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Hillbillies, craftsmen, heroes, villains reveal Ozarks’ history

Free online course, Ozarks History: Examining an American Culture, begins Sept. 8
Tuesday, August 5, 2014

ozarksIn 2010, “Winter’s Bone” turned attention to one slice of Ozarks life – a gritty, rural subculture infested with methamphetamines. According to Dr. Brooks Blevins, professor of Ozarks studies at Missouri State University, the Ozarks has much more to be famous for within its unique and diverse history. He will begin a free online course entitled Ozarks History: Examining an American Culture Sept. 8.

“For the Ozarks, the most common stereotypes suggest a land out-of-step with modern America, which can mean either a bucolic rural area unspoiled by modernity or a backwoods, perhaps even a dangerous one, inhabited by hillbillies,” said Blevins.

Depending on your perspective, Blevins said the Ozarks has been acclaimed or maligned in pop culture for decades. For example, the Ozarks are sometimes identified by institutions like Silver Dollar City and the Ozark Folk Center, both which celebrate crafts, skills and music of the Ozarks’ history.

“In pop culture, ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ celebrated – or denigrated, again, depending on your perspective – the home region of the Clampetts in the 1960s and 1970s,” he said.

Ozarks History: Examining an American Culture will explore topics like geography, history, music, literature and religion, and should also answer questions like:

  • What are the Ozarks?
  • Where are the Ozarks?
  • Who are the Ozarkers?
  • Why does it matter?
  • Is the region unique? Why or why not?

How does a MOOC work?

  • Enroll
  • Anyone can register – you don’t need to be a registered Missouri State student
  • Course is offered free of charge to anyone interested
  • Course content is available online
  • No course credit is offered for completion
  • Participants can enroll in the course at any point during the 10 weeks

This is Missouri State’s first semester offering MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) – a recent trend in higher education. The other course offered this fall is Laura Ingalls Wilder: Exploring her Work and Writing Life – The Early Years beginning Sept. 22.

To learn more about MSU’s Ozarks studies program, contact Blevins at brblevins@missouristate.edu or (417) 836-5914.

For more information on MOOCs, contact Lacey Geiger, open-course coordinator, at (417) 836-8803 or LaceyGeiger@missouristate.edu.

“Hot Topic – Expert Source” releases are a tool the office of university communications provides to assist media in locating a university source to comment on a particular subject or issue. The opinions expressed by the expert are those of a specific individual and are not necessarily representative of the views of the university.

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