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Julie N. Zimmerman


Ph.D. Cornell University


My Research has both an academic and an applied focus.  An important aspect of my research has been on early rural sociology and its relationship to American sociology and in the USDA.  My current research is focused on the Hidden History of Race, Racism and Social Justice in Rural Sociology. 

My most recent book, A Century of Scholarship and Service: 100 Years of Rural and Development Sociology at Cornell, delved into the history of the first department of rural sociology in the US.  My historical interests also focus on how knowledge is socially constructed and historically situated.  My book, Opening Windows onto Hidden Lives (with co-author Olaf Larson) explores the unexpected inclusion of rural and farm women in research conducted by the USDA's Division of Farm Population and Rural Life (1919-1953).  Other projects include the book chapter "I Could Tell Stories 'til the Cows come Home: Individual Biography meets Collective Biography" in Johannes Hans Bakker (ed) Rural Sociologists at Work.

 In addition to academic research, I conduct research with an applied emphasis.  Most recently, I have been completing the 2018 Rural Price Project which is a restudy of the 2006 Rural Price Project (w/ Dr. Karen Rignall).  This research examines if it really does cost less to live in a rural area and will soon be published in the journal Rural Sociology.

The applied side of my work includes working with Cooperative Extension where I focus on publicly available secondary data, data literacy, and enhancing skills in using data for local decision making.  My Extension program, Kentucky: By The Numbers includes resources for accessing and using online secondary data, web access to resources and commonly used data, skill based training, and custom data analyses/direct assistance.  Multi-source data profiles for each of Kentucky's 120 counties include a multipart data series on race and ethnicity across Kentucky, groups at risk for severe illness from COVID-19, county profiles for the Extension Statewide Community Assessment, and Eastern Kentucky: By The Numbers for the UK Appalachian Center.


Selected Books:

Zimmerman, Julie N. 2020. A Century of Scholarship and Service: 100 Years of Rural and Development Sociology at Cornell. Internet First University Press. Ithaca, NY.

Zimmerman, Julie N. and Olaf F. Larson. 2010. Opening Hidden Windows onto Hidden Lives: Women, Country Life, and Early Rural Sociological Research. Rural Sociological Society Rural Studies Series. Penn State University Press. Nominated for Distinguished Scholarly Publication, History of Sociology Section, American Sociological Association.

Selected Chapters:

Zimmerman, Julie N. 2015. "I Could Tell Stories 'til the Cows Come Home: Individual Biography meets Collective Biography." in J. I. (Hans) Bakker (ed.) Rural Sociologists at Work: Candid Accounts of Theory, Methods, and Practice. Routledge.

Selected Articles:

Julia M. Miller*, Julie N. Zimmerman, Kathryn Engle, and Cameron McAlister*. 2022. “Meals in Mountains: Examining Longitudinal Changes in Rural/Urban Food Prices.” Journal of Appalachian Studies. 28(2):166-187

Zimmerman, Julie N. 2013. "An Unexpected Legacy: Women, Early Rural Sociological Research, and the Limits of Linearity." Journal of Rural Social Sciences 28(3):32-59.

Zimmerman, Julie N. 2010. "Mediated Knowledge: Re-Examining Six Classic Community Studies from a Woman's Point of View." Rural Sociology 76(2):141-166.

Zimmerman, Julie N. 2008. "Voices from the Past, Lessons for the Future: Learning from the History of Sociology in Government." Equal Opportunities International (Now: Equality Diversity and Inclusion - An International Journal) 27(2):132-147.


Selected Recent Presentations: (*=Graduate Student)

Zimmerman, Julie N. 2022. ““Rural Sociology’s Hidden History of Race, Racism, and Social Justice.” 3-poster Display. Professional Agricultural Workers Conference (PAWC). Montgomery, AL.

Zimmerman, Julie N. 2022. “Secrets of the Dead: The Hidden History of Race/Ethnicity and Racism in Rural Sociology’s Past.” (President’s Choice Paper award). Rural Sociological Society Annual Conference. Westminster, CO.

Vick, KC* and Julie N. Zimmerman. 2022. “Catching up with Past: Rural Sociology and Rural Health.” Rural Sociological Society Annual Conference. Westminster, CO.

Vance-Berg, Leah and Julie N. Zimmerman. 2022. “Lived Experiences of Rural First-Generation Graduate Students.” Rural Sociological Society Annual Conference. Westminster, CO.

Hickman, Caleb M.*, Zimmerman, Julie N., Vincent, Stacy K. 2022. “Metronormativity: A philosophical understanding of the masking of rural LGBTQ agriculture teachers’ lived experiences.” [Poster presentation]. National American Association for Agricultural Education. Oklahoma City, OK.

Zimmerman, Julie N. 2015. “Development (Rural) Sociology: 100 Years of Scholarship at Cornell.” Opening Keynote for Centennial Celebration. Cornell University. Ithaca, NY. 25 September 2015.

Zimmerman, Julie N. 2008. “Neuter or Nurture: Rural Sociology’s Engagement with Public Sociology.”  Presidential Thematic Session.  2008 Rural Sociological Society Annual Meeting.  Manchester, NH. July, 2008.

Selected Extension Presentations:

“Finding and Understanding Data for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” DEI Certificate for Extension Agents. Cooperative Extension.  University of Kentucky. October 29, 2021

“Race and Ethnicity Across Kentucky: Trends, Patterns, and Changes Over Time.” Webinar to accompany release of special issue of Kentucky: By The Numbers. Kentucky Cooperative Extension. March 2, 2021.

“COVID-19 Groups at Risk for Serious Illness: A Look at Kentucky.” Webinar. Kentucky Cooperative Extension. May 6, 2020.

“Finding and Navigating Census Tract Data.” National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL), Southern Region. January 15, 2021.

“Limited English Proficiency Households and Populations in Kentucky.” New Agent Training.  Presented with Nancy Calix. Kentucky Cooperative Extension. Jan 21, 2020.

“Evaluation and Data.”  4H Youth Development Institute. Kentucky Cooperative Extension. Clark County Extension Office. May 10-11, 2018.

“Who Gets What and Where -- What Does Inequality Mean for Extension?” District 7 Extension Leadership Forum. October 24, 2017.

Selected Classroom Presentations:

“Lag Behind or Left Behind: Rural America in the 21st Century.” AFE 100 Issues in Agriculture, Food and Environment.

“It’s More Than Just Finding Numbers.” CLD 260 Community Portraits.

“The Sociologist Perspective: Sustainable Rural Livelihoods and Social Equity.” DHN 605. Food Systems and Society.

“Finding and Using Publicly Available Secondary Data in Program Development and Evaluation.” CLD 665 Program Development and Evaluation.  

“Research Secrets and Secondary Data.” CLD 686 Research Design.

“Demographics of Students in Kentucky.” AED 583 Curriculum Design and Assessment. 

Applied and Public Sociology

The Appalachian Voice. "High Stakes for Appalachia in the 2020 Census."

NPR. "Women's Work Is Never Done On The Farm, And Sometimes Never Counted"

Kentucky Standard. " ‘Silver tsunami’ predicted to hit Nelson in 2030."

Kentucky New Era. "Survey takers say jobs, effective law enforcement are important."