunities to bond with and/or distance themselves from livestock. Exploring the experiences of stockpeople, hobby farmers, auction workers, vets and slaughterers, she offers timely insight into the multifaceted, gendered, and contradictory nature of human roles in food animal production.
In 1935, in the midst of relentless drought, Aldo Leopold purchased an abandoned farm along the Wisconsin River near Baraboo, Wisconsin. An old chicken coop, later to become famous as the Leopold "Shack," was the property's only intact structure. The Leopold family embraced this spent farm as a new kind of laboratory—a place to experiment on restoring health to an ailing piece of land. Here, Leopold found inspiration for writing A Sand County Almanac, his influential book of essays on conservation and ethics.
Living a Land Ethic chronicles the formation of the 1,600-acre reserve surrounding the Shack. When the Leopold Memorial Reserve was founded in 1967, five neighboring families signed an innovative agreement to jointly care for their properties in ways that honored Aldo Leopold's legacy. In the ensuing years, the Reserve's Coleman and Leopold families formed the Sand County Foundation and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. These organizations have been the primary stewards of the Reserve, carrying on a tradition of ecological restoration and cooperative conservation. Author Stephen A. Laubach draws from the archives of both foundations, including articles of incorporation, correspondence, photos, managers' notes, and interviews to share with readers the Reserve's untold history and its important place in the American conservation movement.
Using an intersectional approach, Marriage, Divorce, and Distress in Northeast Brazil explores rural, working-class, black Brazilian women’s perceptions and experiences of courtship, marriage and divorce. In this book, women’s narratives of marriage dissolution demonstrate the ways in which changing gender roles and marriage expectations associated with modernization and globalization influence the intimate lives and the health and well being of women in Northeast Brazil. Melanie A. Medeiros explores the women’s rich stories of desire, love, respect, suffering, strength, and transformation.
Using an intersectional approach, Marriage, Divorce, and Distress in Northeast Brazil explores rural, working-class, black Brazilian women’s perceptions and experiences of courtship, marriage and divorce. In this book, women’s narratives of marriage dissolution demonstrate the ways in which changing gender roles and marriage expectations associated with modernization and globalization influence the intimate lives and the health and well being of women in Northeast Brazil. Melanie A. Medeiros explores the women’s rich stories of desire, love, respect, suffering, strength, and transformation.
Mieres Reborn reveals how patient observation and an analysis of one small community have much to tell us about human progress more generally.
Not long ago Mieres, a village in the eastern foothills of the Pyrenees, seemed destined to die. As in countless thousands of rural communities around the world, young people in Mieres over the years have moved to the towns and cities, leaving behind abandoned fields and meadows, derelict houses, and their aging and disconsolate parents and grandparents.
Close observation of this social microcosm over two decades reveals the capacity of ordinary people in a locality to reinvent themselves, reconstruct relationships with the wider world, and confront new threats to their collective survival. A. F. Robertson describes how the determination that Mieres should survive is most evident in a vigorous round of fiestas, fairs, and other public events in which natives, exiles, and newcomers work to create a lively sense of belonging. Since the 1980s, Mieres has been enlivened by a reverse flow of migrants from the cities, new settlers who have brought an infusion of youth to the community, devised new livelihoods, revitalized the village school, energized the native ”Mierencs,” and provided the impetus for a rediscovery of historical roots and political identity.
The regeneration of life in the countryside, in part a reaction to urban expansion and decay, is a global phenomenon of increasing political, economic, and social significance.
Migrant workers live in a transnational world that spans the boundaries of nation-states. Yet for undocumented workers, this world is complicated by inflexible immigration policies and the ever-present threat of enforcement. Workers labeled as “illegals” wrestle with restrictive immigration policies, evading border patrol and local police as they risk their lives to achieve economic stability for their families. For this group of workers, whose lives in the U.S. are largely defined by their tenuous legal status, the sacrifices they make to get ahead entail long periods of waiting, extended separation from family, and above all, tremendous uncertainty around a freedom that many of us take for granted—everyday mobility. In Milking in the Shadows, Julie Keller takes an in-depth look at a population of undocumented migrants working in the American dairy industry to understand the components of this labor system. This book offers a framework for understanding the disjuncture between the labor desired by employers and life as an undocumented worker in America today.
Though mining is an infamously masculine industry, women make up 20 percent of all production crews in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin—the largest coal-producing region in the United States. How do these women fit into a working culture supposedly hostile to females? This is what anthropologist Jessica Smith Rolston, herself a onetime mine worker and the daughter of a miner, set out to discover. Her answers, based on years of participant-observation in four mines and extensive interviews with miners, managers, engineers, and the families of mine employees, offer a rich and surprising view of the working “families” that miners construct. In this picture, gender roles are not nearly as straightforward—or as straitened—as stereotypes suggest.
