Jane Adams presented this lecture at the opening of D. Gorton's exhibit at the Southern Illinois University Museum, January-March 2001. The exhibit and lecture were supported by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council.
The Lecture: Jane Adams
Professor, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

The photographs in this exhibit show a rural landscape that most rural Illinoisans know. From where I live in Carbondale, driving Rte. 127 and I-64 to St. Louis, or I-57 to Urbana and Chicago, one sees, interspersed between small towns, the Illinois farmland. Those deeply familiar with these routes have observed, over the years, the gradual elimination of structures from the landscape: one by one the old hand-crafted barns decay.

Homesteads show signs of being abandoned, and you notice, perhaps, that a once-familiar landmark is gone. A soybean or cornfield grows where, you believe, the old house, barn, and sheds so recently stood. Only you can’t be sure: The traces of the old farmstead would only be visible, if at all, from overhead, where telltale shades of green might betray its ghostly remnant. Or a storage shed remains, because it is still useful.

Jane Adams at an abandoned farmstead in the Mississippi Delta, summer 2001
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D. Gorton's Home Page
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Memory and Judgment: Mississippi
The White South
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