RSS eBulletin Issue 132, March 2021
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Midyear Meeting Follow Up

Nominations Sought

Membership Promotion

Diversity Committee News

Highlight-Featured Dissertation Award Recipients

Student Paper 

Other Annoucements
Upcoming Deadlines RSS
2021 NRRIG Graduate Student Paper Award
May 5, 2021

2021 SAFRIG Student Paper Award Competition
May 15, 2021
Rural Sociological Society Business Office
Mailing Address: PO Box 791061, New Orleans, LA 70179-1061
Email Address:
Office Phone: 504.218.8460
For other current announcements, additional call for papers, employment opportunities, and meetings of interest see the RSS website. 
Midyear Meeting Follow Up

The Midyear Council Agenda and supporting documents have been posted in the “Governance” section of the Members only, tab on the Rural Sociological Society website. The agenda file includes current financial and membership reports and Executive Committee and Standing Committee reports for the first half of our fiscal year.

Items of interest:

 - Graduate Students Representatives recently conducted a survey of graduate student members and participants in the October graduate student conference. The complete list of questions is included in their report to Council. A group is meeting to review the findings of the survey and discussing ways to improve RSS.

- The revised theme for the 2021 Annual Meeting of RSS, Rurality and 21st Century Crises of Democracy, can be found in the President’s Report. Other information about the 2021 meeting going virtual are included in the President’s and the Program Committee’s reports.

- The Diversity Committee has made a series of recommendations of ways RSS can increase diversity in membership and attendance at RSS annual meetings. They recently released a Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity statement.  This is an outcome of the Diversity Workshops held last fall. The statement is included in this eBulletin.

- The publishing industry is changing rapidly. See the Publication Committee’s report on some of the changes taking place with Wiley. And finally, Rural Sociology has a new editor, Carol Ward, Brigham Young University.

Nominations Request

Rural Sociological Society Awards 
Deadline: April 29, 2021
The RSS Awards Committee is seeking submissions for the following awards:

  • Distinguished Service to Rural Life 
  • Distinguished Rural Sociologist
  • Excellence in Research 
  • Excellence in Instruction
  • Excellence in Extension and Public Outreach
  • Certificate of Appreciation
  • The Fred Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award 2021 (Article)
  • The Olaf Larson Graduate Student Paper Award

When nominating someone for any award, nominators should consider whether the candidate meets the standards outlined by the RSS Code of Ethics. RSS award winners are expected to meet these standards:

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of the RSS Annual Meeting in 2020, no RSS awards were made in 2020. These nominations have been carried over to the current year 2021. Award nomination submissions from 2020 and new 2021 nominations will be combined for review and one award will be made for each category for 2020/2021. The 2020/2021 RSS Award winners will be announced at the virtual meetings to be held online July 29-August 1, 2021. Those that submitted nominations in 2020 are welcome to update and resubmit application packets by April 29, 2021. No new book nominations will be accepted in 2021 for the 2020 Fred Buttel Book Award because the award is made every other year. Applications for the 2021 Fred Buttel Award for an article will be accepted this year.

Self-nominations are accepted and encouraged.

Detailed description and criteria for all awards can be found at: 
Nomination packets should be submitted by April 29, 2021 to Alisha Coleman-Jensen, via email as.pdf application packets to:


Membership Promotion

Dear RSS Members,

The Membership Committee asks for your help in increasing the number of graduate students members. To that end, we have created the announcement below, ready to be forwarded, to highlight the numerous advantages of joining RSS for graduate students. Please share the following with your graduate students:

Graduate students are currently being given a 20% discount for joining the Rural Sociological Society! For the cost of $28 graduate students receive a one year membership to the organization and the following membership benefits:

  • Professional development opportunities.
  • Networking opportunities with professionals and other graduate students.
  • Access to a wide array of funding to support their research endeavors.
  • Opportunities to compete for numerous graduate student awards.
  • Developing their career through mentorship.
  • Establishing important collaborations with professionals and graduate students. 

The Membership Committee wants to thank you for assisting us in the promotion of RSS and encouraging your students to be members. 

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact the RSS Membership Committee chair, Laura McKinney at

Diversity Committee

Our Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
In the context of racial violence in 2020, the RSS Diversity Committee held a series of dialogues and convened with the broader membership to discuss the issue of racial equity in RSS. We recognize and condemn past and present forms of violence and oppression that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color face in the United States and across the world. We also recognize how our own organizational history and structure has elevated the voices of white scholars, often to the exclusion of BIPOC scholars.

