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September 29, 2019
Hoosier Folk: When City Dwellers Discovered Rural Brown County (Nashville)
Event Details

Why are cities perceived as holding our collective future, while rural communities are so often viewed as being trapped in the past?

Dr. Jon Kay of Indiana University will give a 45 minute presentation, with time for Q & A, as part of the INseparable Speakers Bureau. This Sunday at Home program in the Singing Winds Visitor Center is included with standard site admission ($10 adults; $8 seniors, 60+, $5 children, ages 3-17). Light refreshments will be served.

Check out the premise below: In the early 20th century, Midwestern elites envisioned Brown County as a place where Hoosier folk culture remained “untarnished by the march of time.” City dwellers came to see its rustic beauty and meet the rural “natives” who lived in log cabins, played traditional music, and made handicrafts. In the midst of rapid urbanization and industrialization, people all over the world searched for a lost “authentic” heritage; in Indiana, it was Brown County that was believed to be the place where Hoosier folk culture continued. What happened in Brown County reveals a larger story about how perceptions of urban and rural emerged, namely that cities hold our collective future, while rural communities are trapped in the past. In his talk, Jon shares this little-known history and what this particular Indiana story can teach us about the ways we think and talk about “urban” and “rural” today.

Jon directs Traditional Arts Indiana at Indiana University, where he also serves as a clinical associate professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. He is the author of Folk Art and Aging: Life-Story Objects and Their Makers and the edited volume The Expressive Lives of Elders: Folklore, Art, and Aging. He also creates exhibitions, hosts public programs, and produces documentary videos about Indiana’s traditional arts. Jon grew up in Brown County and has spent his life researching the folk history of this rural community. This program was made possible with the support of Indiana Humanities.

Event Info
September 29, 2019, 2:00pm - 4:00pm