Spring Seminar

Each spring, Rural Humanities offers a semester-long seminar with a focal theme and a discussion of public humanities methods for graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Enrolled students can receive up to $2,000 to assist them in the development and dissemination of their research and/or to facilitate their collaborations with community partners.

Spring 2023

SHUM 4800/6800: Rural Humanities Seminar

Spring. 4 credits.
Limited to 12 students. Interested students must submit an application.
Mondays 12:25-2:20pm

This seminar will introduce students to the public humanities as both a disciplinary inquiry and a set of practices grounded in public and community engagement. It is intended to train cohorts of graduate students and advanced undergraduates in the various theories, methods, and practices of public humanities, to think collectively with and beyond disciplinary interests, and to bring these discipline-defined research agendas to much wider communities by first focusing on local rural communities. Students will produce a collaborative project related to or working with a community partner.

Topic for Spring 2023: Rethinking and Rescaling Rural Environments

Rural environments are as much a conceptual imaginary as a lived reality. Taking Central New York as both object and field of study, this seminar challenges the indices of scale by which the rural is defined in contrast with urban and suburban ecologies. Food, shelter, water and medicine-- key requirements for everyday life – provide the access points through which we will rethink and rescale rural environments, not as romanticized or demonized fields of plenty or scarcity, but as deeply intersectional sites of thought and action. We look forward to creating opportunities for transdisciplinary research in the humanities and natural sciences in which students will be asked to reflect on and write about their past and/or current community-engaged projects with residents, advocates, activists, organizations, and elected officials embedded within rural communities. Together we will develop new theoretical models as well as practical toolkits on how to rethink and rescale infrastructure, population, politics, and economics in rural environments at a time when climate change, toxic pollution, and species extinction are radically reshaping both natural and human ecologies of our region.  

Instructor: Anindita Banerjee (Associate Professor of Comparative Literature)

Application Instructions

Interested students must submit a brief application via our online application form by January 10, 2023, with the following information and materials:

  • Name
  • NetID
  • Degree program and field of study
  • Expected degree completion date
  • A brief statement of no more than 300 words describing (1) why you are interested in public humanities and/or community-engaged work; (2) what it means for your intellectual development; and (3) the type of project in these areas that you have developed and/or are currently developing. If you have previous experience in public or engaged work, please also briefly discuss it.

Students must submit their applications by January 10, 2023.


Please review our FAQ page and contact rural-hum@cornell.edu with any additional questions.