Gender is far from the primary concern of coworkers in crews. Far more important, Rolston finds, is protecting the safety of the entire crew and finding a way to treat each other well despite the stresses of their jobs. These miners share the burden of rotating shift work—continually switching between twelve-hour day and night shifts—which deprives them of the daily rhythms of a typical home, from morning breakfasts to bedtime stories. Rolston identifies the mine workers’ response to these shared challenges as a new sort of constructed kinship that both challenges and reproduces gender roles in their everyday working and family lives.
Crews’ expectations for coworkers to treat one another like family and to adopt an “agricultural” work ethic tend to minimize gender differences. And yet, these differences remain tenacious in the equation of masculinity with technical expertise, and of femininity with household responsibilities. For Rolston, such lingering areas of inequality highlight the importance of structural constraints that flout a common impulse among men and women to neutralize the significance of gender, at home and in the workplace.
At a time when the Appalachian region continues to dominate discussion of mining culture, this book provides a very different and unexpected view—of how miners live and work together, and of how their lives and work reconfigure ideas of gender and kinship.
Research in environmental justice reveals that low-income and minority neighborhoods in our nation’s cities are often the preferred sites for landfills, power plants, and polluting factories. Those who live in these sacrifice zones are forced to shoulder the burden of harmful environmental effects so that others can prosper. Mountains of Injustice broadens the discussion from the city to the country by focusing on the legacy of disproportionate environmental health impacts on communities in the Appalachian region, where the costs of cheap energy and cheap goods are actually quite high.
Through compelling stories and interviews with people who are fighting for environmental justice, Mountains of Injustice contributes to the ongoing debate over how to equitably distribute the long-term environmental costs and consequences of economic development.
Laura Allen, Brian Black, Geoffrey L. Buckley, Donald Edward Davis, Wren Kruse, Nancy Irwin Maxwell, Chad Montrie, Michele Morrone, Kathryn Newfont, John Nolt, Jedediah S. Purdy, and Stephen J. Scanlan.
We were going down the road, and we came to this house. There was a little boy standing by the road just crying and crying. We stopped, and we heard the biggest racket you ever heard up in the house. œWhat ™s the matter, son? œWhy, Maw and Paw are up there fightin ™. œWho is your Paw, son? œWell, that ™s what they are fightin ™ over. Brimming with ballads, stories, riddles, tall tales, and great good humor, My Curious and Jocular Heroes pays homage to four people who guided and inspired Loyal Jones ™s own study of Appalachian culture. His sharp-eyed portraits introduce a new generation to Bascom Lunsford, the pioneer behind the œmemory collections of song and story at Columbia University and the Library of Congress; the Sorbonne-educated collector and performer Josiah H. Combs; Cratis D. Williams, the legendary father of Appalachian studies; and the folklorist and master storyteller Leonard W. Roberts. Throughout, Jones highlights the tales, songs, jokes, and other collected nuggets that define the breadth of each man ™s research and repertoire.
2004 winner of the Robert E. Park Book Award from the Community and Urban Sociology Section (CUSS) of the American Sociological Association
Although the death of the small town has been predicted for decades, during the 1990s the population of rural America actually increased by more than three million people. In this book, Sonya Salamon explores these rural newcomers and the impact they have on the social relationships, public spaces, and community resources of small town America.
Salamon draws on richly detailed ethnographic studies of six small towns in central Illinois, including a town with upscale subdivisions that lured wealthy professionals as well as towns whose agribusinesses drew working-class Mexicano migrants and immigrants. She finds that regardless of the class or ethnicity of the newcomers, if their social status differs relative to that of oldtimers, their effect on a town has been the same: suburbanization that erodes the close-knit small town community, with especially severe consequences for small town youth. To successfully combat the homogenization of the heartland, Salamon argues, newcomers must work with oldtimers so that together they sustain the vital aspects of community life and identity that first drew them to small towns.
An illustration of the recent revitalization of interest in the small town, Salamon's work provides a significant addition to the growing literature on the subject. Social scientists, sociologists, policymakers, and urban planners will appreciate this important contribution to the ongoing discussion of social capital and the transformation in the study and definition of communities.
Just looking at the Pacific Northwest’s many verdant forests and fields, it may be hard to imagine the intense work it took to transform the region into the agricultural powerhouse it is today. Much of this labor was provided by Mexican guest workers, Tejano migrants, and undocumented immigrants, who converged on the region beginning in the mid-1940s. Of Forests and Fields tells the story of these workers, who toiled in the fields, canneries, packing sheds, and forests, turning the Pacific Northwest into one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country.
