Like their urban counterparts, rural areas have historically been a nexus of cultural intersection—places where migrants and immigrants have come for work, farming the land, mining resources, harvesting timber, and thereby creating new lives, as well as places where urban dwellers seek recreation and refuge from city life. Such intersections have given rise both to tensions (between native and newcomer, tradition and change, different class and cultural values) and to vibrant and diverse communities. This course considers how people from different backgrounds have responded to rural living, as well as how literature has both reflected and shaped rural cultures.
How do stories, poems, songs, and films represent both what is unique and what is universal about rural experiences? Looking at images of rural life in literature will enable us to examine the influence that literature has had on the ways we understand and interact with rural communities, as well as the role that literature (particularly story and music) plays in rural lives.