Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Appalachian Studies Conference: March 23-25

Thaw Hall, on the campus of Maryville College,
host of this year's Apppalachian Studies Conference

(from the Maryville College website)
One of the major categories of posts here at the HS, if you were writing up a taxonomy, would be "festivals." We're quite fond of them, because they represent those moments when communities come together to celebrate, to reiterate their group identity, to show themselves off to the world, and so forth. Well, there are other events that accomplish similar ends - included among them? Academic conferences.

Okay, you-all with graduate and professional degrees are laughing a little. I know. But it is true, at least in the case of the Appalachian Studies Conference (ASC), sponsored of course by the Appalachian Studies Association (ASA).

I could go into substantial detail on this event - but most of the data I have came straight form your friend and mine, the magical, mystical internet. I do want to say a couple of things, however. First, this academic conference is by no means limited to academics - there are tons of activities for people in the community - tours, cultural events, and so on, and community members are welcome to participate . . . heck, I do go on . . . how about a quote from the preliminary program:

- Session tracks—we’re calling them threads—to echo our theme;
- Two preconference activities;
- A Chestnut Symposium and Field Trip, with some of the country’s most
renowned natural scientists;
- Special entertainment throughout the conference;
- An honoring of Guy and Candie Carawan, Friday evening;
- Keynote address by Pam McMichael, Director of the Highlander Research and Education Center

That's just the basics - if you want more details, and there are a virtual plethora available here (the preliminary program for the event . . . subject to change, of course). The document, I should add, is in Adobe PDF format - if you don't have the means to download it, I suggest that you download Adobe Reader.

Moving on to the links. First, you're gonna' want to hit the conference homepage - that much is a given. That data is available here, on the Maryville College (where this year's conference is going to be hosted) website. For those of you who don't know where MC is, it is the centerpiece of Maryville, Tennessee, a fairly large town (or small city, depending on your perspective) just south of Knoxville. Of course, after you survey the data on the homepage, you may ask yourself just what the ASA as a body is - good questions deserve good answers, so you might want to check out their homepage (which we're proud to have been a long-time linker of) here. Nifty, eh?

So you're thinking about going now. Naturally. But some things are still troubling you. For instance, how do I know what this thing is really like? Sure, that's problematic. I suggest you hit up the ASA's homepage and consider this overview of last year's conference - you can even hear the speech of last year's keynote speaker, Bill Turner.

Now, it is too late to present at the conference - that ship has sailed - but just remember that pretty much anyone can submit for future reference. But if you're interested, well, let me drop some knowledge. First, registration for attendance is $125 ($75 for college and high school students), due by February 28th. Of course, if you don't register till you're on-site, just plan on bringing an additional $5 to cover for your tardiness. The price is a little steep for you? Trust me, I understand. Luckily you can apply for financial assistance from the ASA here. If you're interested in this option, though, you need to jump on it - applications for scholarships are due by February 12th. With these fees, it should be said, come some little pleasures that continue well past the last fair ado after the conference. It includes membership in the Appalachian Studies Association, a subscription to the Journal of Appalachian Studies, two issues of Appalink, and of course participation in conference activities (including dinner on Friday, lunch on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday).

Well, you've got the information you need to start thinking about whether you want to attend - I can tell you that, as long as another commitment I have in March doesn't prevent me from doing so, I plan on going, and I know at least one other contributor here is as well. We'll keep you updated on that. In the mean time, I just want to throw out one more list of links - Lead Sponsors and Sponsors of the conference. Why? Because when you do good things, you deserve some kudos.

Lead Sponsors

- Marshall University
- Maryville College
- Tennessee Arts Commission
- Oak Ridge Associated Universities
- Appalachian Regional Commission
- University of Tennessee
- University of Tennessee Press


- Appalachian Center, Berea College
- Pellissippi State Technical Community College
- Center for Appalachian Studies and Services, East Tennessee State University
- Appalachian Regional Studies Center, Radford University
- Appalachian Center, University of Kentucky
- Appalachian Outreach Studies Center, Sinclair Community College
- Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University
- Center for Appalachian Studies, Appalachian State University
- Institute for Regional Analysis and Public Policy, Morehead State University
- Arcade Publishing
- Ohio University Press
- Appalachian Center for Community Service, Emory & Henry College
- Edward & Virginia Stuckey
- Kathleen Janke

Kudos, folks.

Finally, in case you're wondering, well, if I go all the way to Maryville College, what can I do in my off-hours? Good question, but one that doesn't warrant many sleepless nights. Maryville is a short jaunt from Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge - not to mention the Smokies. So, whether you're interested in hitting historical sites, a theme park, science museums, art shows, some fine music (Knoxville is a fantastic music city), or just some decent bars, well, you're set. Don't believe me? Well, that's your right. But just in case, I'm adding some links to convince you otherwise. Consider:

- Downtown Knoxville
- East Tennessee Vactions
- Knoxville Tourism Alliance
- Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation
- Gateway to the Smokies: Gatlinburg, Tennessee
- Gatlinburg Department of Tourism
- Pigeon Forge Tourism
- State of Tennessee - Tourism Web Sites

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