At Conference, University Press Features Anthropology, Sociology Professors' Book

By University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky will feature its “Place Matters: New Directions in Appalachian Studies” series of books at the upcoming Appalachian Studies Association Conference hosted on the University of Kentucky campus March 12-15.

Literacy in the Mountains: Community, Newspapers, and Writing in Appalachia” by Samantha NeCamp is the newest title in the series. By looking at five Kentucky newspapers printed between 1885 and 1920, it explores the complex ways readers in the mountains negotiated their local and national circumstances through editorials, advertisements and correspondence, revealing an engaged citizenry specifically concerned with education. Attacking many misrepresentations head on, “Literacy in the Mountains” reclaims the long history of literacy in the Appalachian region.

NeCamp will be signing copies of “Literacy in the Mountains” at the upcoming conference, and the six other “Place Matters” books — “Rereading Appalachia,” “Religion and Resistance in Appalachia,” “The Arthurdale Community School,” “Appalachia Revisited,” “Sacred Mountains” and “Appalachia in Regional Context” —  will be available in paperback.

In “Rereading Appalachia: Literacy, Place, and Cultural Resistance,” edited by Sara Webb-Sunderhaus and Kim Donehower, a multidisciplinary team of scholars assesses pressing topics and challenges stereotypes through an examination of language and rhetoric. A call to arms for those studying Appalachian heritage and culture, this collection offers fresh views on Appalachia and its literacy, hoping to counteract essentialist or class-based arguments about the region's people, and reexamines past research in the context of researcher bias.

Author Joseph D. Witt’s “Religion and Resistance in Appalachia: Faith and the Fight Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining” reflects a diversity of denominational perspectives and draws on extensive interviews with activists, teachers, preachers and community leaders to enhance, challenge and advance conversations about the region, as well as the relationship between religion and environmental activism.

The Arthurdale Community School: Education and Reform in Depression Era Appalachia” details the homestead community and school of Arthurdale, West Virginia, which sought to enable children and adults to regain a sense of identity and place by exploring the region’s history and culture. A fascinating study of innovation and reform in Appalachia, Sam F. Stack Jr.'s book also investigates how this project's community model may offer insights into the challenges facing schools today.

In “Appalachia Revisited: New Perspectives on Place, Tradition, and Progress,” editors William Schumann and Rebecca Adkins Fletcher assemble academics and nonprofit practitioners to craft a pathbreaking study that analyzes continuity and change in the region through a global framework and explores topics such as race and gender, cyber identities and activist strategies. “Appalachia Revisited” is an essential offering for scholars and students as well as for policymakers, charitable organizers and those involved in community development.

A Christian ethical analysis of the controversial mining practice across Appalachia is the topic of Andrew R. H. Thompson’s “Sacred Mountains: A Christian Ethical Approach to Mountaintop Removal.” Thompson provides a thorough introduction to the issues surrounding surface mining, including the environmental consequences and the resultant religious debates, and highlights the discussions being carried out in the media and by scholarly works.

Coeditors Dwight B. Billings and Ann E. Kingsolver further the examination of new perspectives on one of America's most compelling and misunderstood regions in Appalachia in Regional Context: Place Matters.” Billings and Kingsolver assemble artists and scholars from a variety of disciplines to broaden the conversation and challenge the binary opposition between regionalism and globalism.

Billings is professor emeritus of sociology at UK while Kingsolver is a current professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Each of the above books will be available at the conference, as well as online at

The University Press of Kentucky is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that includes all of the state universities, five private colleges and two historical societies. The press’ editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at the University of Kentucky, which provides financial support toward operating and publishing expenses.​

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.


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