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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.

Join ASA

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



Wilma Dykeman "Faces of Appalachia" Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship

The Wilma Dykeman “Faces of Appalachia” Post-doctoral Research Fellowship, which now provides $3,000 to support research related to gender, race, and/or ethnicity in Appalachia, is accepting proposals. The research will be conducted during the 2018-2019 academic year and presented at the 2019 conference at your own expense. Members of the Appalachian Studies Association who have earned a doctoral degree from an accredited institution within the past seven years are eligible to apply. The deadline for all materials is December 31, 2017. Click here to learn more about the fellowship, or contact Mary Thomas for further information at

Journal of Appalachian Studies Seeks Media Review Editor

The editorial staff and board of the Journal of Appalachian Studies are continuing to accept applications for the position of Media Review Editor. This is a service position, without compensation.

The Media Review Editor does not write submissions for the journal, but instead will be expected to coordinate with authors for reviews of films, sound recordings, museum exhibits, and non-book print media productions, and to organize the writing and editing of commissioned reviews for publication in the journal. Additionally, the editor will need to work collaboratively with other journal editors and should plan to submit four to five reviews per issue of the journal. Organizational skills, reliability, and the capacity to meet deadlines are important qualifications for this position. Journal production deadlines are December 15 and May 1 for the spring and fall issues of the journal, respectively.

Application materials should be sent to Christopher Leadingham, assistant editor, at [cc:] by October 23, 2017.

Applications must include: (1) a letter of interest outlining relevant experience and qualifications; (2) a curriculum vitae; and, (3) two letters of recommendation.

Deadline for proposals extended

For our 2018 conference to be held in Cincinnati, we are hoping to draw on the diverse voices and experiences of artists, youth, educators, researchers, workers and business owners, health care providers, and grass roots movers and shakers to share creative expression, important historical insights, useful data and studies, richly textured ideas, inventive plans, and workable solutions that will strengthen our connections and foster mutual support.

Get your proposals in to join us and share your voice! We have extended the deadline to October 16, 2017.

You can submit your proposals at:

2018 Call for Participation and Conference Submissions Portal

The 2018 Call for Participation is now available for the upcoming 41st Annual ASA Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 5 – 8, 2018 at the Millennium Hotel. The proposal submission form is now open and may be submitted via Marshall Digital Scholar. The deadline for proposals has been extended to October 16, 2017.

2018 Preliminary Call for Participation

The 2018 Preliminary Call for Particpation for the 41st Annual ASA Conference is now available.

2017 Preliminary Program

The preliminary program is now available for the upcoming 2017 conference in Blacksburg, Virginia, March 9-12, 2017. The schedule of sessions will be posted to this page soon. We will send a notification by email once it is available.

All conference presenters and attendees must register and pay the conference registration fee.

Georgia Mountain Story Telling Festival
Young Harris College
“Claim Your Voice”

The third annual Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival will be held on the campus of Young Harris College, March 31- April1, 2017. Advance tickets may be purchased through February 25, 2017. Please click here for additional details.

Brochure | Poster

Applications for the 2017 NEH Summer Institute for Teachers, Voices from the Misty Mountains, Now Being Accepted

The National Endowment for the Humanities and Shepherd University announce the application call for the 2017 NEH Summer Institute Voices from the Misty Mountains, Appalachian Writers and Mountain Culture. Any public school teacher or educator is invited to apply before the March 1, 2017 deadline. For application details, see the Misty Mountains website at Questions should be directed to Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt at

Ride/room sharing message board

Those attending the 40th annual Appalachian Studies Conference at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia can now visit the ride/room sharing message board to coordinate with others for carpooling or shared lodging.

Scholarship applications now being accepted

The ASA provides scholarships to those unable to attend the annual conference because of financial reasons. We truly love funding people. It is part of our mission. In the past we have been able to fund most of those who have requested a scholarship. Our funds are limited so we continue to prioritize our scholarships according to those with the most need. This year, we envision the same process.

The deadline to apply is February 9, 2017. For more information or to apply, fill out the 2017 Conference Scholarship Application Form.

Donations needed for 2017 Silent Auction

Tax-deductible donations are being coordinated for the Howard Dorgan Silent Auction to be held at the 2017 Appalachian Studies Association Conference in Blacksburg, VA. For more information, click here to view the flyer or e-mail

Proposals Now Being Accepted!

Proposals are now being accepted for the 2017 Appalachian Studies Conference. Proposals may be submitted online via Marshall Digital Scholar from August 22 through October 7, 2016 October 14, 2016. Late and incomplete proposals will not be considered. Submitters will be notified in November regarding the status of their submissions. All presenters must pay the registration fee. Please see the 2017 Call for Participation for additional details.

