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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
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    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


1970s Overview - Part II

1978 1st Appalachian Studies Conference held at Berea. Convener: Stephen Fisher

Address by Bob Scott, Federal Co-Chairman, Appalachian Regional Commission

Theme: Where Do We Go From Here? John Gaventa, Archie Green and Jim Wayne Miller speak on Which Side Are We On? Opening the debate between the Activists and the Academic Scholars;
Center for Appalachian Studies developed at Appalachian State University, Patricia Beaver, Director; Helen Lewis, Linda Johnson and Don Askins, Colonialism in Modern America, The Appalachian Case; Appalachian Consortium acted as office base for Appalachian Studies Conference and co-sponsored the conference; Henry Shapiro, Appalachia on our Mind: the Southern Mountains and Mountaineers in the American Consciousness, 1870-1920; Archives of Appalachia founded at ETSU, Richard M. Kesner, Director

1979 2nd Conference - Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp, West Virginia. Sharon Lord, Chairperson

Theme: Land Use - Leaving the Land and the Land Ownership Study featured. Gordon Ebersole spoke on Dams, Kilowatts and the Corps. Mike Kline sang songs about the land; 1st Appalachian Writers Workshop at Hindman; David Whisnant publishes Modernizing the Mountaineer

1980s Overview

Land Ownership Study - KFTC and Broadform Deed battle - New River Dam Controversy - Coal Strikes: A.T. Massey and Pittston - Mine Closures - U.S. Steel leaves Lynch, Kentucky and Gary, West Virginia - Fast Foods and Strip Malls - Big Road Corridors

1980: 3rd Conference - Johnson City, Tennessee. Joan Moser, Chair. Theme: Appalachia America. More than 300 persons attended. Reception at Down Home Picking Parlor honoring Jim Wayne Miller and book publication: The Mountains Have Come Closer. Myles Horton and Helen Lewis present paper on The Roles of Transnational Corporations. Robert Higgs read Sut Lovingood: Appalachian Super Star; Appalachia/America, the first published proceedings of the Appalachian Studies Conference (3rd conference); Appalachian Land Ownership Study completed; John Gaventa, Power and Powerlessness; Appalachian Writers Association formed; First Appalachian Studies Proceedings published

1981: 4th Conference - Blue Ridge Assembly, Black Mountain, North Carolina. John Stephenson, Chairperson. Appalshop reception announcing film history of Appalachia. Sidney Farr read Appalachian Women in Literature. Film: Coal Mining Women

1982: Ron Eller, Miners, Millhands and Mountaineers; "Assessing Appalachian Studies" published by Appalachian Journal; 5th Conference - Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. Pat Beaver, Chairperson. Keynote speaker: Sue Thrasher on Highlander Center. Harry Caudill and the Burden of Mountain Liberalism. Citizens for the Preservation of Floyd County made presentation.

1983: 6th Conference - Pipestem Resort State Park, West Virginia. Jim Wayne Miller, Chairperson. Keynote speaker: Don West, Appalachian South Folklife Center. Music by Jane Sapp, Etta Baker, Sparky Rucker and Reel World String Band. John Inscoe paper on Mountain Masters and Grassroots Poetry Project by Gurney Norman and George Ella Lyons.

1984: Center for Appalachian Studies & Services founded at ETSU, Richard Blaustein, Director; 7th Conference - Unicoi State Park, Georgia. Charlotte Ross, Chairperson. Welcome by Lt. Governor Zell Miller. Music by the Eller Brothers. Carl Ross paper on 20th Century Politics in North Georgia; Now and Then magazine published by ETSU-CASS

1985: 8th Conference - Berea College, Berea, Kentucky. Richard Drake, Chairperson. Keynote by Loyal Jones: A Tribute to Cratis Williams. Bill Best and Jim Wayne Miller present Dick and Jane Revisited. Discussion of David Whisnant’s All That is Native and Fine. Mary Beth Pudup paper: Beyond the "Traditional" Mountain Subculture; William Turner and Edward Cabbell, Blacks in Appalachia

1986: 9th Conference - Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina. Chairperson Ron Eller spoke on "The Search for Community in Appalachia." Music by Clint Howard Band and the Frank Proffitt family. Steve Fisher paper on The Nicaraguan Revolution. Appalachian Film and Drama panel: Jerry Williamson, Sharon McCrumb, Jean Speer and Gerald Wood; Appalachian Studies Conference becomes Appalachian Studies Association; Patricia Beaver, Rural Community in the Appalachian South

1987: 10th Conference - East Tennessee State University celebrating a decade of Appalachian Studies. Music by ETSU bluegrass band. Poetry by Bettie Sellers, Rita Quillen and Don Johnson. Howard Dorgan and Marshall Family program on Old Regular Baptists. Sandra Ballard presents interview with Harriet Arnow; Denise Giardina, Storming Heaven; Howard Dorgan, Giving Glory to God in Appalachia; Rodger Cunningham, Apples on the Flood: The Southern Mountain Experience; Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina holds first Ulster-American Heritage Symposium

1988 11th Conference - Radford University, Virginia. President Grace Edwards and Keynote speaker, Marilou Awiakta. First year of the Appalachian Youth Conference. Presentations by AppalKids of Pulaski High School. Joan Moser paper on Appalachian Folk Medicine and Mary Anglin paper on The Rise and Fall of Mica. Gospel singing; Susan Keefe, Appalachian Mental Health

1989 Journal of the Appalachian Studies Association begins publication; 12th Conference - West Virginia University. President Loyal Jones and Keynote speaker Jim Comstock, editor of West Virginia Hillbilly (newspaper). Paper by Kate Black on Roving Pickets. Andrena Belcher storyteller and film Powerhouse for God by Jeff Titon.