UK’s Shaunna Scott Named a Weatherford Award Winner for Best Nonfiction Appalachian Book

By Gail Hairston

(March 18, 2016) — Shaunna L. Scott, associate professor of sociology and director of the Appalachian Studies program at the University of Kentucky, is co-editor of a book chosen as the 2015 Weatherford Award winner for nonfiction.

"Studying Appalachian Studies: Making the Path By Walking," edited by Chad Berry, Phillip J. Obermiller and Shaunna L. Scott (University of Illinois Press), is a collection of essays reflecting on the scholarly, artistic, activist, educational and practical endeavor known as Appalachian Studies. Following an introduction to the field, the writers discuss how Appalachian Studies illustrates the ways interdisciplinary studies emerge, organize and institutionalize themselves, and how they engage with intellectual, political and economic forces both locally and around the world.

Weatherford Award judges in nonfiction say that the book “captures an Appalachian Studies that is still developing, but one that has come of age” and “points toward new ways of studying Appalachian Studies as well as raising questions that need to be grappled with in the future.”

Scott is editor of the Journal of Appalachian Studies and past president of the Appalachian Studies Association. Berry is academic vice president and dean of the faculty at Berea College where he is the Goode Professor of Appalachian Studies, and professor of history, and Obermiller is a senior visiting scholar in the School of Planning at the University of Cincinnati. 

The Weatherford Awards honor books that “best illuminate the challenges, personalities and unique qualities of the Appalachian South.” Granted by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association for 36 years, the awards commemorate the life and achievements of W.D. Weatherford, Sr., a pioneer and leading figure in Appalachian development, youth work and race relations, and of his son, Willis D. Weatherford, Jr., who was Berea College president from 1967-84.

Other winners of the 2015 Weatherford Awards are Nickole Brown’s “Fanny Says” (poetry) and Robert Gipe’s “Trampoline” (fiction). 

These winning authors will be recognized at the 2016 Appalachian Studies Association Conference at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, March 18-20.

Finalists for the 2015 Weatherford Award in Nonfiction are James Green’s ‘The Devils Is Here In These Hills’ (Grove Atlantic), Sue Eisenfeld’s ‘Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal’ (University of Nebraska Press), and Phil Jamison’s ‘Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance’ (University of Illinois Press).