Power of Place Faculty
Jamie Ross, producer and writer of the PBS series APPALACHIA: A History of Mountains and People will serve as co-director and core faculty member 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.” Her book, Listening to the Land: Stories from the Cacapon and Lost River Valley chronicles the partnership between the Land Trust and the people of the Valleys. Jamie Ross brings to the institute a broad ranging knowledge of the scholarship on Appalachia as well as a deep acquaintance with primary sources. Along with her expertise on the history of the Appalachian Mountains, Jamie Ross has extensive experience as a teacher and a research librarian. For her work in education, she received a National Scholar Award from the Council on Basic Education. She is currently at work on a project exploring the ecological and cultural history of the Southern table.
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, will serve as academic co-director of the series. 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 and has taught the courses on Appalachian history as well as American environmental history at UNCA for over fifteen years. Dr. Pierce’s books include, Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France and Corn from a Jar: Moonshining in the Great Smoky Mountains. He has also published articles in Southern Cultures and Tennessee Historical Quarterly.
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. Her book, Negotiating a Perilous Empowerment: Appalachian Women’s Literacies, is in the Ohio University Press’ Series, Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Appalachia. Erica Abrams Locklear has also published articles in The Southern Literary Journal, Crossroads: A Southern Culture Annual, Community Literacy Journal, and The North Carolina Folklore Journal. She currently serves on the editorial board of the North Carolina Folklore Journal.
Ronald Eller, Ph.D., University of Kentucky. Originally from southern West Virginia, Ron Eller is an eighth generation descendent of Appalachian families. He is the former director of the Appalachian Center and Professor of History at the University of Kentucky where he coordinates programs on Appalachian policy issues including education, health care, economic development, civic leadership and the environment. Dr. Eller is the author of works on modern Appalachia including: Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers: Industrialization of the Appalachian South,1880-1930 and Uneven Ground: Appalachia Since 1945 as well as many scholarly articles. Among other awards, he is the recipient of the Jim Wayne Miller Award for Distinguished Service to Appalachia, the Willis D. Weatherford Award for Appalachian Scholarship, the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation Special Award, and the University of Kentucky William E. Lyons Award for Outstanding Public Service.
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.
Helen Lewis, Ph.D, Helen Lewis was one of the first to connect the region’s poverty to the exploitation of the land and the stereotyping of the people. As a sociologist, scholar, community organizer, educator, and activist, Helen Lewis has worked extensively throughout the region as Director of the Appalachian Center at Berea College, Director of Appalshop’s Appalachian History Film Project, and Director of the Highlander Research and Education Center. Helen Matthews Lewis has throughout her career linked scholarship with activism and encouraged deeper analysis of the region. Dr. Lewis will discuss the history of activism in the region, focusing on Highlander Center, where she was director and where Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks trained in the tactics of nonviolence.
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. Dr. Silver has published articles in The Journal of Southern History, Environmental History, and Agricultural History.
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.
Darin Waters, Ph.D., an 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. He has been instrumental as the principal organizer of the annual African-Americans in Western North Carolina conference and has served as an Institute for Historical Research and Education board member.
One of the core members of the Affrilachian Poets group, Crystal Wilkinson is best known for her two short story collections, Blackberries, Blackberries and Water Street. Her writing challenges misguided notions of an homogeneously white Appalachia, and hearing from Ms. Wilkinson at such an early date in the institute will be important in helping illustrate the diversity of the region. Water Street examines the secret lives of neighbors and friends who live on Water Street in a small town in Kentucky. Love and truth and tragedy are revealed under Wilkinson’s sure hand. The Washington Post has said of Water Street, “This is a superb, cohesive work which marks Ms. Wilkinson’s evolution as a gifted observer and writer.”
For more: http://www.crystalwilkinson.net/
Ron Rash, poet, short story writer and novelist, is the Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University. His novel Serena is centered on newly married George and Serena Pemberton, owners of a logging company in the mountains of North Carolina. Their operation is aimed strictly at maximizing profits, with no regard for either the safety of their workers or the future of the land they’re pillaging. The tragic result of environmental disregard looms large in all of Rash’s fiction, and in Serena, the Pembertons leave behind a “wasteland of stumps and slash and creeks awash with dead trout.”