UK Special Collections Research Center announces digitized Appalachian Collection

The University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center successfully completed a NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources digitization grant, resulting in online access to 132 cubic feet from the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection.

The materials focus on 189 years of economic development in the Eastern Kentucky coalfield from 1788 to 1976. The ten individual collections document the search for, extraction of, and distribution of coal, oil, and natural gas resources in Breathitt, Boyd, Clark, Floyd, Harlan, Lawrence, Letcher, Perry, and Powell counties; the creation of railroads to bring these raw materials to industrial manufacturers and electrical power generators across the United States; and the company towns, their services, and the individual lives that grew up to sustain and make possible this economic development.

These collections include the Benham Coal Company records, Wheelwright collection, Sherrill Martin collection, Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company and Lexington and Eastern Railway Company records, and the Kentucky Union Land Company records. Additional details on the project and other Appalachian-related collections at UK SCRC can be found on the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection page.

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

Journal of Appalachian Studies Seeks Book Review Editor

The Journal of Appalachian Studies is now accepting applications for the position of Book Review Editor. The Book Review Editor will be expected to identify suitable reviewers for a wide range of recently published books in Appalachian studies, and to coordinate the writing and editing of commissioned reviews for publication in the journal.

The Journal of Appalachian Studies is published twice per year by the University of Illinois Press on behalf of the Appalachian Studies Association. Reviews for inclusion in the spring and fall issues of JAS are due to the assistant managing editor on December 15 and May 1, respectively. The review editor should plan to submit five reviews per issue of the journal.

The Book Review Editor will work collaboratively with other JAS editors to ensure that word count and content requirements are observed, and that deadlines are met. Qualified persons willing to serve in this position are encouraged to apply. Prior experience preferred. Applications should include a letter of interest outlining relevant experience and qualifications, a curriculum vitae, and two letters of recommendation.

Please send application materials to Christopher Leadingham, assistant managing editor, by mail to Appalachian Studies Association, Marshall University, One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755. Applications may also be submitted electronically to

Application materials must be postmarked by May 15, 2016.

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.

Shepherd hosting 39th annual Appalachian Studies Association conference March 18-20

Click here for the full story from Shepherd University about hosting its first ASA conference, or click here for the audio interview with conference chair Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt.

Ride/room sharing message board

A message board for organizing carpools and shared lodging for the ASA's upcoming 2016 conference can be found on the conference page.

NEH Summer Seminar for Teachers

Shepherd University’s Appalachian Studies Program will host the State’s second NEH Summer Seminar for Teachers, again partnering with the Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) to bring the public school teachers from across the country to the Eastern Panhandle to study Appalachian culture, literature, art and music, and enjoy the Contemporary American Theater Festival.

Guest artists will be featured in the seminar, among them novelist and playwright Silas House, poet and activist Frank X Walker, and storyteller and award-winning “liar” Adam Booth. Contemporary American Theater Director Ed Herendeen will also take part in the seminar, and participants will enjoy CATF theater tickets, special programs, workshops, and lectures that will bring the contemporary theatrical arts into the study of Appalachian literature and culture.

Performing Arts Director at Shepherd University Rachael Meads will host musical and cultural events for the seminar participants, and 2006 WV Professor of the Year Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt will serve as principal discussion leader and seminar director. Participants will study the literary art of Lee Smith, Denise Giardina, Fred Chappell, Ron Rash, and Nikki Giovanni, as well as the work of House and Walker.

In addition to theater and literary events on the Shepherd University campus, NEH Summer Seminar participants will have access to musical events and a “road trip” around the region to visit places discussed in the seminar.

Any public or private school teacher or graduate student considering public school teaching may apply for the seminar. Application information can be found at the Misty Mountains website at The deadline for application is March 1, 2016. Seminar participants and alternates will be notified in early April. Participants will be on the Shepherd campus from July 10 through 30, 2016, for the series of events and seminar discussions. For questions about the seminar, contact Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt at

Accommodations 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. Click here for additional accommodations and conference information.

2016 Conference Scholarship Applications

The ASA provides scholarships to those unable to attend the annual conference because of financial reasons. We truly love funding people. It is part of our mission. In the past we have been able to fund most of those who have requested a scholarship. Our funds are limited so we continue to prioritize our scholarships according to those with the most need. This year, we envision the same process.

The deadline is February 18, 2016.

Click here to go to the 2016 Conference Scholarship Application Form.

Conference Highlights

"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.

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.

2016 Conference Call for Participation

Click here to download the Call for Participation for the 39th Annual ASA Conference, to be held March 18-20 at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

New Gates-Carawan Artist Award

The Gates-Carawan Artist Award recognizes an individual for artistic potential or artistic contributions to Appalachia in the realms of visual, oral, musical, literary, or other arts. With this award, the ASA seeks to recognize and cultivate artists who are working in the spirit of the award's namesakes, independent filmmaker Bob Gates and activist musicians Guy and Candie Carawan—socially conscious artists who supported and encouraged the work of other regional artists.