Our recent dialogue provides us with the building blocks necessary for addressing historical and structural issues which have not provided the support our BIPOC scholars deserve from our organization. To that end, we identified three main objectives: elevate and re-center BIPOC scholars and voices, address spaces of impact, and protect intellectual freedom. We propose 8 action items to achieve these goals and further strengthen RSS.

The complete statement can be found here 


Seeking Volunteers
Are you interested in becoming more involved in the Rural Sociological Society? Would you be willing to serve on one of RSS’s Standing Committees?  Need some time to think about it?

Over the next few months RSS will be seeking to fill a number of committee positions that are opening up in August when people complete their current terms. We face openings on most working committees including Awards and Endowment, Development, Diversity, Membership, and Publications and Communications. For a brief description of each committee visit You must be a member of RSS to serve on a Standing Committee. 

If interested please contact the Business Office, Thank you.

Highlight-Featured Dissertation Award Recipients
Featured 2021 Dissertation Award Recipients
Jenny Melo Velasco. In my dissertation, I explore the socio-ethical implications that digital agricultural technologies pose for small farmers in Latin America. As an illustrative case I will address the coffee and cacao commodity chains in Colombia. I will use a commodity chain analysis approach to understand these crops and a political economy lens to understand the digital agricultural technologies panorama and its implications.

Carolyn F. Reyes. Carolyn's dissertation project evaluates the social and demographic impacts of large-scale mining on youth outcomes. In recent decades, Peru has adopted a national strategy that facilitates and promotes transnational investment in mining developments. A youthful country demographically, this economic strategy has implications for Peru’s youth, shaping their opportunities, decision-making and life trajectories during key periods of transition to adulthood. For this empirical project, Carolyn will draw from multiple sources of secondary data to evaluate key demographic, community-level differences between mining and non-mining communities in Peru, and assess the individual-level economic, educational, migration, and fertility outcomes for young men and women in mining areas at key transition ages. In addition, she will draw from independently collected surveys too add nuanced understanding of youth experiences growing up around large-scale mining projects.

Forrest W. Stagner. This project will examine how smallholder farmers are adapting their livestock management practices in response to climate change in two rural Zambian communities through the use of interviews and community resource mapping. Collecting and analyzing qualitative data on this topic will contribute greater contextual understanding of how smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa are (or are not) using livestock within resilience strategies while also serving to refine extant resilience theory to better account for the role of institutions. This research will serve as one leg of a three-paper, mixed-methods dissertation on the use of livestock for climate change adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Feinuo Sun. Under the theoretical framework of spatial inequality, my dissertation aims to understand how the disparities in the development of opioid crisis between rural and urban areas are constructed and evolved from 2006 to 2018. Theoretically, the study fills the gap on spatial inequality studies at the subnational scale and considers the fluidity of rural-urban space by using a continuous spectrum of rurality instead of the traditional dichotomous measure. Empirically, the study applies a spatiotemporal perspective and takes the temporal and spatial dependency of spatial units into account. The data I use include the confidential Multiple-Cause of Death (MCOD) files maintained by the National Center for Health Statistics and several federal data sources, such as the U.S. Opioid Dispensing Rate Maps and the American Community Survey. The methods I use include geographical mapping, fixed effects modeling and spatial panel fixed effects modeling. Preliminary results show that the explanatory variables that account for the positive association between rurality and opioid prescribing rate include demographic composition, economic distress as well as the availability of healthcare providers, but not social capital. The findings have valuable policy implications for addressing the opioid epidemic as a growing public health concern.
2021 Student Award Competitions
The Natural Resources Research Interest Group (NRRIG) of the Rural Sociological Society is soliciting submissions for a graduate student paper award in the area of environmental or natural resources sociology. The paper should be related to the broad interests of the NRRIG. Current graduate students and recent graduates (who received their degrees no earlier than May of the year of award) may apply.

Coauthored papers are acceptable, including those co-authored with faculty. If co-authored, the applicant (a) must be the lead author of the manuscript, and (b) provide a statement detailing the relative contributions of each co-author.

The recipient will receive a monetary prize of at least $100 (final amount TBD based on NRRIG budget). The recipient will be recognized in the RSS eBulletin this year.

To be considered for this award, please send an electronic copy of the full paper with contact information to the NRRIG chair (Cat Edgeley at by May 4 of the year of application. If co-authored, please provide a statement detailing the relative contributions of each co-author.

The paper submission should not exceed 35 double-spaced pages (including all tables, graphs, and references) in a standard font (12 point). The winner will be selected by a committee of NRRIG members and notified by June 1 of the year of application.

Papers will be evaluated using the following criteria:
  1. Advancement of knowledge in the area environmental or natural resources sociology. 
  2. Significance of the topic for the NRRG of the Rural Sociological Society. 
  3. Quality and implementation of the research, theory, and argument. 
  4. Analysis and interpretation of the findings. 
  5. Clarity and organization of the writing.

