Critically cued to a political moment at which “the rural” across diverse North American locales is taken to be a singular, homogeneous place, this introduction to the special issue explores the value of comparative inquiry into settings and subject positions that index the rural in markedly different ways. It does so through the conceit of an anthropological almanac: a genre of forecasting through brief, necessarily ephemeral provocations, which both register the uneven production of space and value across their contexts and illuminate social transformations that extend well beyond the rural. Like other almanacs, ours is marked by a commitment to formal and epistemological pluralism, featuring contributions from scholars across the career cycle and presenting creative narrative selections side by side with more conventionally ethnographic ones. Asserting in the face of widespread precarity that rurality has a consequential future, it looks ahead to ask what the study of rural North America might yet become.
- United States