The winner will receive a physical award produced by a regional artist and either a $500 stipend (for artistic contributions) or the guidance of a mentor (for artistic potential). Nominations may come from any ASA member. Nominators of a winning candidate with artistic potential will be strongly encouraged to develop a mentoring plan with the winning artist.

Nominations may come from any ASA member. Submission requirements are detailed on the awards page. Send nomination materials to Scott Goebel, Gates-Carawan Artist Award Selection Committee Chair,, by December 1.

Summer 2015 Y'ALL newsletter

Check out Y'ALL's Summer 2015 newsletter to find out about Y'ALL opportunities.

Updated 2015 ASA Handbook

View the updated ASA Handbook for 2015 as a PDF (2.7 MB) or Word document (953 KB).

Five area writers to be inducted into East TN Writers Hall of Fame

Friends of Literacy will induct five writers into the East TN Writers Hall of Fame on October 22nd, 2015. Friends of Literacy realizes how important authors’ contributions are to our culture and history, and for the 12th year, we wish to honor those who entertain, inspire, and inform us through the written word. This year’s inductees are Lifetime Achievement: Georgiana Vines, journalist with more than 50 years of experience, Fiction: Amy Greene, recipient of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, Non-fiction: Vince Staten author of 13 books- including three published by HarperCollins Books, Poetry: Jesse Graves, award winning Appalachian Poet, and Social Media: Alan Sims known as the Knoxville Urban Guy.

The event will take place on Thursday, October 22nd at 11:30 a.m. at the Lighthouse Knoxville. Tickets are $100 and include a three course lunch and time to meet one-on-one with the authors and get books signed. Tickets are available by calling 865-549-7007 or online at

One in 10 adults in Knox County lacks a GED or high school diploma and one in 12 adults are unable to read or write above a sixth grade level. Friends of Literacy supports the delivery of free high quality literacy and adult education classes in Knox County for adults who are inadequately educated for the challenges of daily life. Working in partnership with area adult education providers, our goal is to help provide free basic adult education classes so that our students become better workers, parents, and citizens. Funds raised at the event support this goal.

Amy Greene is author of the New York Times bestselling novel Bloodroot, named a “Must Read” by Entertainment Weekly and one of the Top 10 Novels of 2010 by Booklist, Kirkus Reviews and Amazon. Her second novel, Long Man, was named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and won the 2014 Willie Morris Award. Both novels were New York Times Editors’ Choice picks. In 2010 Greene won the Weatherford Award for Fiction from the Appalachian Studies Association, was a finalist for the Southern Book Award, and was named Tennessee Writer of the Year by the Tennessee Writers Alliance. Her articles and op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Glamour magazine and BookPage, among other publications.

Jesse Graves grew up in Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, about 40 miles north of Knoxville, in a community his ancestors settled in the 1780s. He is an Associate Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at East Tennessee State University, where he won the 2012 New Faculty Award from the College of Arts & Sciences. His first poetry collection, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, won the 2011 Weatherford Award in Poetry from Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association, as well as a Book of the Year Award from the Appalachian Writers’ Association. He was given the 2013 Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing. His second collection of poems, Basin Ghosts, also won the 2014 Weatherford Award in Poetry, making him the first poet to win the award more than one time. His poems have appeared in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, Connecticut Review, and in the Poem of the Week feature for Missouri Review. He is editor of several volumes of poetry and scholarship, including three volumes of The Southern Poetry Anthology (Contemporary Appalachia, Tennessee, and North Carolina), Jeff Daniel Marion: Poet on the Holston, and the forthcoming Complete Poems of James Agee (University of Tennessee Press, 2017). Graves was awarded the 2014 Philip H. Freund Prize for Creative Writing from Cornell University, and the 2015 James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South from the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

ASA members hit the airwaves

Check out this radio show featuring ASA members Chad Berry and Roger Guy discussing the Appalachian migration to Chicago on WBEZ 91.5!

Uptown's moment as a 'Hillbilly Heaven': Why tens of thousands of white Southern migrants made the North Side neighborhood home, only to leave a short time later.

New President-Elect

Debbie Zorn is the ASA President-Elect. Read more at the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition.

Remembering William Clark Lindley, Jr.

ASA Remembers William Clark Lindley, Jr. — written by Jordan L. Laney.

ASA Bylaw Changes

Changes to the ASA bylaws were approved by the membership at the annual ASA Membership Forum & Business Meeting on March 28, 2015, 11 – 12 p.m. in the D.P. Culp Center, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee. Please see pages 5-7 of the spring 2015 issue of Appalink for a detailed listing.

