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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


39th Annual Appalachian Studies Conference

Voices from the Misty Mountains: Diversity and Unity, a New Appalachia

Inside Appalachia at ASA's 39th annual conference

The Appalachian Studies Conference at Shepherd University began with a day of panel discussions, readings, and a keynote talk by Affrilachian poet, Frank X Walker. Walker is the author of four poetry collections and is a 2005 recipient of the Lannan Literary Fellowship in Poetry, Walker serves as Writer in Residence and lecturer of English at Northern Kentucky University and is the editor and publisher of PLUCK!, the new Journal of Affrilachian Art & Culture.

Cherokee storyteller Lloyd Arneach spoke at the 2016 Appalachian Studies Association Conference at Shepherd University. The performance was hosted by storyteller Adam Booth.

--Inside Appalachia
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

ASA Conference Rates

Individual ASA Conference Registration$150.00
($175 after March 2)
Student ASA Conference Registration$100.00
($125 after March 2)

March 18-20, 2016
Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, West Virginia


Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, Conference Chair and Local Arrangements Chair
304.876.3119 or 304.876.5207

Rachael Meads, Program Chair

We invite participation in the 39th annual Appalachian Studies Conference organized by the Appalachian Studies Association. This year’s theme is “Voices from the Misty Mountains: Diversity and Unity, a New Appalachia.” We especially invite presentations that focus on the changing face of the region; the diverse groups that constitute who we are; the educational and community institutions that either accommodate or react to the changes that challenge us and call for our best selves; and the grass-roots efforts to protect the very mountains that are the principal source of our commonality and identity.

Formats might include: individual scholarly research papers and sessions; formed sessions; poster sessions presenting scholarly research OR documenting community work; panels and community presentations; performance or sharing of films, documentaries, videos, poetry, music, plays, art, and writing; roundtable conversations on contemporary issues, e.g. activism in the region; professional development, or a newcomer’s orientation to Appalachian studies.

The 2016 Call for Participation is now available. Proposals may be submitted via Marshall Digital Scholar beginning September 1 through October 15, 2015.

CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS: Tours/Jam Session/Recreational Activities/Research Activities/Square Dance

Voices from the Misty Mountains
Showcase Concert

The Performing Arts Series at Shepherd University and the ASA are proud to showcase the rich diversity of the region through an evening of dance, music, and storytelling. Hosted by award-winning liar and storyteller Adam Booth, the concert will feature Good Foot Dance Company; Cherokee storyteller Lloyd Arneach; and contemporary honky-tonk band Blue Yonder, featuring award-winning songwriter John Lilly, steel guitarist Russ Hicks, bassist Will Carter, and Jupiter Little.

This event is sponsored by the Performing Arts Series at Shepherd University (PASS) in partnership with the Appalachian Studies Association. It is made possible with the financial support of the West Virginia Humanities Council and the Shepherd University Foundation.

Concert Tickets are available now at the Shepherd University Bookstore by calling 304-876-5219 or online at $15 general admission; $10 ASA conference registrants/Shepherd staff/senior citizens; $5 kids under 18. Free for Shepherd students with valid Rambler ID.

For more information, contact Rachael Meads at; Saturday, March 19, 8:00 p.m.; Frank Center Theater, West Campus Drive.


Please note: Some tours require reservations (*). To make reservations, please contact Sylvia Shurbutt at

Shepherdstown Self-guided Tour; for more information see; maps are available at Shepherdstown Visitor’s Center, 129 E. German Street; March 17-20, 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

*Storer College Tour, Harpers Ferry; departure from Erma Ora Byrd Hall steps; reservations required, contact; for more information go to their website; Thursday, March 17, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Shepherdstown Historic Walking Tour with Jim Surkamp; departure from Shepherdstown Visitor’s Center; for more information about Shepherdstown go to; Friday, March 18, 9:00 a.m.-10 a.m.

