Poetry and performance – as well as more traditional presentations – comprised the first Rural Humanities Showcase, held Sept. 6 in the A.D. White House. The nine projects represented Cornell faculty engagement, teaching, and research around “rural humanities,” which uses the tools of the humanities to both address the rural-urban divide and the realities of rural America, particularly in Central-Western New York.
In addition to supporting new projects, the four-year Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded Rural Humanities initiative in the College of Arts and Sciences also aims to enhance the already existing projects at Cornell, such as those presented at the Sept. 6 showcase, and form them into a visible program
The Rural Humanities is “an experiment in expanding the reach of the humanities at Cornell,” Paul Fleming, co-director of the initiative, professor of German Studies and comparative literature as well as the Taylor Family Director of the Society for the Humanities, said in his introduction. “We want to encourage public and engaged projects, work which ranges from public-facing scholarship to directly collaborating with community partners in the co-creation of research and teaching agendas,” such as the History Center, local libraries, community colleges, and indigenous communities.