Employing an innovative approach that traces the intersections between Chicana/o labor and environmental history, Mario Sifuentez shows how ethnic Mexican workers responded to white communities that only welcomed them when they were economically useful, then quickly shunned them. He vividly renders the feelings of isolation and desperation that led to the formation of ethnic Mexican labor organizations like the Pineros y Campesinos Unidos Noroeste (PCUN) farm workers union, which fought back against discrimination and exploitation. Of Forests and Fields not only extends the scope of Mexican labor history beyond the Southwest, it offers valuable historical precedents for understanding the struggles of immigrant and migrant laborers in our own era.
Sifuentez supplements his extensive archival research with a unique set of first-hand interviews, offering new perspectives on events covered in the printed historical record. A descendent of ethnic Mexican immigrant laborers in Oregon, Sifuentez also poignantly demonstrates the links between the personal and political, as his research leads him to amazing discoveries about his own family history...
Sorokin (1889-1968) rose from a peasant childhood in Russia to become one of the most erudite, insightful, and critical figures in the history of sociology. He was, however, considered both a pioneer and an outcast.
His early American works opened new vistas in rural sociology, social stratification, and theory. They provided an elegant standard for scientific sociology and won him the founding chairmanship of sociology at Harvard University. A continuous innovator, he next explored the vast expanse of human affairs, and outlined the surfacing crisis of modernity. At the Harvard Research Center for Creative Altruism he developed a blueprint for social reconstruction. Such interests combined with a prophetic and combative style of disagreement drove him to the margins of a discipline hungry for acceptance as a science. In the early1960s, his work was once again recognized, and he became president of the American Sociological Association.
Including essays that range from his early Russian years to his final works in the 60s, this collection provides a much-needed introduction to one of sociology's most controversial thinkers.
“People’s lives are written on the fields of old farms. The rows of the fields are like lines on a page, blank and white in winter, filled in with each year’s story of happiness, disappointment, drought, rain, sun, scarcity, plenty. The chapters accumulate, and people enter and leave the narrative. Only the farm goes on.”—From the Introduction
In One Small Farm, Craig Schreiner’s evocative color photographs capture one family as they maintain the rhythms and routines of small farm life near Pine Bluff, Wisconsin. “Milk in the morning and milk at night. Feed the cows and calves. Plant crops. Grind feed. Chop and bale hay. Cut wood. Clean the barn. Spread manure on the fields. Plow snow and split wood in winter. In spring, pick rocks from the fields. Cultivate corn. Pick corn. Harvest oats and barley. Help calves be born. Milk in the morning and milk at night.”
There’s much more to life on the farm than just chores, of course, and Schreiner captures the rhythms and richness of everyday life on the farm in all seasons, evoking both the challenges and the joys and providing viewers a window into a world that is quickly fading. In documenting the Lamberty family’s daily work and life, these thoughtful photos explore larger questions concerning the future of small farm agriculture, Wisconsin cultural traditions, and the rural way of life.
Vance Randolph was perfectly constituted for his role as the chronicler of Ozark folkways. As a self-described “hack writer,” he was as much a figure of the margins as his chosen subjects, even as his essentially romantic identification with the region he first visited as the vacationing child of mainstream parents was encouraged by editors and tempered by his scientific training. In The Ozarks, originally published in 1931, we have Randolph’s first book-length portrait of the people he would spend the next half-century studying. The full range of Randolph’s interests—in language, in hunting and fishing, in folksongs and play parties, in moonshining—is on view in this book that made his name; forever after he was “Mr. Ozark,” the region’s preeminent expert who would, in collection after collection, enlarge and deepen his debut effort. With a new introduction by Robert Cochran, The Ozarks is the second entry in the Chronicles of the Ozarks series, a reprint series that will make available some of the Depression Era’s Ozarks books. An image shaper in its day, a cultural artifact for decades to come, this wonderful book is as entertaining as ever.
Winner, ISHS Annual Award for a Scholarly Publication, 2017
With a population of about two thousand, Pembroke Township, one of the largest rural, black communities north of the Mason-Dixon Line, sits in an isolated corner of Kankakee County, Illinois, sixty-five miles south of Chicago. It is also one of the poorest places in the nation. Many black farmers from the South came to this area during the Great Migration; finding Chicago to be overcrowded and inhospitable, they were able to buy land in the township at low prices. The poor soil made it nearly impossible to establish profitable farms, however, and economic prosperity has eluded the region ever since. Pembroke: A Rural, Black Community on the Illinois Dunes chronicles the history of this inimitable township and shows the author’s personal transformation through his experiences with Pembroke and its people. A native of nearby Kankakee, author Dave Baron first traveled to Pembroke on a church service trip at age fifteen and saw real poverty firsthand, but he also discovered a community possessing grace and purpose.