*Guided Tour of Antietam Battlefield, with James Broomall, Civil War Institute Director, German Street, departure from Erma Ora Byrd steps; reservations required, contact to make reservation; for more information go to their website; March 18, 9:00 a.m.-noon

Shepherdstown Mysteries Walk, departure from front steps of McMurran Hall, ($10/person); for more information go to; Friday, March 18, 9:00 p.m.

*Historic Martinsburg Civil War & Round House Trolley Tour, with Cecilia Mason; departure from Erma Ora Byrd Hall steps; reservations required, contact Sylvia Shurbutt at; Saturday, March 19, 9:00 a.m.-Noon

Little House Open for Tours, Princess Street, between High Street and German Street; visit their website for more information; Saturday, March 19, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Recreational Opportunity

Biking on the C&O Canal; for more information go to; located across the Potomac Bridge; March 17-20, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Research Opportunities

George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, research facilities available; for more information visit; 136 W. German Street; March 17-19, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies (CLS), research facilities available; for more information see; 213 N. King Street; March 17-19, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Social Activities

Celtic/Appalachian Music Jam Session at O’Hurley’s General Store; for more information go to; 205 E. Washington Street; Thursday, March 17, 7:00 p.m.

Old Time Appalachian Square Dance; Town Run Brewing Company, 202 E. Washington St., Friday, March 18, 9:00 p.m.

A Conversation with Photographer Builder Levy

Click here to listen to an interview with Builder Levy, which originally aired on Inside Appalachia, West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

A selection of Builder Levy’s work will be exhibited at the upcoming conference in Shepherdstown.

Special Plenary Sessions

"Voices from the Misty Mountains: Diversity and Unity, A New Appalachia." That is the theme of the Thirty-Ninth Annual Appalachian Studies Conference, March 18-20, 2016. The conference will be held high above the banks of the Potomac River in Shepherdstown, West Virginia on the campus of Shepherd University. Nestled but a stone’s throw from Antietam Battlefield, Harpers Ferry, Storer College, historic Martinsburg, and more, Shepherdstown is poised to offer attendees a unique experience that builds upon not only the cultural and historic richness of the area, but that of the Appalachian region itself. The Appalachian Studies Association prides itself on the inclusiveness and interdisciplinary content of its conferences and the 2016 theme allows for an in-depth look at the most pressing problems that face the region—issues that both unite and divide us.

Frank X Walker will deliver the conference keynote address on Friday, March 18 in the Shepherd University Frank Center Theater. Walker, a native Kentuckian and graduate of the University of Kentucky, holds an MFA in writing from Spalding University and was named Poet Laureate of Kentucky in 2013—the youngest and first African American to hold the position. Walker cofounded Message Theater and the Affrilachian Poets and was named one of "the most creative teachers in the South" by the Oxford American: The Southern Magazine of Good Writing. His creation of the word “Affrilachia” is included in the Oxford American Dictionary. Walker has lectured, conducted workshops, and read poetry at over 400 national conferences and universities across the globe. Walker’s keynote address, entitled “Escape from Negro Mountain: Writing History, Righting Wrongs,” will utilize stories and literature to shed light on the diversity of Appalachia. Frank X Walker will participate in a number of conference events in addition to the keynote. Special Plenary VII will feature Walker and the Affrilachian Poets in “Affrilachian Voices: A Reading by Affrilachian Poets.” Poets participating in the event alongside Walker include Kelly Norman Ellis, Ricardo Nazario y Colon, Bianca Spriggs, and others. The plenary session is free and open to the public and will take place Saturday in Shepherd University’s Erma Ora Byrd Hall.

Other special plenaries will feature the Cherokee voice of Lloyd Arneach, who will open the conference with a traditional Cherokee blessing and share stories from Appalachia’s indigenous peoples; the storytelling voice of West Virginia’s Adam Booth; reflections on folklore from John Lilly, former editor of Goldenseal magazine; the extraordinary vision of photographer Builder Levy; and finally the cultural and multicultural ethnographic intersections of Appalachian clogging and African-American dance as explored by dance scholars Matthew Olwell, Becky Hill, and Emily Oleson.

Please see the preliminary conference schedule in early 2016 for a full listing of events.

