Saturday, April 4, 2009 11:00 AM —3:00 PM
Twentieth Century Rural History
A Tale of Two Towns: Globalization and Rural Deindustrialization in the United States
Peter Cole, Western Illinois University
This paper examines the experiences of two rural communities that, since the advent of the North American Free Trade Agreement, lost employers. The disappearance of hundreds or thousands of jobs is devastating, but some towns have adapted faster than others. Farmington, Missouri has, for now, weathered the storm far better than another small town, Galesburg, Illinois. Hence, rather than retelling a familiar, if generally accurate, story, this paper explores the possibility that globalization is not an unmitigated disaster for rural America. Rather, some towns persevere and even create more jobs, in an increasingly global economy.
The Seeds of Democracy: The 4-H Movement and Rural American Nationalism, 1938–1948
Gabriel N. Rosenberg, Brown University
This paper examines the development of “citizenship” programming in 4-H from 1933 to 1948. 4-H “citizenship” programming provided a particularly powerful way for 4-H participants to understand their relationships to an expanding political field because it wedded nationalist abstractions to personal cultivation. The language of citizenship and nationalism furnished the federal government with an effective tool to mobilize rural youth and advance initiatives that reflected the needs of the American nation-state. But the emphasis on personal cultivation also provided a context for 4-Hers to contest the inequality at the heart of American political life.
Food Will Write the Peace: World War II and the Return of Agricultural Internationalism
Peter Simons, University of Chicago
Rural Americans, especially in the Midwest and Great Plains, approached World War II with a reputation as isolationists, but they emerged as internationalists supporting the United Nations, NATO, and the Korean War. Their acceptance of international cooperation was not based on a Pearl Harbor awakening as many claimed, but rather on shifting economic circumstances. War made farming profitable again, as did postwar famine relief and agricultural development, all of which made farmers full-throated anti-communists by the early 1950s.
All papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper,e-mail Heather Radke at firstname.lastname@example.org,or call (312) 255-3524.
The Newberry Library Seminar in Rural History is co-sponsored by Trinity Christian College and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago
Scholl Center for
American History and Culture
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago IL 60610
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