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Social and Environmental Justice in Appalachia
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.
Most social studies of older people in the United States have focused upon problems and conditions encountered in urban centers. In Older Rural Americans sixteen social scientists representing various regions examine in depth the circumstances of older people in rural America.
The authors first consider older people in the contexts of work, the family, and the community, discussing their social outlook, their place in these contexts, and the profound changes they face as they move away from an active part in these areas of life. Later chapters analyze the distribution of the rural aged population and their economic, housing, and health status. Of particular interest are essays treating the place and condition of older rural people in three major subcultures of the United States -- the American Indian, the Spanish-speaking people of the Southwest, and African Americans. Finally, the authors trace the development of local, state, and federal programs designed to assist the aged.
The authors argue that an understanding of rural life some sixty years ago is of the utmost importance, for it is the values of that time that have largely formed the attitudes and outlooks of today's rural aged.
The Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949-1962
In 1949, Romania's fledgling communist regime unleashed a radical and brutal campaign to collectivize agriculture in this largely agrarian country, following the Soviet model. Peasants under Siege provides the first comprehensive look at the far-reaching social engineering process that ensued. Gail Kligman and Katherine Verdery examine how collectivization assaulted the very foundations of rural life, transforming village communities that were organized around kinship and status hierarchies into segments of large bureaucratic organizations, forged by the language of "class warfare" yet saturated with vindictive personal struggles.
Collectivization not only overturned property relations, the authors argue, but was crucial in creating the Party-state that emerged, its mechanisms of rule, and the "new persons" that were its subjects. The book explores how ill-prepared cadres, themselves unconvinced of collectivization's promises, implemented technologies and pedagogies imported from the Soviet Union through actions that contributed to the excessive use of force, which Party leaders were often unable to control. In addition, the authors show how local responses to the Party's initiatives compelled the regime to modify its plans and negotiate outcomes.
Drawing on archival documents, oral histories, and ethnographic data, Peasants under Siege sheds new light on collectivization in the Soviet era and on the complex tensions underlying and constraining political authority.
Portrait of a Language in an Iowa Community
Founded in 1847 by religious separatists, the town of Pella in central Iowa is the state’s oldest Dutch American colony, and its crafts, architecture, and celebrations reflect and perpetuate the Dutch heritage of its earlier residents. Through his intriguing blend of sociolinguistic research, regional history, and interviews with current speakers of Pella Dutch, Philip Webber examines the town’s rich cultural and linguistic traditions.
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.
Family, Farming, and Community in the Midwest
"Prairie Patrimony consolidates, refines, advances and grounds recent scholarship that challenges familiar platitudes about family farming and rural life in the United States. . . . No one should doubt the great contribution that Salamon has made to our understanding of American rural life."--American Studies
"[Salamon's] approach yields a depth of information about farming culture not usually found in the literature on rural America."--Choice
"Takes the reader on a cultural tour of a cherished American institution and landscape--midwestern farm families and their farms. With perceptive attention to detail and knowledge borne of first-hand study over many years, [Salamon] skillfully reveals the pervasive imprint of ethnicity. . . . Prairie Patrimony represents one of those rare studies that enrich our social vision and understanding in extraordinary ways."--Glen H. Elder, Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"Salamon's book is a remarkable contribution to the study of agriculture and culture, and its cross-disciplinary approach will engage scholars in many areas. For historians, it is a splendid illustration that different behaviors between American and immigrant farmers, planted over a century ago in the Middle West, have endured to the present."--Jon Gjerde, University of California, Berkeley
Among the most pervasive of stereotypes imposed upon southern highlanders is that they were white, opposed slavery, and supported the Union before and during the Civil War, but the historical record suggests far different realities. John C. Inscoe has spent much of his scholarly career exploring the social, economic and political significance of slavery and slaveholding in the mountain South and the complex nature of the region’s wartime loyalties, and the brutal guerrilla warfare and home front traumas that stemmed from those divisions. The essays here embrace both facts and fictions related to those issues, often conveyed through intimate vignettes that focus on individuals, families, and communities, keeping the human dimension at the forefront of his insights and analysis. Drawing on the memories, memoirs, and other testimony of slaves and free blacks, slaveholders and abolitionists, guerrilla warriors, invading armies, and the highland civilians they encountered, Inscoe considers this multiplicity of perspectives and what is revealed about highlanders’ dual and overlapping identities as both a part of, and distinct from, the South as a whole. He devotes attention to how the truths derived from these contemporary voices were exploited, distorted, reshaped, reinforced, or ignored by later generations of novelists, journalists, filmmakers, dramatists, and even historians with differing agendas over the course of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His cast of characters includes John Henry, Frederick Law Olmsted and John Brown, Andrew Johnson and Zebulon Vance, and those who later interpreted their stories—John Fox and John Ehle, Thomas Wolfe and Charles Frazier, Emma Bell Miles and Harry Caudill, Carter Woodson and W. J. Cash, Horace Kephart and John C. Campbell, even William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. Their work and that of many others have contributed much to either our understanding—or misunderstanding—of nineteenth century Appalachia and its place in the American imagination.