The William R. Freudenburg Award of Merit is presented to recognize exceptional contributions to the sociology of natural resources and the environment. The award is given to recognize an outstanding legacy / collective body of work that has demonstrably impacted natural resources and environmental sociology.

Recipients will have the following qualifications: outstanding research and scholarship as evidenced not solely by numbers of publications, but their impact: simply put, we are looking for recipients who have substantively affected the trajectory of thinking within natural resources and environmental sociology. Such impact may also be evidenced via application of work beyond the academy, such as work with a natural resources agency, organization, or other partnerships. Other contributions to the NRRIG or sociology of natural resources and environment, such as an outstanding legacy of outreach, graduate student mentorship, and/or instruction are also envisioned as important criteria for consideration. Nominees are not required to be present or past members of the NRRIG.

To nominate someone please submit 1) up to three letters of nomination that clearly explain the reasons for considering the nomination and the nominee’s contribution to the sociology of natural resources and environment, as well as 2) a current copy of the nominee's CV. Additional supporting materials may be sent, but are not required. Nomination materials must be submitted to the NRRIG chair, Cat Edgeley ( by May 4 of the year of application. If possible, please reach out to Cat as soon as you decide to put a nomination together, so that the NRRIG leadership can provide you with support and ensure no duplicate nominations are being prepared. The winner will be selected by a committee of NRRIG members and notified by June 1 of the year of application.

2021 SAFRIG Student Paper Award Competition
The Sociology of Agriculture and Food Research Interest Group (SAFRIG)
will present a Student Paper Award at the annual meeting of the Rural Sociological Society. Requirements for this award include that: 

1) the paper focuses on an agrifood topic, 
2) the paper is authored by a student or group of students (no faculty co-authors), 
3) all authors are members of the Rural Sociological Society, 
4) the authors commit to presenting at the 2021 RSS Annual Meeting if the paper is selected as the winner (format of the conference is TBD);
5) the paper uses the Rural Sociology journal guidelines for style, formatting, and references. 

Papers will be particularly competitive if they demonstrate effective use of innovative theories, methods, and/or attention to unique geographic, cultural, and political contexts. Submissions for the Student Paper Award competition can be under initial review at a peer-reviewed journal but cannot be already accepted (in press) or published in a peer-reviewed journal. The winner(s) will receive a certificate and monetary award. The award will be presented during the SAFRIG Business Meeting at the 2021 conference. Questions and submissions as a word document should be sent to Florence Becot at Submission deadline is May 15, 2021
Call for Papers

Humboldt Journal of Social Relations (HJSR) Special Issue: Aging in Community
Submit by April 30, 2021

For this issue of HJSR, we are interested in looking beyond individualistic qualities that influence how a person ages. We seek to explore how the structural contexts of community affect the experience of growing old. For the purposes of this exploration, community is defined as a group of people living in a shared location or having a particular characteristic in common.

For more information, click here.

How Alternative is Alternative? The Role of Entrepreneurial Development, Form, and Function in the Emergence of Alternative Marketscapes
Submit by July 31, 2021

There is growing popular press interest in and emerging scholarly attention to alternative markets. While alternative markets are not clearly defined, the content under the broad “alternative” label centers on markets outside the mainstream. The outsider status of alternative markets range from benign substitution to radical ideological opposition. Often the alternative market is formed from entrepreneurial innovation. If successful these entrepreneurial innovations may become radical market disruptions, e.g., Uber as a substitute for both taxi services and personal transportation and Airbnb as an alternative to hotel accommodations.  

For more information, click here.

Employment Opportunities

Post Doc: Center for Local and State Policy - Ball State University
Apply before March 31, 2021

The Center for Local and State Policy at Ball State University invites applications for a full-time 2-year qualitative postdoctoral scholar position funded by the USDA through an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) grant, starting August 2021. The successful candidate will collaborate on an interdisciplinary, mixed-methods, multi-university research project on the role of community-level assets in the livelihood strategies of low-income rural households. 

For more information, click here.


Post-Doctoral Associate Social Sustainability in Supply Chains
Apply before April 1, 2021

The University of Minnesota is looking for a postdoctoral researcher to study social aspects of sustainability in supply chains for novel crops, namely Kernza® Perennial Grain.

For more information, click here.


Assistant Professor of Political Science, History, or Appalachian Studies
Apply before April 1, 2021

Glenville State College is seeking applicants for a tenure-track assistant professor in Political Science, History, or Appalachian Studies to complement the research and teaching areas of the department, to begin Fall 2021.

For more information, click here.

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