Preliminary Program

The preliminary program is now available for the upcoming 2016 conference in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, March 17-20, 2016. Please check your session(s) to see when you are scheduled to present. All conference presenters and attendees must register and pay the conference registration fee.

PDF (5.4M)

Final Program Addendum

Please see the final changes to the Appalachian Studies Conference program here. These are changes that were made too late to be included in the final, printed program. You will be able to pick that up at registration in Scarborough Library. Please note that the addendum you receive on site will include locations.

PDF (919K)

Ride/room sharing

To coordinate with others for sharing rides and lodging for the upcoming conference, click here to visit our message board.

2016 Conference Registration

Conference registration is handled by the University of Illinois Press. Please visit: to register for the 2016 conference. You may also pay by check by completing the registration form and mailing along with payment to:
        Journals Division
        University of Illinois Press
        1325 South Oak Street
        Champaign, IL 61820
Please make checks payable to the Appalachian Studies Association. Do not email credit card orders.

Exhibitors, Advertisers, and Sponsors

To exhibit, advertise, or help sponsor a break or reception please use this form.


Update: there are plenty of rooms available at the Clarion Hotel. If guests are calling and asking for availability and are told there is none, that is because the rooms are reserved in a group block and the computer shows there are no rooms available. So please ask for the Appalachian Studies Assoc. room block, otherwise you will be turned away.

In order to receive the ASA Conference rate, please use the phone numbers below.
Clarion Hotel
Rate: $89.00 | Phone: (304) 876-7000 | Fax: (304) 876-7001
233 Lowe Drive, Shepherdstown, WV 25443 | Located within .25 miles of campus. Request ASA Conference rates.
Quality Inn
Rate: $84.00 | Phone: (304) 876-3160 | Fax: (304) 876-3161
70 Maddex Square Drive, Shepherdstown, WV 25443 | Located adjacent to campus. Request ASA Conference rates.
Bavarian Inn
Rate: $99.00 - 119.00 | Phone: (304) 876-2551
164 Shepherd Grade Road, Shepherdstown, WV 25443 | Located adjacent to campus. Request ASA Conference rates.
Thomas Shepherd Inn
Rate: $130.00 | Phone: (304) 876-3715
300 North German Street, Shepherdstown, WV 25443 | Located one block from campus. Request ASA Conference rates.
Comfort Suites of Martinsburg
Rate: $85.00 | Phone: (304) 263-8888
1937 Short Road, Kearneysville, WV 25402 | Located 7 miles from campus. Request ASA Conference rates.
Holiday Inn
Rate: $114.00 | Phone: (304) 267-5500
301 Foxcroft Ave., Martinsburg, WV 25401 | Located 11 miles from Shepherd University.
Hampton Inn
Rate: $119.00 | Phone: (304) 267-2900
975 Foxcroft Ave., Martinsburg, WV 25401 | Located 12 miles from Shepherd University.
Comfort Inn
Rate: $89.00 | Phone: (304) 263-6200
1872 Edwin Miller Blvd, Martinsburg, WV 25404 | Located 10 miles from Shepherd University.

For other hotel reservations dial 1-800-CALL-WVA or see; For information about West Virginia, go to; For information about lodging see; For information about Shepherdstown and Jefferson County, click here.

2016 Call for Participation

PDF (784K)

Proposal Submission Form

Proposals may be submitted via Marshall Digital Scholar beginning September 1 through October 15, 2015. Individuals named in accepted proposals are not automatically registered for the conference. ALL conference attendees must register and pay the conference registration fee prior to attending the conference.

Past Conferences

2015 – Johnson City, Tennessee
East Tennessee State University
March 27-29
Many Mountains, Many Musics

2014 – Huntington, West Virginia
Marshall University
March 28-30
New Appalachia: Known Realities and Imagined Possibilities

2013 – Boone, North Carolina
Appalachian State University
March 22-24
Communities in Action, Landscapes in Change

2012 – Indiana, Pennsylvania
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
March 23-25
The Wide Reach of Appalachia

Other past conferences