Stories and Reports

Colorado River
In Crisis

Stories and Reports

The Western
Energy Boom

Stories and Reports

Health Care in
the Rural West

Historical Background

The Country Life Commission

Dear Visitor: This site preserves the legacy publications of the Rural West Initiative from 2009-2014. 
For more recent information on our conference and publications, please go to

Rural West Conference, April 2014

Rethinking the Rural-Urban Divide
In the Modern West

An Interdisciplinary Conference
April 4 & 5, 2014
Stanford University


For nearly two centuries, the rural-urban divide has served as one of the great dichotomies in both the conceptual and organizational structuring of the United States; and perhaps in no region more than the American West. This conference seeks to complicate such characterizations in the modern West and explore the increasingly porous nature of the rural-urban divide in the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  Moreover, the event promises to offer an important intellectual bridge between urban and rural scholars within the West, aiming to advance an interdisciplinary discussion on the inter-connected relationship between the region’s cities and its countryside.

Interested attendees must register online to observe the conference.

Read More »


Friday, April 4

Friday's Location: Paul Brest Hall West, 555 Salvatierra Walk, Stanford University (Map)

12:00 – Lunch

12:45 – Opening Remarks

1:00 –    Panel 1: Agriculture’s New Landscapes: From Rural Fields to Urban Gardens

·      Andrew Robichaud [Stanford, GS]

·      Julie Guthman [UC Santa Cruz]

·      Ann Thrupp [Director, UC Berkeley Food Institute]

·      J. Arbuckle [Iowa State]

                 Moderator: Patrick Archie


2:30 –    Coffee Break

3:00 –    Panel 2: Economies in the Countryside

    ·      Jonathan Simon [UC Berkeley]

·      Bryan Holmes [Assoc. Warden, California State Prison, Mule Creek]

·      Mike Koewler [Owner, Sacramento Rendering Company]

·      Michael Kahan [Stanford]

        Moderator: John McChesney

5:00 –    Speaker Dinner


Saturday, April 5

Saturday's Location: Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, 291 Campus Drive West, Stanford Medical School (Map)

8:30 –    Breakfast

9:00 –    Panel 3: Labor Regimes and the Shifting Politics of Immigration

   ·      Kathy Olmstead [UC Davis]

·      Kelly Richter [Stanford, GS]

·      Matt Garcia [Arizona State]

         Moderator: Mario Sifuentez

11:00 – Panel 4: Politics and the Changing Demographic Tide

   ·      Iris Hui [Stanford]

·      Arjun Wilkins [Stanford, GS]

·      Gary Segura [Stanford]

         Moderator: Bruce Cain

12:30 – Lunch

1:30 –    Panel 5: Problems of Fluidity: Water in the Modern West

   ·      Burke Griggs [Stanford; University of Kansas]

·      Brad Udall [University of Colorado]

·      Ellen Hanak [PPIC]

        Moderator: Leon Szeptycki

3:30 –    Panel 6: Booms and Busts: Housing in the Golden State

   ·      Hugo Lefebvre [Stanford]

·      Destin Jenkins [Stanford, GS]

·      Larry Rosenthal [UC Berkeley]

        Moderator: Fred Stout

5:00 –    Concluding Thoughts


Interested attendees must register online for the conference

For Questions, please contact Todd Holmes

Todd Holmes (Organizer and Postdoctoral Scholar, Bill Lane Center for the American West)