Power of Place: NEH 2018 Summer Institute

Power og Place: Land and Peoples in Appalachia

Faculty and Staff


{title}Jamie Ross, producer and writer of the PBS series APPALACHIA: A History of Mountains and People  serves as co-director of Power of Place. Ten years in the making, APPALACHIA has been lauded as a landmark in historical film making and was named by Booklist magazine the “Best Video of the Year.”  For her work in education, she received a National Scholar Award from the Council on Basic Education. She is the founding director of Red Dirt Productions, and currently at work on a project exploring the ecological and cultural history of the Southern table.

{title}Daniel S. Pierce, Ph. D., chair of the history department at the University of North Carolina Asheville and co-founder of the Appalachian History Working Group, serve as academic co-direc. Dr. Pierce has been selected as the UNC-A National Endowment of the Humanities Distinguished Professor in recognition of his scholarship and teaching in the Humanities. Dr. Pierce is author of the widely acclaimed environmental history, The Great Smokies: From Natural Habitat to National Park

Guest Faculty

{title}John Inscoe, Ph.D, Albert W. Saye Professor of History, University of Georgia. John Inscoe is the author of Mountain Masters: Slavery and the Sectional Crisis in Western North Carolina; Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South; and co-author of The Heart of Confederate Appalachia: The Civil War in Western North Carolina, and has edited or co-edited volumes on Georgia race relations, Appalachians and race in the 19th century, southern Unionists during the Civil War, and on Confederate nationalism and identity, produced as a tribute to Emory Thomas.

Tom Belt, a member of the Oklahoma Cherokee who now lives in the Cherokee North Carolina homeland, the Qualla Boundar,  teaches Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University. Belt leads our tour of the ancient mound of Kituwah, illuminating its powerful history.

David Cozzo. Ph.D., is Director of the Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources initiative and uses the example of river cane to illustrate Cherokee connections to the landscape and exploitation of natural resources.

Elizabeth Engelhardt, the John Shelton Reed Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Engelhardt’s work focuses on the interplay of food, race, gender, ecology and culture in the Appalachian South.

{title}Erica Abrams Locklear, associate professor in the Literature and Language department at UNC Asheville, specializes in Appalachian and Southern literature, and teaches courses in American literature, Women’s Studies, and Humanities.

Kathryn Newfont, Ph. D., Associate Professor of History, University of Kentucky and author of Blue Ridge Commons: Environmental Activism and Forest History in North Carolina traces the history of the national forests and community responses to forestry in the region.

{title}Timothy Silver, Ph.D. is professor of history at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. His publications include A New Face on the Countryside: Indians, Colonists, and Slaves in South Atlantic Forests, 1500-1800.. His most recent book, Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains: An Environmental History of the Highest Peaks in Eastern America was winner of the Phillip D. Reed Memorial Award, Southern Environmental Law Center.

{title}Jim Veteto, Ph.D. , an environmental anthropologist specializing in ethnoecology, agrobiodiversity studies, sustainable agricultural systems, sustainable development, food and culture, and alternative political ecologies. He is the Director of the Laboratory of Environmental Anthropology and the Southern Seed Legacy project at UNT and Executive Director of the Appalachian Institute for Mountain Studies. James has worked with local and indigenous communities in southern Appalachia, the Ozarks, and the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains of NW Mexico. His work has focused specifically on comparative agrobiodiversity inventories, farmer decision making, and conservation strategies in mountain ecosystems.

{title}Darin Waters, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at University of North Carolina at Asheville. His doctoral work,“Black Slaveowners in North Carolina in 1830: Testing the Woodson Thesis” will facilitate literal and figurative exploration of Asheville’s African-American community..

Writers and Filmmakers:

Wayne Caldwell Ph.D., English Literature, Duke University. Caldwell’s outstanding debut novel, Cataloochee follows several generations of hardscrabble folk living in the Great Smoky Mountains, “warmly describing them tending to pristine stretches of land, keeping a wary eye on outsiders, and creating a tangled forest of intermingling family trees.”

Pamela Duncan M.F.A., teaches creative writing at Western Carolina University. Her second novel, Plant Life, won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction. She is the recipient of the 2007 James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South.

Robert Gipe APPALACHIA Guest Writer, NEH Power of PlaceRobert Gipe Robert Gipe has been the director of the Appalachian Program at Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College since 1997. In that capacity, Gipe connects college and community through the tools of local culture and the arts, and promotes sustainable community development. Give also teaches English and Appalachian Studies at Southeast. In Robert Gipe’s graphic young adult novel, Trampoline, historical and environmental challenges are front and center, questioning commonly held notions of what it means to be Appalachian. Library Journal called Trampoline “deeply lovable,” and the Washington Independent Review of Books found it “jagged, dark, and honest.”

Ross Spears, Academy Award-nominated documentarian, has chronicled the history and culture of the American South for three decades, from William Faulkner and Zora Neale Hurston to the Tennessee Valley Authority. Born in East Tennessee, Spears was the director and co-writer for the PBS series, APPALACHIA: A History of Mountains and People.