Rust Belt Humanities Lab

Co-creating Regional Humanities Ecosystems

“I once bristled at the term ‘Rust Belt,’ corroded as it is with condescension toward this region, upon whose industries and industry other regions were built. I now find myself drawn to the phrase, as one’s fingertips are drawn to a scar. In the midst of the present, we are marked by the past. We bear it everywhere we go. But mostly, we bear it here at home.”

Dave Lucas, Ohio Poet Laureate 2018-19; Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology (Belt Publishing, 2014)

“If we want to solve the problems plaguing this country, Cleveland is the place to start. We are facing the greatest challenges with a tenacity worthy of our Rust Belt history. This is the lab. But we have to look outward from the debate stage, to those on the margins. The promise of our city — and of the country writ large — lies with those who thrive here in the face of generations of racism, discrimination, and inequality. The truth is, we have been center stage all along.”

Chinenye Nkemere and Bethany Studenic, founders of Enlightened Solutions

Rust Belt States Connecticut Delaware Illinois Indiana Iowa Kentucky Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Missouri New Hampshire New Jersey New York Ohio Pennsylvania Rhode Island Vermont Virginia West Virginia Wisconsin District of Columbia District of Columbia
SURVEY: Which states contain the Rust Belt?

Featured Community Partners

Reading, Writing, and Teaching the Rust Belt

A two-week residential institute for higher education faculty members to engage in cross-disciplinary study of the Rust Belt that took place June 4 - 18 at Ursuline College

The Rust Belt Institute has been made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this Web resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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