Baron begins each chapter with a personal narrative from his initial trip to Pembroke. He covers the early history of the area, explaining how the unique black oak savanna ecosystem was created and describing early residents, including Potawatomi tribes and white fur traders. He introduces readers to Pap and Mary Tetter, Pembroke’s first black residents, who—according to local lore—assisted fugitives on the Underground Railroad; details the town’s wild years, when taverns offered liquor, drugs, and prostitution; discusses the many churches of Pembroke and the nearby high school where, in spite of sometimes strained relations, Pembroke’s black students have learned alongside white students of a neighboring community since well before Brown v. Board of Education; outlines efforts by conservation groups to preserve Pembroke’s rare black oak savannas; and analyzes obstacles to and failed attempts at economic development in Pembroke, as well as recent efforts, including organic farms and a sustainable living movement, which may yet bring some prosperity.
Based on research, interviews with residents, and the author’s own experiences during many return trips to Pembroke, this book—part social, cultural, legal, environmental, and political history and part memoir—profiles a number of the colorful, longtime residents and considers what has enabled Pembroke to survive despite a lack of economic opportunities. Although Pembroke has a reputation for violence and vice, Baron reveals a township with a rich and varied history and a vibrant culture.
Americans think of suburbs as prosperous areas that are relatively free from poverty and unemployment. Yet, today more poor people live in the suburbs than in cities themselves. In Places in Need, social policy expert Scott W. Allard tracks how the number of poor people living in suburbs has more than doubled over the last 25 years, with little attention from either academics or policymakers. Rising suburban poverty has not coincided with a decrease in urban poverty, meaning that solutions for reducing poverty must work in both cities and suburbs. Allard notes that because the suburban social safety net is less-developed than the urban safety net, a better understanding of suburban communities is critical for understanding and alleviating poverty in metropolitan areas.
Using census data, administrative data from safety net programs, and interviews with nonprofit leaders in the Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas, Allard shows that poor suburban households resemble their urban counterparts in terms of labor force participation, family structure, and educational attainment. In the last few decades, suburbs have seen increases in single-parent households, decreases in the number of college graduates, and higher unemployment rates. As a result, suburban demand for safety net assistance has increased. Concerning is evidence suburban social service providers—which serve clients spread out over large geographical areas, and often lack the political and philanthropic support that urban nonprofit organizations can command—do not have sufficient resources to meet the demand.
To strengthen local safety nets, Allard argues for expanding funding and eligibility to federal programs such as SNAP and the Earned Income Tax Credit, which have proven effective in urban and suburban communities alike. He also proposes to increase the capabilities of community-based service providers through a mix of new funding and capacity-building efforts.
Places in Need demonstrates why researchers, policymakers, and nonprofit leaders should focus more on the shared fate of poor urban and suburban communities. This account of suburban vulnerability amidst persistent urban poverty provides a valuable foundation for developing more effective antipoverty strategies.
Since the election of Scott Walker, Wisconsin has been seen as ground zero for debates about the appropriate role of government in the wake of the Great Recession. In a time of rising inequality, Walker not only survived a bitterly contested recall that brought thousands of protesters to Capitol Square, he was subsequently reelected. How could this happen? How is it that the very people who stand to benefit from strong government services not only vote against the candidates who support those services but are vehemently against the very idea of big government?
With The Politics of Resentment, Katherine J. Cramer uncovers an oft-overlooked piece of the puzzle: rural political consciousness and the resentment of the “liberal elite.” Rural voters are distrustful that politicians will respect the distinct values of their communities and allocate a fair share of resources. What can look like disagreements about basic political principles are therefore actually rooted in something even more fundamental: who we are as people and how closely a candidate’s social identity matches our own. Using Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s prominent and protracted debate about the appropriate role of government, Cramer illuminates the contours of rural consciousness, showing how place-based identities profoundly influence how people understand politics, regardless of whether urban politicians and their supporters really do shortchange or look down on those living in the country.
The Politics of Resentment shows that rural resentment—no less than partisanship, race, or class—plays a major role in dividing America against itself.
Women’s status in rural Java can appear contradictory to those both inside and outside the culture. In some ways, women have high status and broad access to resources, but other situations suggest that Javanese women lack real power and autonomy. Javanese women have major responsibilities in supporting their families and controlling household finances. They may also own and manage their own property. Yet these symbols and potential sources of independence and influence are determined by a culturally prescribed, state-reinforced, patriarchal gender ideology that limits women’s autonomy. Power, Change, and Gender Relations in Rural Java examines this contradiction as well as sources of stability and change in contemporary Javanese gender relations.
The authors conducted their research in two rural villages in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, during three important historical and political periods: the end of the New Order regime; the transitional period of reformation; and the subsequent establishment of a democratic government. Their collaboration brings a unique perspective, analyzing how gender is constructed and reproduced and how power is exercised as Indonesia faces the challenges of building a new social order.
