2289 - Towns in Missouri and the Midwest: Voices and Inequalities

Focusing on towns and communities and their regional history and cultural traditions, we will examine the issues and concerns of small town America in the context of recent hardships and adverse economic trends. Examples of topics to be covered include case studies of communities such as Marceline, Missouri (Walt Disney's boyhood home), race and the immigration of non-whites in to rural areas; gender roles in small communities, the role of religion in small-town identity formation, and other current issues faced by "middle America". The responsiveness of government, large corporations, and institutions to the problems of diverse communities will be critically examined, with a multidisciplinary approach that will draw on key theories and works in the disciplines of sociology, rural sociology, community development, and geography.