The field of rural law is a growing subfield in legal scholarship, and more law schools are offering courses on rural legal issues. But you don't have to think of yourself as a rural legal scholar to find this field applicable to your own teaching and research. Below is an online version of my Law in Rural America seminar taught in Winter 2020. The materials assembled below are not exhaustive, and I welcome your suggestions for additional materials.
LAW IN RURAL AMERICA SEMINAR
This course is for those curious about the place of “the rural” in American law and politics. Perhaps you’ve noticed the buzz and backlash surrounding books like JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. Maybe you’ve read about the opioid epidemic in rural communities or are interested in voting access for rural Native people. This course will push you to think seriously about how law shapes rural communities and how rural geography in turn shapes legal and policy implementation.
The course will survey a broad range of legal subfields and expose you to historical and contemporary legal problems specific to rural communities in the United States by using legal, political, and historical sources. We will cover topics such as rural legal aid, American Indian law, farmworkers rights, education policy, land use, and even criminal prosecution. In the process we’ll consider changing legal definitions of the rural, consider how each of the topics covered are intertwined, and rethink the place of rural communities in American law and policy.
JOTWELL is the Journal of Things We Like (Lots), and it provides a platform for legal scholars to celebrate good scholarship. They publish 500-1000 word reviews of recently written articles and books. Your review should explain the value of the work being reviewed, explain the main argument(s), and get the reader excited to read the article. The focus should not be on critique or criticism, even though you should still take a critical eye to the work. Read the author guidelines for “Writing the ‘Jot’” here: https://jotwell.com/style-guide/. For an example of a Jot on a piece of rural legal scholarship, read Melissa Murray’s review of Luke Boso’s Urban Bias, Rural Sexual Minorities, and the Courtshere: https://family.jotwell.com/same-sex-and-the-city/
Three students from Winter 2020 ultimately published reviews with JOTWELL.
Your final assignment is to write an Op-Ed. You should apply the knowledge you have gained from our readings to contextualize a current event and be prepared to share your op-ed with the class. The op-ed should target a broad readership and explain how academic scholarship helps us to understand a particular issue in rural America.
Op-eds tend to have a standard structure of less than 1000 words. The first paragraph contains the lede or an introductory hook that grabs the reader’s attention. The remaining paragraphs should establish a thesis and argument and include roughly three points of evidence supporting the argument. The op-ed should conclude by circling back to the hook.
There are resources for writing op-eds at The Op-Ed Project. Duke also offers tips for writing effective op-eds. The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and Made By History provide good examples of academics writing op-eds for a popular audience.
1. What is Rural? Changing Legal Definitions of the Rural
2. Rural Local Government
3. Rural Courts
4. Rural Land Use
5. Rural Education Policy
6. Rural Labor & Economies
7. Rural Communities & Immigration
8. Rural Voting
9. Gender & Sexuality in Rural America
10. Rural Legal Aid & Access to Justice
11. Rural Communities & the Environment
12. Rural Health & Opioid Crisis
13. Rethinking the Place of Rural America in Modern Law and Politics
- Lisa Pruitt, The Women Feminism Forgot: Rural Working-Class White Women in the Era of Trump, 49 U. Tol. L. Rev. 537 (2018), pp. 537-604.
- Lisa Pruitt and Marta Vanegas, Urbanormativity, Spatial Privilege, and Judicial Blind Sports in Abortion Law, 30 Berkeley J. of Gender L. & Just. 76 (2015), pp. 76-153.
- Lisa Pruitt, Gender, Geography & Rural Justice, 23 Berkeley J. of Gender, L. & Just. 338 (2008), pp. 338-389.
- Robert C. Ellickson, Order without law: How neighbors settle disputes, 1991.
- Debra Lyn Bassett, Ruralism, 88 Iowa L. Rev. 273 (2003)
- Lisa Pruitt, Rural Rhetoric 39 Conn. L. Rev. 159 (2006-2007)
- Debra Lyn Bassett, The Rural Venue, 57 Ala. L. Rev. 941 (2006)
- Daniel T. Lichter and David L. Brown, Rural America in an Urban Society: Changing Spatial and Social Boundaries, 37 Ann. Rev. Soc. 565 (2011)
- James Sandman and Ronald Flagg, Forward, Special Issue on Revitalizing Rural America, 13 Harv. L. & Pol’y Rev. 1 (2018)
- JD Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, 2016. To be read with Elizabeth Catte, What You’re Getting Wrong About Appalachia, 2018 and Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll, Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, 2019.