Between 1900 and 1915, in the last great land rush, over one hundred thousand homesteaders flooded into the west river country of South Dakota, a land noted for its aridity and unpredictable weather, its treelessness, and its endless sky. The settlers of “the last, best west” weathered their first crisis in the severe drought of 1910-1911, which winnowed out many of the speculators and faint of heart; they abandoned their founding hopes of quick success and substituted a new ethos of “next year country”—while this year was hard, next year would be better, an ironic phrase at once optimistic and fatalistic.
“Next year,” however, was in many of those years not better. The collapse of the agricultural economy in the immediate aftermath of the boom years of World War I set in motion a pattern of regional decline amid national prosperity and cultural change: the rise of radio and mass culture increased rural folks' awareness of national trends and tastes, a development which paradoxically increased their own sense of remoteness and isolation. The failure of the farm economy to recover to any substantial degree in the twenties caused a less dramatic but cumulatively greater impact on the west river country's population and prospects—a second great crisis.
The Great Depression and the dustbowl years of the thirties were the greatest test of the west river people. The drought of 1910-1911, heretofore seen as the benchmark of bad times, faded even in the remembrances of the original pioneers in the face of the thirties' relentless drought, grasshoppers, blowing dust, and the accompanying starvation, struggle, and despair. The Depression in the west river country was a blast furnace from which a hardened yet still hopeful people emerged, scathed but undefeated. The Prairie Winnows Out Its Own is the voice of this experience.
In Reclaiming the Rural: Essays on Literacy, Rhetoric,and Pedagogy, editors Kim Donehower, Charlotte Hogg,
and Eileen E. Schell bring together a diverse collection of essays that consider literacy, rhetoric, and pedagogy in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The essays move beyond the typical arguments for preserving, abandoning, or modernizing by analyzing how rural communities sustain themselves through literate action. The contributors explore the rhetorics of water disputes in the western United States, the histories and influences of religious rhetorics
in Mexico, agricultural and rural literacy curricula, the literacies of organizations such as 4-H and Academia de la Nueva Raza, and neoliberal rhetorics.
Central to these examinations are the rural populations themselves, which include indigenous peoples in the rural United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as those of European or other backgrounds. The strength of the anthology lies in its multiple perspectives, various research sites, and the range of methodologies employed, including rhetorical analyses of economies and environments, media, and public spaces; classroom-based research; historical analysis and archival work; and qualitative research. The researchers engage the duality between the practices of everyday life in rural communities and the practices of reflecting on and making meaning.
Reclaiming the Rural reflects the continually changing, nuanced, context-dependent realities of rural life while acknowledging the complex histories, power struggles, and governmental actions that have affected and continue to affect the lives of rural citizens. This thought-provoking collection demonstrates the value in reclaiming the rural for scholarly and pedagogical analysis.
Immigrants in the United States send more than $20 billion every year back to Mexico—one of the largest flows of such remittances in the world. With The Remittance Landscape, Sarah Lynn Lopez offers the first extended look at what is done with that money, and in particular how the building boom that it has generated has changed Mexican towns and villages.
Lopez not only identifies a clear correspondence between the flow of remittances and the recent building boom in rural Mexico but also proposes that this construction boom itself motivates migration and changes social and cultural life for migrants and their families. At the same time, migrants are changing the landscapes of cities in the United States: for example, Chicago and Los Angeles are home to buildings explicitly created as headquarters for Mexican workers from several Mexican states such as Jalisco, Michoacán, and Zacatecas. Through careful ethnographic and architectural analysis, and fieldwork on both sides of the border, Lopez brings migrant hometowns to life and positions them within the larger debates about immigration.
In the late 1800s an unprecedented coalition of American farmers rose to challenge the course of national politics. Aspiring to a society in which justice and equality were the norm, the farmers galvanized thousands of voters, causing two dominant political parties to reshape their agendas. Yet by 1900, the movement was virtually dead. Scott G. McNall analyzes why America's largest mass-democratic movement failed. He focuses his inquiry on Kansas, the center of the agrarian rebellion that led to the creation of the Farmer's Alliance and, later, to the founding of the People's party. Integrating new historical accounts with original analyses of census data, Alliance membership records, and speech transcripts, McNall restores these Kansas voices, revealing their struggle against an entrenched class system, indifferent political parties, and economic hardship.
McNall rejects the traditional view that blames the failure of the Alliance on a turn to mass-based electoral politics, but rather sees the move into national politics by the Farmer's Alliance as part of a rational strategy to better wage their fight for economic justice. The Kansas populists failed, he argues, because of their inability to embrace a broad, working-class base, to provide an effective alternative vision, and ultimately to create a distinct class organization. Debates about how classes come into being, or how democracy is to be realized, cannot be settled in the abstract. McNall's recreation of this heroic struggle is a model in the analysis of class formation. At the same time, The Road to Rebellion is dynamic social history, which holds vital lessons for structuring and realizing alternative political agendas today.
