The SlackWater Center Investigates the Meaning of "Rural"

The SlackWater Center is a new initiative at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, developed to help Chesapeake communities make sense of what’s happening to themselves and to their surroundings, both locally and globally.  The SlackWater Center brings together students, their faculty mentors, and members of the community to take a closer look at the rich and complicated legacies of the past, at the social and environmental challenges facing the present, and at our collective visions for the future.

The SlackWater Center expands the success of the College’s popular journal, SlackWater, first published in 1998.  The journal explored places like Cedar Point and St. George’s Island and topics concerning tobacco and the oyster by bringing together students and faculty from different disciplines.  The Center goes a step further by creating an undergraduate research consortium at the College.  The SlackWater Center is now more than oral histories: the Center now encompasses estuarine research, economic study, social analysis, and the work of other disciplines.

For the 2005-2006 academic year, the SlackWater Center is focusing on the meta-concept of rural: what ideas of rural have meant historically, what they mean now at the beginning of the 21st century, and how notions of rurality infuse contemporary regional discourse.

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