Jane Adams | Anthropology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Jane Adams

Professor Emerita

email: jadams@siu.edu

My intellectual and academic career has focused on the encounter between people who live in rural regions and expanding, industrializing states and societies. My ethnographic and historical research focuses on rural North America, particularly the region included within the Mississippi Delta - from Southern Illinois southward.

This work has resulted in three books and numerous articles, with another book in preparation.

In 2000 I began a long-term project on peoples' memories of, and judgments about, the massive transformations of the post-World War II period in the lower Mississippi Delta. With my husband, photographer D. Gorton, I have returned to Mississippi, where we participated in the Freedom Movement in the 1960s. We are using digital video to interview and film in the field. We are authoring the material on the World Wide Web as well as in conventional print and video media.

Our work is featured as a "Profile in Success" by Apple Computer.

I am also a member of a team that has been studying watershed planning in the Cache River watershed in southernmost Illinois.


  • Anth. 410C, Economic Anthropology (Fall 2009)
  • Anth 565, Seminar on Social Movements: Race, Faith, Class, Nation (Spring 2009)
    With special topics on gender, social movement theory, religion, nationalism, and the formation of the modern nation state.
  • Anth. 202, America's Diverse Cultures (Fall 2006)
  • Anth 412, Using Digital Media in Anthropological Research (Spring 2004)
  • Anth. 370, Contemporary Human Problems (Spring 2008)
  • Anth. 410E, Legal and Political Anthropology (Fall 2008)
  • Anth 500E, History of Anthropology (Fall 2005)
  • Anth. 310G/470G, Peoples and Cultures of North America (Spring 2008)


2009 This Land Ain't My Land: The Eviction of Sharecroppers by the Farm Security Administration. with D. Gorton. Agricultural History 83(3), pp. 323-351

2007 Ethnography of Rural North America . North American Dialogue: Newsletter of the Society for the Anthropology of North America . V. 10 (2):2-6.

2006. Confederate Lane: Class, Race, and Ethnicity in the Mississippi Delta. American Ethnologist 33(2):288-309.

2005 Class: An Essential Aspect of Watershed Planning. Jane Adams, Steven Kraft, and Leslie Duram. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 1-24 [NOTE: Authorship incorrect on title page. Erratum note here

2005. Watershed Planning: Pseudo-democracy and Its Alternatives. The Case of the Cache River Watershed, Illinois. Jane Adams, Steven Kraft, J.B. Ruhl, Christopher Lant, Tim Loftus, and Leslie Duram. Agriculture and Human Values

2004. Watershed Planning in Watersheds Dominated by Multiple, Largely Private Owners: The Cache River of Southern Illinois. by Steven E. Kraft, Jane Adams, Timothy T. Loftus, Christopher L. Lant, Leslie A. Duram, and J.B. Ruhl. In Integrated Resources and Environmental Management (IREM): The Human Dimensions. Alan Ewert, Doug Baker, and Glyn Bissix, eds. London: CABI Press International.

2004 “Southern Trauma:” Revisiting the Indianola, Mississippi, of John Dollard and Hortense Powdermaker American Anthropologist. 106(2):334-345.

2004 The Farm Journal’s Discourse of Farm Women’s Femininity in the Post WWII Decade Anthropology and Humanism June 2004

2003 Proposal for a Model State Watershed Management Act, J.B. Ruhl, Christopher Lant, Steven Kraft, Jane Adams, Leslie Duram, and Tim Loftus. Evironmental Law, 34(4, December):929-947.

Ecological Restoration in Multiple-Ownership Watersheds: The Case of the Cache River in Illinois - Social and Economic Issues. Jane Adams, Jeffrey Beaulieu, David Bennett, Leslie Duram, Steven Kraft, Christopher Land, Tim Loftus, John Nicklow, and J.B. Ruhl. Illinois Water Resources Center Special Report No. 27. Pp. 161-75.

"Modernity" and U.S. farm women's poultry operations: farm women nourish the industrializing cities 1880-1940. Paper presented at the international conference, The Chicken: Its Biological, Social, Cultural, and Industrial History: From Neolithic Middens to McNuggets. May 17-19, 2002, Yale University, Program in Agrarian Studies.

2000. Farm Women, Class, and the Limits of Nostalgia. Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society.

1999 "Changing Farm Women's Roles" Feature article for Illinois History Teacher 7(1):2-6.

1999 "Many Sides to Relevance," Anthropology Newsletter 40(4):14.

1996 (with Margarita Bolanos) Aproximacion historico al desarrollo de la antropologia norteamericana en Centroamerica: 1930-1990. In: Carmen Murillo (Editor). Antropología e identidades en Centroamérica. Colección de Libros del Laboratorio de Etnología. Departamento de Antropología. Universidad de Costa Rica.

1997 Quiesence Despite Privation: Explaining the Absence of a Farm Laborers' Movement in Southern Illinois. Comparative Studies in Society and History. 39(3):550-571.

1995 Individualism, Efficiency, and Domesticity: Ideological Aspects of the Exploitation of Farm Families and Farm Women. Agriculture and Human Values 12(4):2-17.

1994 Government Policies and the Changing Structure of Farm Women's Livelihood: A Case from Southern Illinois. in The Economic Anthropology of the State, edited by Elizabeth M. Brumfiel. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

1993 Resistance to "Modernity": Southern Illinois Farm Women and the Cult of Domesticity. American Ethnologist 20(1):89-113.

1992 1870s Agrarian Activism in Southern Illinois: Mediator Between Two Eras. Social Science History 16(3):365-400.

1992 "How Can a Poor Man Live?" Resistance to Capitalist Development in Southern Illinois, 1870-1890. Rural History: Economy, Society, Culture. 3(1):87-110.

1991-2 "A Woman's Place Is In the Home": The Ideological Devaluation of Farm Women's Work. Anthropology of Work Review xii(4) and xii(1):2-11.

1990 The Cobden Peach Festival. Illinois Historical Journal 83:97-108.

1988 The Decoupling of Farm and Household: Differential Consequences of Capitalist Development on Southern Illinois and Third World Family Farms. Comparative Studies in Society and History 30(3):453-482.

1987 Business Farming and Farm Policy in the 1980s: Further Reflections on the Farm Crisis. Culture and Agriculture 32:1-6.

1986 Farmer Organization and Class Formation. Canadian Journal of Anthropology/RCA 5(1):35-42.