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The Appalachian Studies Association was formed in 1977 by a group of scholars, teachers, and regional activists who believed that shared community has been and will continue to be important to those writing, researching, and teaching about Appalachia.

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The ASA is headquartered at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Mary Thomas, Executive Director, can be reached via email at

Telephone: (304) 696-2904
Fax: (304) 696-6221
Mailing Address:
    Appalachian Studies Association
    One John Marshall Drive
    Huntington, WV 25755

41st ASA Annual Conference

Re-stitching the Seams: Appalachia Beyond Its Borders

April 5-8, 2018

Millennium Hotel,
Cincinnati, Ohio

Learn more


ASA Timeline

1976: Founding Meeting of Appalachian Studies Conference

1977: Agenda Committee Established. Conf. Chair: Richard Drake

1978: ASC Ad-Hoc Committee on Research and Public Policy Formed. ASC Newsletter Begins Publication with Sharon Lord as Editor. 1st Appalachian Studies Conference. Conf. Chair: Sharon Lord

1979: Newsletter named “Appalink.” Anne Campbell becomes Editor of Appalink. Conf. Chair: Joan Moser

1980: Membership Secretary added to ASC Agenda Committee. Conf. Chair: John Stephenson

1981: James M. Gifford becomes Editor of Appalink. Conf. Chair: Pat Beaver

1983: Chairperson Charlotte Ross warns against “the widening chasm between ‘action folk’ and the ‘creative folk’ ” [academics] in ASA. Conf. Chair: Charlotte Ross

1984: Richard Blaustein becomes Editor of Appalink. Appalink is published at ETSU. Student Paper Award Established (later named for Carl A. Ross) Conf. Chair: Richard Drake

1985: Agenda Committee changed to Steering Committee. Conf. Chair: Ron Eller

1986: ASC becomes Appalachian Studies Association. ASC Scholarship Fund Started. Chairperson Ronald Eller’s address the conference indicates his concern that ASC is “becoming too much like a professional academic gathering.” Ron Eller appoints Bylaws Revision Committee. Position of VP changed to VP/ President Elect. Conf. Chair: Jean Haskell Speer

1987: Some members withhold conference fees because it has become too “posh” (meals and entertainment are included in fees.) ASC name changed to “Appalachian Studies Association;” Position of Chair changed to President. Carl Ross becomes Editor of Appalink and the newsletter is published at ASU. President: Grace Toney Edwards.

1988: Youth Conference Begins. President: Loyal Jones

1989: Proceedings of the Appalachian Studies Association becomes the Journal of the Appalachian Studies Association (JASA) to encourage library subscriptions. Sallie Miller Weaver finishes Carl Ross’s term as Appalink Editor after his death. President: Doyle Bickers

1990: Last year Appalachian Consortium co-sponsors Appalachian Studies Conference. Long Term Planning Committee formed to examine the need for a home office and executive secretary. President: Wilburn Hayden

1991: Long Range Planning Committee Issues Report. Budget Committee Established. John Inscoe becomes Editor of Appalink. President: Roberta Herrin

1992: Bylaws Revision Committee Established. President: Rebecca Hancock

1993: Cratis D. Williams Service Award Instituted. Sandra Ballard becomes Editor of Appalink. President: Alice Brown

1994: ASA Office Established at WVU’s Regional Research Institute with Ron Lewis, Susan Lewis, and Deborah Weiner as staff. Journal of the Appalachian Studies Association (JASA) becomes the Journal of Appalachian Studies (JAS) ASA gains non-profit status with IRS. Danny Miller becomes Editor of Appalink. President: Ron Lewis

1995: ASA applies for and receives $10,000 ARC Grant to help with conference costs. Youth Conference Ended. President: John Inscoe

1996: ASA receives Rockefeller Foundation Grant. President: Dwight Billings.

1997: Last series of panels and presentations for secondary teachers and high school students held at conference. Cratis D. Williams Service award becomes Cratis D. Williams/James S. Brown Service Award. President: Howard Dorgan

About ASA
Steering Committee/Officers
ASA History

1998: Silent Auction Established to raise money for conference scholarships (later named for Howard Dorgan) President: Steve Fisher

1999: Website Committee Formalized in Bylaws. Mountaintop Removal Resolution. ASA receives second Rockefeller Foundation grant. William Klaus becomes Editor of Appalink. James B. Lloyd

2000: ASA replaces the Hutchins Library as joint-sponsor (with Berea College) for the Weatherford Awards (originally begun in 1970). Graduate Students Logan Brown, Theresa Burchett-Anderson, Donovan Cain, and Jinny Turman Deal, and Professor Howard Dorgan begin work on “Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going? A History of the Appalachian Studies Association.” President: Sally Ward Maggard

2001: ASA Office Moves to Marshall University with full-time office manager, Mary K. Thomas. Helen M. Lewis Community Service Award and e-Appalachia Awards Established. ASA Website Updated with new design and resources. ASA is awarded a grant from the National Humanities Council. President: Helen M. Lewis

2002: Linda Spatig becomes Editor of Appalink. President: Gordon McKinney.

2003: Former President Gordon McKinney writes Letter of Protest to CBS Executive Leslie Moonves. President: Thomas Plaut

2004: Mary Jo Graham becomes Editor of Appalink. President: Melinda B. Wagner

2005: Scholarship Committee Formalized in Bylaws. Media Arts Award Instituted (Later named ‘Jack Spadaro Documentary Award’) President: Phil Obermiller

2006: Finance Committee Formalized in Bylaws. JAS becomes available online through academic databases. First Conference held in Ohio. Mary K. Thomas becomes ASA Executive Director. President Chad Berry appoints a Long Range Planning Committee. President: Chad Berry
2007: Work begins on new website. President: Shaunna Scott

2008: ASA Endowment Campaign Begins. Radford University Resolution. Long Range Plan Report Instituted. Wilma Dykeman “Faces of Appalachia” Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship Instituted. Kevin Barksdale becomes Editor of Appalink. President: Carol Baugh

2009: Memorandum for Partnership between ASA and ARC signed. ASA passes KCTCS Resolution. Mary Jo Graham becomes Editor of Appalink. Ted Olson becomes JAS Editor. President: Alice Sampson

2010: Education Committee Established. Conference Greening Initiatives Begin. Separate Category for Poetry added to Weatherford Awards (Named for Grace Toney Edwards). President: Alan Banks

2011: ASA Website Updated with new design, content, and resources. Green “Appal” Campaign begins. ASA passes Don West Homeplace Letter of Support. Eryn Roles becomes Editor of Appalink. President: Katherine Ledford


“ASA Organizational Highlights” compiled for the LPRC by Carol Baugh, Ashley Cochrane, and Phil Obermiller and “Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going? A History of the Appalachian Studies Association” by Brown et. al.

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