- Lisa Pruitt, Spatial Inequality as Constitutional Infirmity: Equal Protection, Child Poverty and Place, 71 Mont. L. Rev. 1 (2010)
- Ezra Rosser, Rural Housing and Code Enforcement: Navigating Between Values and Housing Types, 13 Georgetown J. Pov. L. & Pol. 33 (2006)
- Noah J. Durst, Municipal annexation and the selective underbounding of colonias, 46 Envt. & Planning A 1699 (2014)
- Jessica Shoemaker, Complexity’s Shadow: American Indian Property, Sovereignty, and the Future, 115 Mich L. Rev. 487 (2017).
- Lisa Pruitt, Place Matters: Domestic Violence and Rural Difference, 23 Wis. J. of L., Gender & Soc’y 346 (2008)
- Thomas Mitchell, From Reconstruction to Deconstruction: Undermining Black Landownership, Political Independence, and Community Through Partition Sales of Tenancies in Common, 95 Northwestern U. L. Rev. 505 (2001)
- Thomas W. Mitchell, Reforming Property Law to Address Devastating Land Loss, 66 Ala. L. Rev. 1 (2014)
- Michelle Wilde Anderson, Sprawl’s Shepherd: The Rural County, 100 Calif. L. Rev. 365 (2012)
- Kenneth M. Johnson, Demographic Trends in Nonmetropolitan America: Implications for Land Use Development and Conservation 15 Vt. J. Envtl. L. 31 (2013)
- Joshua Nygren, A Producers’ Republic: Rural Zoning, Land Use, and Citizenship in the Great Lakes Cutover, 1920-1940, 40 Mich. Hist. Rev. 1 (2014)
- Shoemaker, Jessica A., Transforming Property: Reclaiming Modern Indigenous Land Tenures (October 25, 2018). Cal. L. Rev., Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3273126
- John Dayton, Rural Children, Rural Schools, and Public School Funding Litigation: A Real Problem in Search of a Real Solution, 82 Neb. L. Rev 99 (2003)
- Robert M. Bastress, The Impact of Litigation on Rural Students: From Free Textbooks to School Consolidation, 82 Neb. L. Rev. 9 (2003)
- Deena Dulgerian, Note, The Impact of the Every Student Succeeds Act on Rural Schools, 24 Geo. J. on Poverty L. & Pol’y 111 (2016)
- Rebecca Williams and Lisa Pruitt, States’ Rights and State Wrongs: Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program Work Requirements in Rural America, in Holes in the Safety Net: Federalism and Poverty, edited by Ezra Rosser (2019)
- Tyler Gray Greene, Farm to Factory: Secondary Road Building and the Rural Industrial Geography of Post-World War II North Carolina, 84 J. Southern Hist. 277 (2018)
- Katherine M. Porter, Phantom Farmers: Chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code, 79 Am. Bankr. L.J. 729 (2005)
- Lisa Pruitt, Welfare Queens and White Trash, 25 S. Calif. Interdisciplinary L. J. 289 (2016)
- Elena Irwin, et. al., A Century of Research on Rural Development and Regional Issues, 92 Am. J. of Ag. Econ. 522 (2010)
- César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Due Process and Immigrant Detainee Prison Transfers: Moving LPRS to Isolated Prisons Violates Their Right to Counsel, 21 La Raza L.J. 17 (2011)
- Daniel T. Lichter, Immigration and the New Racial Diversity in Rural America, 77 Rural Soc. 3 (2012)
- Suzanne E. Cevasco, Note, Nation of Immigrants, Nation of Laws: Agriculture as the Achilles Heel of Enforcement-Only Immigration Legislation, 37 Seton Hall Legis. J. 175 (2012)
- Paul A. Diller, Reorienting Home Rule: Part 2—Remedying the Urban Disadvantage through Federalism and Localism, 77 La. L. Rev. 1045 (2017)
- Margo Anderson, Baker v. Carr, the Census, and the Political and Statistical Geography of the United States: The Origin and Impact of Public Law 94-171, 62 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 1153 (2012)
- Michael E. Solimine, Congress, the Solicitor General, and the Path of Reapportionment Litigation, 62 Case Western L. Rev. 1109 (2012)
- Luke Boso, Urban Bias, Rural Sexual Minorities, and the Courts, 60 UCLA L. Rev. 562 (2013).
