'The United States was born in the country', Richard Hofstadter once wrote, 'and remained emotionally attached to it long after it had moved away', David B. Danbom added in his 'History of Rural America'. Thus it may be argued that the study of American culture and civilization, first and foremost, needs to make sense of the rural. This multidisciplinary volume focuses on rural America, on areas seemingly apart from the political, economic, and cultural centers of the nation. Despite this apparent marginality, the rural often proves to be constitutive not only of regional but also of other subnational and even national American identities. Putting rurality at the center thus problematizes the well-established dichotomous models of city vs. country. The contributors to this volume address the rural as a mythic construction (e.g. as the American 'Heartland' and as the centerpiece of a US pastoral tradition), as a (socio-)economic sector, as an imaginary time-space within American culture, and as the site of specific political, social, and cultural practices with, at times, transnational/global implications. The various perspectives on rural America are drawn from the fields of history, sociology, cultural studies, literary studies, environmental studies, and journalism.
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