Agricultural romance : constructing and consuming rural life in modern America


Agricultural romance : constructing and consuming rural life in modern America

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dc.contributor.advisor Davis, Janet M.
dc.contributor.advisor Hoelscher, Steven D.
dc.creator Hajdik, Anna Thompson 2011-06-10T18:00:39Z 2011-06-10T18:00:39Z 2011-05 2011-06-10
dc.description.abstract This dissertation illuminates the links between agriculture, popular culture, social class, and agrarian nostalgia. Using an interdisciplinary approach, I draw from the fields of American Studies, American History, Agricultural History, Environmental Studies, popular culture, and cultural geography. Consisting of four diverse case studies, my project focuses on America's evolving relationship with its agrarian roots from the late eighteenth century to the present. Each case study pays close attention to the ways in which the forces of modern consumerism have shaped public understanding of agricultural issues. The dissertation pivots on two main arguments: 1) the modern realities of industrialized agriculture have sparked a desire for highly romanticized visions of farming, particularly tourism to rural places that promise temporary pastoral transcendence to consumers, and 2) as a result of the public demand for idyllic constructions of American rural life, agrarian nostalgia has frequently been deployed in the service of commerce. From the writings of Thomas Jefferson and Laura Ingalls Wilder, to Currier and Ives painting, Martha Stewart's media empire, and state fairs of the American Midwest, I analyze a variety of highly romanticized cultural forms that enrich our understanding of the nation's agrarian heritage. Yet, I also make important links between the past and present, and demonstrate how and why debates about such issues as farm policy and the politics of food once again stand at the forefront of popular consciousness in the twenty-first century.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.language.iso eng
dc.rights Copyright © is held by the author. Presentation of this material on the Libraries' web site by University Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin was made possible under a limited license grant from the author who has retained all copyrights in the works.
dc.subject Rural life
dc.subject Agriculture
dc.subject Agrarian nostalgia
dc.subject Popular culture
dc.subject Farming
dc.subject Consumerism
dc.subject Public opinion
dc.subject Thomas Jefferson
dc.subject Laura Ingalls Wilder
dc.subject Currier and Ives
dc.subject Martha Stewart
dc.subject State fairs
dc.subject American Midwest
dc.subject America
dc.subject United States
dc.subject Case studies
dc.title Agricultural romance : constructing and consuming rural life in modern America
dc.description.department American Studies
dc.type.genre Thesis
dc.type.material text American Studies American Studies The University of Texas at Austin Doctoral Doctor of Philosophy

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