March 24, 2020
Kenyon is suspending its residential program and transitioning to remote instruction. Read more about Kenyon's response to COVID-19.
The Rural Life Center serves as a resource center for academic and public work on local rural life. Our archives include a growing body of primary materials — interviews, photographs, surveys, and field notes — from student and faculty research. The RLC also serves as a clearinghouse for information on opportunities to engage with the surrounding community.
The Rural Life Center provides students, faculty, and community members with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities about rural life and issues in and out of the classroom.
A growing number of Kenyon courses explore rural themes that involve students directly in Knox County life. Many faculty are also willing to direct independent studies in these areas. The following list provides a starting point for students interested in including local and rural study as part of their Kenyon education; contact individual faculty members for additional information regarding these courses.
ANTH 392: Anthropology of Food
ARTS 229: Documentary Photography
BIOL 352: Aquatic Systems
ENVS 112: Introduction to Environmental Studies
HIST 300: History of Kenyon College
HIST 481: Feast, Fast, and Famine: Food in the Pre-Modern World
PHIL 115: Practical Issues in Ethics
RLST 481: Religion and Nature
SOCY 111: Identity in American Society
SOCY 292: Sociology of Food
SOCY 367-368: Fieldwork: Rural Life
SOCY 372: Research Practicum: Doing Social Research
Food for Thought is a special initiative that explores food, farming, and rural life. Many of the courses in the program offer opportunities to engage with the surrounding community. Through the program, students broaden their horizons beyond Gamber Hill and deepen their understanding of rural life in Knox County, Ohio.
The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA)-Kenyon Certificate Program in Ecological Agriculture provides students the opportunity to develop intellectual skills and practical knowledge regarding food and farming systems. Students acquire an understanding of the complex nature of agro-ecosystems; critically analyze the social, political, and economic institutions in which food and farming systems are imbedded; and explore the interplay of social values, personal responsibility, and environmental and community goals.
To earn a Certificate in Ecological Agriculture, students must complete three relevant courses and undertake a ten-week summer internship on a farm that uses ecological production methods. Participating students earn $2,500 during their internship and receive a housing allowance, if needed. To apply for the program, contact Professor Bruce Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit the OEFFA website.
Visit the Rural Life Center Alumni Network Blog to read testimonials, interviews and essays from RLC students and Kenyon alumni.
The Rural Life Center created a network of alumni who worked with the RLC during their time as a student at Kenyon in order to connect current students with RLC alumni who share interests in rural life. The alumni network includes testimonials from alumni about their work with the RLC and present-day undertakings, important contact information (which can be accessed upon request), and a blog that allows students to network with alumni and foster a greater dialogue about future pursuits. To join the alumni network, please contact email@example.com or post to the blog.
The RLC archive contains general materials related to rural life, scholarly papers about Knox County, and project collections. General materials include information on county organizations and events, printed materials on subjects related to rural life, and various books and magazines. Scholarly papers, written by Kenyon students, cover a wide range of subjects and are listed below within broad subject areas. Project collections include audiotapes and videotapes, field reports, photographs, and ephemera gathered in connection with RLC sponsored research. Many of these materials are available online at digital.kenyon.edu/rurallife.
N. N. Hill, Jr., "History of Knox County, Ohio" (Mount Vernon, OH: A. A. Graham and Co., 1881).
Frederick N. Lorey, "History of Knox County, Ohio, 1876-1976" (Mount Vernon, OH: Knox County Historical Society, 1976).
A. Banning Norton, "History of Knox County, Ohio" (Columbus, OH: Richard Nevins, 1862).
Albert B. Williams, "Past and Present of Knox County, Ohio," 2 vols. (Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen, 1912).
"Seems Like Romance to Me: Ohio Fiddle Traditions." Phonograph record and booklet, GFS-901 (Gambier, OH: Gambier Folklore Society, 1985).
David N. Keller, "Cooper Industries, 1833-1983" (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1983).
Hans Nathan, "Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy" (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962).
Howard L. Sacks and Judith Rose Sacks, "Way Up North in Dixie: A Black Family’s Claim to the Confederate Anthem" (University of Illinois Press, 2003 ).
Lorle Porter, "Politics and Peril: Mount Vernon, Ohio in the Nineteenth Century" (Zanesville, OH: New Concord Press, 2005).
Howard L. Sacks, “From the Barn to the Bowery and Back Again: Musical Routes in Rural Ohio, 1800-1929.” Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 116 (461): 314-338.
Howard L. Sacks, “Cork and Community: Postwar Blackface Minstrelsy in the Rural Midwest.” Theatre Survey, Vol. 41 (2): 23-50.