This fourth Rural Sociological Society decennial volume provides advanced policy scholarship on rural North America during the 2010’s, closely reflecting upon the increasingly global nature of social, cultural, and economic forces and the impact of neoliberal ideology upon policy, politics, and power in rural areas.
The chapters in this volume represent the expertise of an influential group of scholars in rural sociology and related social sciences. Its five sections address the changing structure of North American agriculture, natural resources and the environment, demographics, diversity, and quality of life in rural communities.
Rural and Small Town America
Glenn V. Fuguitt Russell Sage Foundation, 1989 Library of Congress HB2385.F836 1989 | Dewey Decimal 304.60973091734
Important differences persist between rural and urban America, despite profound economic changes and the notorious homogenizing influence of the media. As Glenn V. Fuguitt, David L. Brown, and Calvin L. Beale show in Rural and Small Town America, the much-heralded disappearance of small town life has not come to pass, and the nonmetropolitan population still constitutes a significant dimension of our nation's social structure. Based on census and other recent survey data, this impressive study provides a detailed and comparative picture of rural America. The authors find that size of place is a critical demographic factor, affecting population composition (rural populations are older and more predominantly male than urban populations), the distribution of poverty (urban poverty tends to be concentrated in neighborhoods; rural poverty may extend over large blocks of counties), and employment opportunities (job quality and income are lower in rural areas, though rural occupational patterns are converging with those of urban areas). In general, rural and small town America still lags behind urban America on many indicators of social well-being. Pointing out that rural life is no longer synonymous with farming, the authors explore variations among nonmetropolitan populations. They also trace the impact of major national trends—the nonmetropolitan growth spurt of the 1970s and its current reversal, for example, or changing fertility rates—on rural life and on the relationship between metropolitan and nonmetropolitan communities. By describing the special characteristics and needs of rural populations as well as the features they share with urban America, this book clearly demonstrates that a more accurate picture of nonmetropolitan life is essential to understanding the larger dynamics of our society. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
In the 1940s, the Manitoba Royal Commission on Adult Education investigated directions for the modernization of the province in the post-war era of change. It was charged particularly with looking at rural Manitoba’s cultural, educational, and leadership opportunities in the wake of new technologies, dwindling populations, and altered political and social affiliations. The commission engaged Jim Giffen, then a young sociologist from the University of Toronto, to undertake a detailed field study of three rural Manitoba towns in this context.Giffen’s extensive study examined the towns of Carman, Elgin, and Rossburn, all significantly different in terms of their ethnic makeup and level of political and organizational sophistication. He remained in the province for a year and a half, at the end of which his report, an analysis of “education for leadership,” was considered “too revealing” for public release. It remained in the Ontario Legislative Library until it was retrieved, 50 years later, by well-known historian Gerald Friesen, who has written an extensive postscript to the report.As a snapshot of rural agricultural life in prairie Canada at a time of great change, the study is invaluable. Despite the differences in the three towns, they retain some common characteristics that define a particular socio-cultural view of the larger world. Giffen looks at characteristics such as leadership in the community, ethnic differences, hierarchy of roles, participation in organizations, and aims and activities of young people. Friesen’s postscript provides a wider context to this study, and an assessment of what these differences and commonalities meant to the province.
Discussions of China’s early twentieth-century modernization efforts tend to focus almost exclusively on cities, and the changes, both cultural and industrial, seen there. As a result, the communist peasant revolution appears as a decisive historical break. Kate Merkel-Hess corrects that misconception by demonstrating how crucial the countryside was for reformers in China long before the success of the communist revolution.
In The Rural Modern, Merkel-Hess shows that Chinese reformers and intellectuals created an idea of modernity that was not simply about what was foreign and new, as in Shanghai and other cities, but instead captured the Chinese people’s desire for social and political change rooted in rural traditions and institutions. She traces efforts to remake village education, economics, and politics, analyzing how these efforts contributed to a new, inclusive vision of rural Chinese life. Merkel-Hess argues that as China sought to redefine itself, such rural reform efforts played a major role, and tensions that emerged between rural and urban ways deeply informed social relations, government policies, and subsequent efforts to create a modern nation during the communist period.
Every American is co-owner of the most magnificent estate in the world—federal public forests, grazing lands, monuments, national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public places. The writer Wallace Stegner famously referred to public lands as “America’s best idea,” but there have always been some who oppose the idea for ideological reasons, or because they have a vested economic interest. In the current decade, federal public lands have been under physical threat as never before, with armed standoffs and takeovers that the US government has proved stunningly unsuccessful at prosecuting in federal courts.
