Welcome to our Forgottonia Project webpage! Our purpose is to examine the social problems that impact rural America.
- The name Forgottonia refers to a tongue-in-cheek movement during the 1970s that began largely because many rural Americans in Western Illinois felt policymakers were ignoring their region in favor of larger, metropolitan areas (check out our podcast about one of Forgottonia’s founders, Neil Gamm).
- Although many communities in rural America have endured an exodus of people and industries, they remain spectacular places to live. (Check out our Forgottonia Profiles page to become more familiar with our 16 county region of Western Illinois. Also check out this post about the importance of Notable Figures in Rural America).
- Our hope is that by examining the social problems our young people are inheriting, we will inspire citizens to be active participants in making our communities even better places to live.
- Speaking of young people, we’ve been fortunate to interview some pretty cool authors, scholars and activists and we let our rural high school students ask all the questions. Students spend time identifying topics, analyzing research, and structuring questions to submit to informed experts such as…
- Knox College Psychologist Tim Kasser (Author of The High Price of Materialism and guest for Season 1: Episode 4 – Are We Happier in a Small Town)
- Sociologist James Loewen (Author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong and upcoming guest for Season 2: Episode 1 – How To Know If Your Small Town Was a Sundown Town)
- And one of our favorites! – Black Hills State Sociologist Trenton Ellis (guest for Season 1: Episode 3 – Why Are So Many Jobs Leaving Rural America?)
- The Forgottonia Project also organizes and facilitates panel discussions around key issues impacting rural America. Students typically submit questions, moderate the forum to promote civility, and share the discussion with the surrounding community. Check out our panel discussions from Season 1!
- S1 – Episode 12: Parent Panel on Technology – What Advice can Parents Offer about Raising Kids in the 21st Century?
- S1 – Episode 11: Student Panel on Technology – How are Young People Using Technology in the 21st Century?
- S1 – Episode 07: Panel Discussion on Poverty in Rural America – How Do We Address the Stereotypes? *Note: This panel was done in partnership with the Canton Church of the Brethren
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- Check out our ABOUT page for more information regarding who we are and how we go about our research. Please don’t hesitate to connect with us on Social Media or by visiting our contact page and leaving a comment. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for future episodes!
We believe that in order to change the world, you must start locally! “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” – Margaret J. Wheatley. “