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Rural societies around the world are changing in fundamental ways, both at their own initiative and in response to external forces. Is the field of rural studies keeping up with these changes? David L. Brown, International Professor of Development Sociology and co-director of the Community & Regional Development Institute at Cornell University, and a panel of authors discussed emerging challenges facing rural communities, February 2, 2017 as part of Mann Library's Chats in the Stacks series.

Brown is co-editor of The Routledge International Handbook of Rural Studies, which takes a problem-focused approach to examine the organization and transformation of rural society in more developed regions of the world. He was joined by chapter authors David Kay, Development Sociology and Community and Regional Development Institute, Cornell; Kai Schafft, Penn State Department of Educational Policy; and Ann Tickamyer and Leland Glenna, both of Penn State’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology.

The conversation touched on demographic changes and economic transformations, food systems and land use, environmental issues, rising inequality, and new social dynamics impacted by institutional capacities and governance. Also considered was the role of land grant social science in ameliorating rural problems in today’s globalized economy—and what lessons might be drawn from the outcome of the U.S. 2016 presidential election for the study of American rural communities this century.