Course name: Appalachian Women*
Department, course #, level: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Soc 492, undergraduate
Semester(s) and year(s) taught (without significant variation): 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998
Institution: Radford University
Instructor(s): Nelda Pearson
Dpt. of Sociology and Anthropology
Box 6948, Radford University
Radford, VA 24142
(540) 831-5159

Appalachian Women

Soc 492

Dr Nelda Pearson
TTh 5:00-6:15
RUCC Office - Young 226, 831-5159
Office hours:
TTH 1:30-3:00
W 3-4 PM

Required Reading for the Course:

The Tall Woman Wilma Dykeman
Storming Heaven Denise Giardina
The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter Sharon McCrumb
Picking Up the Pieces Highlander Educational and Research Cente
The Bean Trees Barbara Kingsolver
It Comes From the People Hinsdale ,Lewis and Waller

Requirements for the Class and Reading Assignments:

Exam I Topic:Economic History

The impact of external development on mountain economy; issues of class
The Tall Woman
Storming Heaven
Exam date: February 22 100 pts.

Exam II Topic: Women's Lives

Roles women have played in mountain society ; stereotypes and realities
The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
Picking Up the Pieces
The Bean Trees
Exam date: March 25 100 pts.

Final Topic: Women and Community Development

The central role women have played in empowering themselves and others and transsforming their communities
It Comes from the People
Exam date: 5:30 April 23 100 pts

Inclass presentations of reading (TBA) 100 pts

Two weekend community development work 200 pts

projects with Maxine Waller in Ivanhoe

journal and reflection paper (see below)

Total 600 points


The class is run on a point system. If the class needs to have a curve made for it the curve will be made after all points are earned. If you wish to guarantee a grade please consult the following chart. If a curve is necessary it can only help you.

F=359 and below

There is no attendance policy for the class. Data shows that attendance has a strong positive correlation with a higher grade. Secondly, the readings for the class should be done well in advance of the exam. Trying to read the material the night before the exam simply does not work. My advice is to come to class and keep up with your reading.


Community Development Project

Maxine Waller is the founder of both the Ivanhoe Civic League and Volunteers for Communities. She is also one of the co-author's of It comes from the People. We are going to spend two weekends with her talking about her work, talking about her views on the book, and quilting a quilt to be raffled as a fund raiser at Jubilee, Ivanhoe’s Fourth of July celebration and hoemcoming. The quilt top was pieced by the 1991 and 1993 Appalachian Women's classes here at Radford University. This project has been an ongoing project linking women in the class together much like women in Appalachia are linked to each other, their community, and the land . Before we go we will be discussing her book. Each of you will have a chapter to present in class and this chapter will be the basis for your reflection paper on your experiences in Ivanhoe.

To help you with your reflection paper you should journal on your experiences while you are in Ivanhoe. Please turn in your journal with your reflection paper.

Maxine has asked that we each bring the following:

1) a dessert
2) the recipe for the dessert to share with other women
3) our favorite music by a woman (tape or CD )
4) our favorite quote by a woman about a woman or women
5) sleeping bag, etc (we will be sleeping on the floor of the second story of the Ivanhoe Civic League--BTW, there is no hot water in the shower and it is on a well so showers will be brief if at all).
6) $30.00 to cover cost of meals

Maxine is inviting a variety of community women and others involved in the Ivanhoe Civic League. You will have an oppportinity to meet and talk with mountain women who range in age from children to great grandma’s. This looks to be an exciting project and I know we will all learn a lot from it as well as provoding Ivanhoe with the quilt for their fund raiser.


*This syllabus was first published in Chris Baker, ed, Appalachian Studies: Syllabus Guide and Teaching Materials, American Sociological Association Resource Materials for Teaching series, 1997. Thanks to Chris Baker for his help with its reproduction in this archive.

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