Studying Appalachian Studies

Making the Path by Walking
Author: Edited by Chad Berry, Phillip J. Obermiller, and Shaunna L. Scott
An invigorating challenge to the field's status quo
Cloth – $110
Paper – $25
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Cloth: 07/06/2015
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About the Book

In this collection, contributors reflect on the scholarly, artistic, activist, educational, and practical endeavor known as Appalachian Studies. 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.

Essayists argue for Appalachian Studies' integration with kindred fields like African American studies, women's studies, and Southern studies, and urge those involved in the field to globalize the perspective of Appalachian Studies; to commit to applied, participatory action, and community-based research; to embrace the field's capacity for bringing about social justice; to advocate for a more accurate understanding of Appalachia and its people; and to understand and overcome the obstacles interdisciplinary studies face in the social and institutional construction of knowledge.

About the Author

Chad Berry is academic vice president and dean of the faculty, Goode Professor of Appalachian Studies, and professor of history at Berea College. He is the author of Southern Migrants, Northern Exiles. Phillip Obermiller is a senior visiting scholar in the School of Planning at the University of Cincinnati. He is coauthor of African American Miners and Migrants: The Eastern Kentucky Social Club. Shaunna L. Scott is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Kentucky and the author of Two Sides to Everything: The Cultural Construction of Class Consciousness in Harlan County, Kentucky.

Also by this author

Southern Migrants, Northern Exiles coverThe Hayloft Gang cover


"Since its inception in the 1970s, Appalachian studies has displayed a penchant for regularly critiquing its achievements. . . . This book continues that tradition. The book provides food for thought for those engaged in interdisciplinary and activist activities. Recommended."--Choice

"About forty years after the rise of Appalachian studies, Studying Appalachian Studies offers a history and assessment of the field. . . . The three editors of the volume, all past presidents of the Appalachian Studies Association, have facilitated a book project that underscores the promises and challenges of place-based, interdisciplinary study."--The Southern Register

"A provocative 'critical assessment' of Appalachian studies' past and present. . . . There is much to be admired about Studying Appalachian Studies. The editors and contributors consider crucial and defining questions about the past, present, and future of Appalachian studies. . . . and offer a number of potential ways to advance the field."--West Virginia History


"This invaluable critical assessment of Appalachian Studies is long overdue and is destined to become a seminal work in the field. An impressive array of established and rising scholars examine the accomplishments and shortcomings of and tensions within Appalachian Studies, while offering visions of how Appalachian scholars, teachers, and their students can play important roles in helping to create alternative futures for the region. While this collection will encourage new ways of thinking, writing, and teaching about Appalachia, it also offers important lessons for anyone interested in interdisciplinary research and practice."--Steve Fisher, co-editor of Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia

"Provides a critical overview of the scholarly and activist endeavor in its past and present configurations, and offers a road map to guide our collective efforts in the future."--Emily Satterwhite, author of Dear Appalachia: Readers, Identity, and Popular Fiction since 1878


• Weatherford Award (Nonfiction), Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association, 2015