One such incident was the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon, in 2016. Armed militants seized the headquarters of the refuge for forty-one days and occupied the community for three months. Militants threatened and harassed local residents, pledging to “give back” the land to unnamed “rightful owners” in their effort to enact a fringe interpretation of the US Constitution.
Drawing on more than two years of intensive fieldwork, Sagebrush Collaboration shows that the militants failed in their objectives because the sensible and hardworking citizens of Harney County had invested decades in collaboratively solving the very problems that the militia used to justify their anti–federal government revolution.
In Sagebrush Collaboration, Peter Walker offers the first book-length study of why the 2016 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge failed. His nuanced and deeply researched account provides the full context for the takeover, including the response from local and federal officials and the grassroots community resistance. It will be essential reading for years to come for anyone who wants to understand the ongoing battle over the future of America’s public lands.
Long considered an urban phenomenon, industrialization also transformed the American countryside. Lou Martin weaves the narrative of how the relocation of steel and pottery factories to Hancock County, West Virginia, created a rural and small-town working class--and what that meant for communities and for labor. As Martin shows, access to land in and around steel and pottery towns allowed residents to preserve rural habits and culture. Workers in these places valued place and local community. Because of their belief in localism, an individualistic ethic of "making do," and company loyalty, they often worked to place limits on union influence. At the same time, this localism allowed workers to adapt to the dictates of industrial capitalism and a continually changing world on their own terms--and retain rural ways to a degree unknown among their urbanized peers. Throughout, Martin ties these themes to illuminating discussions of capital mobility, the ways in which changing work experiences defined gender roles, and the persistent myth that modernizing forces bulldozed docile local cultures. Revealing and incisive, Smokestacks in the Hills reappraises an overlooked stratum of American labor history and contributes to the ongoing dialogue on shifts in national politics in the postwar era.
From 1840 to 1900, midwestern Americans experienced firsthand the profound economic, cultural, and structural changes that transformed the nation from a premodern, agrarian state to one that was urban, industrial, and economically interdependent. Midwestern commercial farmers found themselves at the heart of these changes. Their actions and reactions led to the formation of a distinctive and particularly democratic consumer ethos, which is still being played out today.
By focusing on the consumer behavior of midwestern farmers, Sowing the American Dream provides illustrative examples of how Americans came to terms with the economic and ideological changes that swirled around them. From the formation of the Grange to the advent of mail-order catalogs, the buying patterns of rural midwesterners set the stage for the coming century.
Carefully documenting the rise and fall of the powerful purchasing cooperatives, David Blanke explains the shifting trends in collective consumerism, which ultimately resulted in a significant change in the way that midwestern consumers pursued their own regional identity, community, and independence.
Despite being the centerpiece of rural educational reform for most of the twentieth century, rural school consolidation has received remarkably little scholarly attention. The social history and geography of the movement, the widespread resistance it provoked, and the cultural landscapes its proponents sought to transform have remained largely unexplored. Now in There Goes the Neighborhood David Reynolds remedies this situation by examining the rural school consolidation movement in that most midwestern of midwestern states, Iowa.
From 1912 to 1921, Iowa was the center of national attention as state and local education leaders attempted to implement a new model of rural education, intended to be emulated throughout the rest of the Midwest. As part of the Country Life movement—whose leaders sought to create a more modern future for farm families, an alternative form of rural community that combined the advantages of both city and country—the initially successful model collapsed in the early twenties, not to be revived until after World War II. Reynolds focuses on how and why rural school consolidation was so vigorously resisted in most of Iowa, why it failed in the twenties, and what its lasting consequences have been.
Combining social and oral history, modern social theory, historical geography, and ethnography, There Goes the Neighborhood is the most authoritative analysis to date of the politics, geography, and social history of rural school consolidation in any state.
"First published in 1940 as part of the information-gathering effort of the TVA, the work examines Gorgas, Alabama, a predominantly white farming settlement. Hailed as the most intensive case study ever made in the South, the book provides a detailed portrait of southern rural life on the verge of extinction." —Florida Historical Quarterly
"One of the finest examples of the genre of the community survey. . . The book is remarkably free of special pleading. And every chapter is paced with fascinating data and insights. The University of Alabama Prss is to be congratulated for reissuing this splendid community study; the volume fits the description of a classic. And Clarence L. Mohr's introduction alone is worth the price of the volume." —Journal of Southwest Georgia History
Things You Need to Hear gathers memories of Arkansans from all over the state with widely different backgrounds. In their own words, these people tell of the things they did growing up in the early twentieth century to get an education, what they ate, how they managed to get by during difficult times, how they amused themselves and earned a living, and much more. Some of Margaret Bolsterli's "informants," as she calls them, are famous (Johnny Cash, Maya Angelou, Levon Helm, Joycelyn Elders), but many more are not. Their vivid personal stories have been taken from published works and from original interviews conducted by Bolsterli. All together, these tales preserve memories of ways of life that are compelling, entertaining, and certainly well worth remembering.
