This website is devoted to making the history of

the Rural Sociological Society and rural sociology more accessible.


Additions and suggestions are always welcome!






RSS Oral History Project Information




The RSS Oral History Project is a collective effort to capture the memories, recollections, and insights of members of the Rural Sociological Society. 


In particular, three goals form the focus of the project:

(1) to develop a sense of where rural sociology has been, what progress it has made, and where it is heading;

(2) to compare past challenges/issues/opportunities with those of today; and

(3) to develop a better understanding of the relationship between sociology and rural sociology.


While the initial focus has been on interviewing past presidents, all interviews are welcome

In addition to past Presidents of RSS, those in other leadership positions should also be interviewed (ie. Treasurer/Executive Director,

Editors of Rural Sociology, Editors of The Rural Sociologist, etc).


Click here for the Brochure


Interviews will be conducted by volunteers, likely from within the RSS membership, but anyone is welcome. 

Persons living close to the interviewees are particularly encouraged to conduct an interview. 


Each interview follows a semi-structured format with 5 questions common to all interviews.  These are only intended as a starting place. 

Interviewers and interviewees are encouraged to follow whatever path they prefer as their time available allows.

  • How did you become interested in rural sociology?

  • What led you to decide to become active in (or run for President of) RSS?

  • What were some of the dominant issues or challenges confronting RSS/rural sociology or rural society
    when you first joined RSS and/or were President?

  • If you were involved in other associations (e.g. ASA, PAA, regional associations), based on that experience,
    how was rural sociology/RSS seen by those within that association?

  • What do you see as the future issues or challenges for RSS as an organization or rural sociology as a field?



All interviews will be recorded and copies deposited in the RSS Archives at the University of Missouri.



Important Paperwork for Conducting an Interview

    These resources have been updated 2012.


These are the key documents that interviewers will need to conduct their interview:

 1.  Project Overview This provides a summary of the project as well as key details.

 2.  Release and Consent Form For the interviews to be accessible to researchers, both the interviewee and interviewer need to sign a release and consent form.  This should be returned with the recording of the completed interview. 

 3.  Biographical Cover Sheet This coversheet is intended to help participants gather key biographical information on their interviewee.  These should be returned with the recording of the completed interview.

 4.  Reminder List This is a checklist of the key items that need to be completed.


Additional Resources:

    These resources have been updated 2012.



Potential Additional Questions

The 5 common questions were selected from a much longer list.  These are included in case you

might find them useful as follow-ups, prompts, or as inspiration for other, more interesting questions.



Full List of Past Presidents and Interviews Conducted

While the initial focus is to conduct interviews with past presidents, not all of our past presidents are

still with us or we do not have current contact information.  In case interviewers would like to ask their interviewee
about other past presidents, this is a full list and the years they served.



Principals and Standards of the Oral History Association

Oral history is an entire field onto itself.  This document provides selections from the principals and standards document

developed by the Oral History Association to provide guidance on conducting oral history. 

(The complete document of the Oral History Association is available at:



Oral History Resources

There are many resources online to help anyone interested in doing oral history.  The Baylor University

Oral History WORKSHOP ON THE WEB is a good place with many resources (  In addition to those at Baylor, the list contains other places on the web that also contain useful resources.



For more information, or to sign up to conduct one of the interviews, contact:

Julie N. Zimmerman

RSS Historian

Professor, Rural Sociology

Dept. of Community and Leadership Development, University of Kentucky


Back to the Historian's Website Home


Back to the RSS Website Homepage