- Hannah Haksgaard, Rural Women and Developments in the Undue Burden Analysis: The Effect of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 65 Drake L. Rev. 663 (2017)
- Hannah Haksgaard, Rural Inheritance: Gender Disparities in Farm Transmission, 88 N.D. L. Rev. 347 (2013)
- Lisa Pruitt, The Women Feminism Forgot: Rural Working-Class White Women in the Era of Trump, 49 U. Tol. L. Rev. 537 (2018)
- Michele Statz and Lisa Pruitt, To Recognize the Tyranny of Distance: A Spatial Reading of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 51 Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space (2019)
- Lisa Pruitt and Marta Vanegas, Urbanormativity, Spatial Privilege, and Judicial Blind Sports in Abortion Law, 30 Berkeley J. of Gender L. & Just. 76 (2015)
- Lisa Pruitt, Gender, Geography & Rural Justice, 23 Berkeley J. of Gender, L. & Just. 338 (2008)
- Lisa Pruitt, et. al., Legal Deserts: A Multi-State Perspective on Rural Access to Justice, 13 Harv. L. & Pol’y Rev. 15 (2018)
- Hillary A. Wandler, Spreading Justice to Rural Montana: Rurality’s Impacts on Supply and Demand for Legal Services in Montana, 76 Montana L. Rev. 225 (2015)
- Hillary A. Wandler, Spreading Justice to Rural Montana: Expanding Local Legal Services in Underserved Rural Communities, 77 Montana L. Rev. 235 (2016)
- Thomas Sneed, The Academic Law Library’s Role in Cultivating the Rural Lawyer, 64 SD L. Rev. 213 (2019)
- Pruitt, et. al., Justice in the Hinterlands: Arkansas as a Case Study of the Rural Lawyer Shortage and Evidence-Based Solutions to Alleviate It, 37 UALR L. Rev. 573-719.
- Neil D. Hamilton, Emerging Issues of 21st Century Agricultural Law and Rural Practice, 12 Drake J. Ag. L. 79 (2007)
- Hannah Haksgaard, Rural Incentive Programs for Legal and Medical Professionals: A Comparative Analysis, 59 SD L. Rev. 585 (2014)
- California Commission on Access to Justice, California’s Attorney Deserts: Access to Justice Implications of the Rural Lawyer Shortage, July 2019.
- The Rural A2J Guide, Northland Access to Justice Project: www.northlandproject.org/the-rural-a2j-guide
- Liz Clark Rinehart, Zoned for Injustice: Moving Beyond Zoning and Market-Based Land Preservation to Address Rural Poverty, 23 Geo. J. Poverty L. & Pol’y 61 (2015)
- Rose Francis and Laurel Firestone, Implementing the Human Right to Water in California’s Central Valley: Building a Democratic Voice through Community Engagement in Water Policy Decision Making, 47 Willamette L. Rev. 495 (2011)
- Nicholas Stump, Following New Lights: Critical Legal Research Strategies as a Spark for Law Reform in Appalachia, 23 Am. U. J. Gender Soc. Pol’y & Law 573 (2015)
- Anietie Maureen-An Akpan, Tierra Y Vida: How Environmental Injustice has Adversely Impacted the Public Health of Rural Brown Populations in South Texas, 43 Tex. Envtl. L.J. 321 (2013)
- Douglas Quirke, et. al., Between Community Stability and the “Greatest Good”: Legal Obligations of the U.S. Forest Service toward Rural Communities, 1891-2016, 32 J. Envtl. L. & Litig. 169 (2017)
- Camille Pannu, Comment, Drinking Water and Exclusion: A Case Study from California’s Central Valley, 100 Calif. L. Rev. 223 (2012)
- Johanna D. Hollingsworth, Note, Is There A Doctor in the House? How Dismantling Barriers to Telemedicine Practice Can Improve Healthcare Access for Rural Residents, 62 How. L.J. 653 (2019)
- Thomas F. Martin II, Note, The Stark Inaccessibility of Medical Care in Rural Indiana: Judicial and Legislative Solutions, 11 Ind. Health L. Rev. 831 (2014)
- Josiah M. Daniel, III, RX for Ailing Rural Public Hospitals: Chapter 9 Bankruptcy and Pro Bono Lawyering, 18 Hous. J. Health L. & Pol’y 205 (2018)
- Linda Chezem, Public Health Law & Equal Access to Justice in Rural America, 59 SD L. Rev. 529 (2014)
- Dominique LeVert, Telemedicine: Revamping Quality Healthcare in Rural America, 19 Annals Health L. Advance Directive 215 (2010)