For fifty years, William Allen White, first as a reporter and later as the long-time editor of the Emporia Gazette, wrote of his small town and its Mid-American values. By tailoring his writing to the emerging urban middle class of the early twentieth century, he won his “gospel of Emporia” a nationwide audience and left a lasting impact on he way America defines itself.
Investigating White’s life and his extensive writings, Edward Gale Agran explores the dynamic thought of one of America’s best-read and most-respected social commentators. Agran shows clearly how White honed his style and transformed the myth of conquering the western frontier into what became the twentieth-century ideal of community building.
Once a confidante of and advisor to Theodore Roosevelt, White addressed, and reflected in his work, all the great social and political oscillations of his time—urbanization and industrialism, populism, and progressivism, isolationism internationalism, Prohibition, and New Deal reform. Again and again, he asked the question “What’s the matter?” about his times and townspeople, then found the middle ground. With great care and discernment, Agran gathers the man strains of White’s messages, demonstrating one writer’s pivotal contribution to our idea of what it means to be an American.
Caterpillar fungus, often called the Himalayan Viagra, is a subject of the latest commodity boom which changed the economic fates of Tibetan pastoralists in China. This expensive medicinal resource made a spectacular market career in East Asia after the outbreak of avian influenza and SARS. Growing demand for this 'wonder drug' created for people on the Tibetan plateau where this fungus is endemic attractive income opportunities which they never had before. Tibetan pastoralists engaged in this new 'gold rush' and turned from subsistence-oriented yak and sheep breeders living in a cash-poor environment into local economic elite. This book tells a story of successful pastoralists high on the Tibetan plateau who take advantage of the economic boom in the Chinese market to accomplish their own goals. They emerge as far more sophisticated actors than most outsiders would give credit to before reading this book.
Visual Encounters in the Study of Rural Childhoods brings together visual studies and childhood studies to explore images of childhood in the study of rurality and rural life. The volume highlights how the voices of children themselves remain central to investigations of rural childhoods. Contributions look at representations and experiences of rural childhoods from both the Global North and Global South (including U.S., Canada, Haiti, India, Sweden, Slovenia, South Africa, Russia, Timor-Leste, and Colombia) and consider visuals ranging from picture books to cell phone video to television.
From 2001 to 2006, Richard L. Cates Jr. interviewed senior members of more than 30 families living in and around Arena township, a small community in southern Wisconsin. He asked them about growing up in rural America and their connection to a way of life that is vanishing in the twenty-first century.
The result, Voices from the Heart of the Land, is a collection of reminiscences, observations, and opinions celebrating the stewardship of the land and the values of the stewards. Of course, as Cates points out, these are nothing less than “our core human values—integrity, commitment, responsibility, citizenship, self-determination, decency, kindness, love, and hope.”
"I'm embarrassed to say I thought I knew anything substantial about Wisconsin agriculture or its history before I read this book. 'Wisconsin Agriculture' should be required reading in history classes from high school to the collegiate level. It makes me thankful that Jerry Apps has such a sense of commitment to Wisconsin's agricultural heritage--and to getting the story right." --Pam Jahnke, Farm Director, Wisconsin Farm Report Radio
Wisconsin has been a farming state from its very beginnings. And though it's long been known as "the Dairy State," it produces much more than cows, milk, and cheese. In fact, Wisconsin is one of the most diverse agricultural states in the nation.
The story of farming in Wisconsin is rich and diverse as well, and the threads of that story are related and intertwined. In this long-awaited volume, celebrated rural historian Jerry Apps examines everything from the fundamental influences of landscape and weather to complex matters of ethnic and pioneer settlement patterns, changing technology, agricultural research and education, and government regulations and policies. Along with expected topics, such as the cranberry industry and artisan cheesemaking, "Wisconsin Agriculture" delves into beef cattle and dairy goats, fur farming and Christmas trees, maple syrup and honey, and other specialty crops, including ginseng, hemp, cherries, sugar beets, mint, sphagnum moss, flax, and hops. Apps also explores new and rediscovered farming endeavors, from aquaculture to urban farming to beekeeping, and discusses recent political developments, such as the 2014 Farm Bill and its ramifications. And he looks to the future of farming, contemplating questions of ethical growing practices, food safety, sustainability, and the potential effects of climate change.
Featuring first-person accounts from the settlement era to today, along with more than 200 captivating photographs, "Wisconsin Agriculture" breathes life into the facts and figures of 150 years of farming history and provides compelling insights into the state's agricultural past, present, and future.