On the first episode of our second season, we were extremely fortunate to interview Dr. James Loewen about his book “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism.” We asked the essential question: What are Sundown Towns?
Dr. Loewen is a talented author, historian, and sociologist. He is best known for his 1995 book, “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong” (Reprinted in 2009). In 2005, Loewen published “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism” which focuses on communities throughout American where African Americans, Jews, and other minorities were forced or strongly encouraged to leave town prior to the sun setting. An Illinois native hailing from Decatur, Dr. Loewen earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University. He has taught at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, the University of Vermont, and the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.
On Wednesday May 2, we were pleased to welcome Dr. Tim Kasser to Cuba, IL to share his presentation titled “Media and Children’s Well-Being” (The first 30 minutes are Tim’s talk while the last 20 minutes Tim answers some questions from the audience). This presentation was part of our Screen Free Week Activities that took place in our community (April 30 – May 4).
After receiving his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Rochester, Tim Kasser accepted a position at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where he is currently Professor & Chair of Psychology. He has written over 100 scientific articles and book chapters on materialism, values, goals, ecological sustainability, and quality of life, among other topics. He is also the author of five books, including The High Price of Materialism (MIT Press, 2002) and the cartoon book HyperCapitalism (The New Pres, 2018). Tim spends a good deal of his time working with activist groups that protect children from commercialization, that promote ecological sustainability, and that encourage a more “inwardly rich” lifestyle than what is offered by consumerism. Tim lives with his wife, two sons, and assorted animals a few miles south of Knoxville, Illinois. And his work has been a big inspiration for why we wanted to participate in Screen Free Week activities this week.
On Thursday May 3, 2018 we enjoyed facilitating a conversation with parents about their experience with screens and kids. This event was part of our week-long Screen Free Week experiences at Cuba High School. Our parent panel consisted of Jackie Scharping, Samantha Gilham, Tiffany Clark, and Amy Willett.
The panel was moderated by high school senior, Ms. Alexis Clark and high school history teacher, Mr. Joe Brewer.
On Wednesday May 2, 2018 we enjoyed a conversation with students about their experience using technology. This event was part of our week-long Screen Free Week experiences at Cuba High School. Our panel consisted of about a dozen students in Cuba High School’s Sociology class. The panel was moderated by Mr. Joe Brewer.
We’re excited to share this outstanding conversation about race and rural America with Dr. Alphonso Simpson. Dr. Simpson is a professor of African American Studies at Western Illinois University and also serves as chair of the department of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He’s been teaching at WIU since 2000 and is the author of 3 books “Mother to Son: A Collection of Essays and Readings in African American Studies, Ain’t Nobody Worryin’: Maleness & Masculinity in Black America, and Living the Life I Sing: Gospel Music from the Dorsey Era to the Millennium. Our essential questions are “How do we talk about race in rural America?” And “what advice do you have for young people growing up in rural counties that are predominantly white?” Speaking with Dr. Simpson was super enjoyable and informative. We learned a lot from this talk and know you will too.
We are pleased to share this podcast interview as two Cuba high school students, Brianna Gorsuch and Caitlin Patterson, interview with the recently retired Carol Davis over the gender gap and how it impacts Rural America; both in the past as well as the present. Carol shares her experience with gender inequality, gender stereotypes and expectations society places on women as a child, as a parent and in the workplace.
The following is a summary of a panel discussion about poverty in Fulton County that took place March 23, 2017. The forum took place at the Canton Church of the Brethren and was moderated by Pastor Kevin Kessler. Panelists included Missy Kolowski of the Health and Wellness Clinic of Fulton County, Rolf Siversten Superintendent CUSD #66, Paster Monroe Bailey of the First Baptist Church, Brooke Denniston Executive Director of the YWCA, Paula Grigsby Executive Director of the YMCA, Rhonda Morgan from the Salvation Army and Teri Williams director of Spoon River Pregnancy Center.
This fifth and final post explores solutions and offers closing remarks. Listen online here or through our Forgottonia Project podcast (search “Forgottonia Project” on iTunes or wherever you find podcasts.
We previously spoke with Forgottonia native Dr. Trenton Ellis about job loss throughout rural America. In this interview Dr. Ellis mentioned factors like technology, globalization, and the lack of economic diversity as contributing to job loss. Since our talk with Dr. Ellis was so rich in material and we didn’t want to depress you by only discussing problems, we split our discussion in two parts. In this 2nd edition, we address plans of action and ask 2 essential questions; What can we do about factors impacting job loss and What interferes with progress in rural America?
While Dr. Ellis admits there’s no quick fix, the wisdom he offers comes not just from his academic background, but his personal experience growing up in rural America.
The following is a portion of the transcript from our interview with Tim Kasser about value pollution.
On this edition we return to our conversation with Dr. Tim Kasser, a psychology professor at Knox College who is no stranger to rural living. We were extremely fortunate to speak with Dr. Kasser, he is the well-known author of a 2002 book called ¨The High Price of Materialism¨ which explores the undesirable effects that living in a consumerist culture has. He´s also featured in Andrew Morgan´s 2015 documentary ¨The True Cost¨ which examines consumerism and the mass media; this film and 2011s ¨Happy¨ are both featured on Netflix and I highly recommend you watch immediately.
Dr. Kasser spoke with us about a topic he is very passionate, one that we´ll refer to as value pollution. He’s studied value pollution for over 20 years and finds, among other things, that there are some very harmful effects advertising in particular has on children. While this may not seem like an issue unique to rural Americans, perhaps rural areas are better equipped to deal with this problem due to our ability to organize and come together. Our essential questions today are why should we ban advertisements in schools and what would alternative, intrinsically-driven ads look like? We will do our best to tackle this important, eye opening topic and more on this edition of Forgottonia.