Upcoming Discourse: Screening The Rural: The American Countryside In Silent Film

Come join the Libraries on Thursday, September 28th, at 4:15 for the start to this years Claremont Discourse series of lectures, taking place in the Founders Room of the Honnold/Mudd Library.

Hal S. Barron (Professor of History, Louisa and Robert Miller Professor of Humanities, Harvey Mudd College, Professor of History, CGU) will be presenting. Popcorn, snacks and discussion to follow.

The rise of motion pictures during the 1910s and 1920s was a critical component of an emerging consumer culture in the United States that coincided with its broader transformation from a rural to an urban society. Because of this conjuncture, silent movies depicting agrarian life were instrumental in establishing new understandings of the countryside for a modern, urban nation. These films resonated with city audiences, particularly those who had been raised on the farm, as well as with rural and small-town moviegoers, and they performed important cultural work by helping to reconcile both groups to vexing social changes. Besides providing comfort in a time of transition, however, rural films also helped facilitate the new order by subverting traditional understandings of agrarian life and distancing it from its previous position at the core of American culture. Hal Barron, a noted rural historian and author of several books in the field, recently gave this talk as his Presidential Address for the Agricultural History Society.


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