Denizens of Normal: A Literary Review of Perspectives on Midwestern Farming Culture

Author Name(s)

Jonathan Housh

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Jaime Matera


The title of my Capstone presentation is “Denizens of Normal: Perspectives on Midwestern Farming Culture”. It is an overview of where the Midwestern United States is, both in its topography and its culture, and from that moving into an anthropological overview on the subject of Midwestern farming culture. The Capstone presentation will also detail how the population of the rural Midwest is rapidly decreasing, and due to the culture being perceived as being too normal to study by anthropologists, now is disappearing without any ethnographic record of its existence. The literary review covers what has been recorded by anthropologists about the farming culture of the rural Midwest, as well as how this culture is perceived by those outside of it. This research has been done primarily by using studies done of rural Midwestern adults and examinations of how the rural Midwest has been characterized in United States media. Finally, I will recommend future studies to be done by anthropologists to record this vanishing culture.


2 thoughts on “Denizens of Normal: A Literary Review of Perspectives on Midwestern Farming Culture”

  1. Dr. Weldon Zane Smith

    Thanks for coming to community time, Jonathan! I enjoyed talking to you and the others about future plans and research.
    I appreciate the focus on the Midwest (I went to grad school in Nebraska) and rural places in general (I’m from a very tiny town). I hope these histories can be recorded, I’ve actually been collecting all the historical documents I can about my hometown.
    I hope you enjoyed the pork and sweet potato dinner you talked about! Thanks again for sharing your research.

  2. Elizabeth Blackwood

    A really interesting presentation! I learned a lot from this– it led me to ask myself a lot of questions about what I consider “normal” in terms of culture. Well done!

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