Make plans to attend the annual George M. Beal Distinguished Lectureship in Rural Sociology on Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Sun Room. This year’s invited speaker is John Major Eason, associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Eason will present, “In Our Backyards: How the Prison Boom Transformed Rural America.”
Eason’s research addresses theories about community, health, race and punishment through a rural-versus-urban lens. He also has written “Big House on the Prairie: Rise of the Rural Ghetto and Prison Proliferation,” which looks at why America is building so many prisons in rural areas and the impact those facilities have on economic development, poverty and race. Prior to joining academia, Eason was a church-based community organizer focused on house and criminal justice issues.
Eason holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago and an MPP from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
The George M. Beal Distinguished Lectureship in Rural Sociology was created in 2014 to celebrate and honor the life of George M. Beal, emeritus professor and former chair of the Department of Sociology. Beal devoted his career to addressing significant issues and trends impacting rural communities and people. He served as president of the Rural Sociological Society, and in 1982, he received their Award for Distinguished Rural Sociologist. The intent of the lectureship is two-fold: to recognize and honor the life-long contributions of Professor George M. Beal to the creation and prominence of the Iowa State’s Department of Sociology, and to extend his legacy by enhancing teaching, research and extension programs in rural sociology at Iowa State University.