Call for Papers for a Journal of Appalachian Studies Forum On Economic Development in Appalachia

The Journal of Appalachian Studies announces a special two-year forum on sustainable economic development in Appalachia, starting with the journal’s Spring 2016 (Vol 22, No 1) issue and ending with the Fall 2017 (Vol 23, No 2) issue.

We invite the submission of manuscripts dealing with practices relevant to sustainable economic development in Appalachian communities. We will consider a wide-range of scholarship from a variety of disciplines and applied fields. Manuscripts focusing on economic development theory, empirical and/or applied research, or narrative essays on development issues will be welcome. We also seek research, which compares Appalachia to other regions in the world.

Scholars are encouraged to submit papers addressing, but not limited to, the following topics:

Tourism and developmentSocial capital, trust, politics, and development
InfrastructureBroadband and technology
Education, labor, capital, and developmentFunding community and economic development
EntrepreneurshipPlace-based development
Local food movementsDowntown development
Local currencyLand ownership
Environmental capital and sustainable developmentGender and development
Taxes and developmentThe creative class in Appalachia
Vision-buildingPublic participation methods
Health care and its effects on developmentGlobalization
The CommonsPrivatization and neoliberalism
Cooperatives, non-profits, employee-owned businessCredit, access to capital
Out- and in-migration and developmentSocial change, policy and movements

The deadline for manuscripts to be considered for publication for the Spring 2016 issue is July 1, 2015. The deadline for the Fall 2016 issue is February 1, 2016; the Spring 2017 deadline is July 1, 2016; and the Fall 2017 issue deadline is February 1, 2017.

Articles should be submitted electronically to the JAS online manuscript submission portal. This secure, personalized resource will allow you to track your manuscript through each step of the review and acceptance process. To get started, and view manuscript submission guidelines, visit the Journal's submissions page. Questions about the forum and/or the review process should be directed to the Journal’s Editor, Shaunna Scott, at or to the Forum’s Special Editor, Will Hatcher, at

JAS Announces New Book and Media Review Editors!

On behalf of the Journal of Appalachian Studies editorial board, I am pleased to announce that Chris Miller and Kathryn Santiago will be joining the editorial staff as Media Review and Book Review Editors, respectively.

Chris, our new Media Review Editor, is an Assistant Professor and Archivist at Radford University. He has Masters degrees in Information Resources and Library Science, Music, and Southeast Asian Studies, and has completed much of the doctoral level coursework required for a PhD in Media Arts and Sciences. He brings valuable editorial experience to JAS, having served as the managing editor of the Journal of Burma Studies. Chris' research program compares the performing arts in Southeast Asian and Appalachian mountain communities.

Kathryn also brings impressive editorial experience to her position as Book Review Editor, having served as an editorial assistant for Collaborative Anthropologies, an editor of an anthology entitled Constellations, and a copy editor and proofreader for a collection of essays entitled Hank Keeling: A Life in Art. Kathryn earned an MA in Humanities (focusing on Literary and Cultural Studies) and a post-baccalaureate certificate in Appalachian Studies. She is a West Virginia native and is a Graduate Admissions counselor at Marshall University.

Shaunna L. Scott, PhD
Editor, Journal of Appalachian Studies
(859) 257-6882

Radford University Petition

We have started a petition drive concerning the unannounced expulsion of Radford University's Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center, staff, and materials from their offices. Please help us ask Radford University President Penny Kyle and Provost Sam Minner to reinstate RU's Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center to proper facilities with accord. Please sign at

Remembering Dr. Howard C. Dorgan

Dr. C. Howard Dorgan passed away Thursday, July 5 in his home in Boone, North Carolina.

Born in Ruston, Louisiana, Dr. Dorgan received a in speech and theater (the University of Texas-El Paso), a in theater (the University of Texas-Austin), and a Ph.D. in speech communication (Louisiana State University). He joined the Appalachian State University (ASU) faculty in 1971, remaining with the Department of Communication until his retirement in 2000.

During his time at ASU, he studied Southern rhetoric, later pursuing research in Appalachian religious studies. A prolific writer and esteemed scholar, Dr. Dorgan authored fifty journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries. His thoughtful writings about Central Appalachian Baptist communities resulted in numerous books and awards, including the 1993 Thomas Wolfe Literary Award for his book "Airwaves of Zion." A beloved teacher and respected faculty member, he received the 1993 College of Fine and Applied Arts Outstanding Faculty Award.

Dr. Dorgan also served as president of Appalachian Studies Association, president of Southern States Communication Association, and editor of "Southern Communication Journal."

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, retired teacher, and his children, Shawn and Kelly.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to:

Appalachian Studies Association

c/o Mary Thomas

Appalachian Studies Association

One John Marshall Dr.

Huntington, West Virginia 25755

**On memo line please write: For Howard Dorgan Silent Auction Scholarship Fund