Emma Cassabaum seeks convergence between crip/queer scholarship and rural life, and is actively seeking to facilitate it with her work and existence. In addition to being a scholar of contemporary American literature, she is a poet and playwright. Her creative work and her doctoral research is focused on moving beyond the current cultural configuring of rural spaces as wastelands antithetical to crip and queer lives and exploring the possibilities for ‘rural optimisms’ and their potential in a world of rural brain drain, geographical polarization, and more. Her own rural optimism is centered in a love for her Iowa home and in the rich seasoning of her cast iron. Her other interests include film and media studies, ecotheory, affect studies, and graphic texts.