Appalachia: Life, Culture, and Land


Theme Description: This theme examines the natural environment, culture, society, and human identity in the Appalachian region with an eye toward understanding its unique qualities as well as its place within the nation and larger world.

Theme Coordinator: Dr. Katherine Ledford 



AS 2200. Appalachian Stories (3).F.
GEN ED: Literary Studies Designation; Historical and Social Perspective (Theme: "Appalachia: Life, Culture, and Land") Introduction to the literature of Appalachia with an emphasis on the multiplicity of narrative forms in the region. This course examines both historical and contemporary Appalachian literary expression as well as local, regional, national, and international perspectives on the literature of the region. Students read and study oral narratives, exploration narratives, travel writing, memoir, autobiography, song lyrics, and nature writing, in addition to fiction, poetry, and drama. The course also explores how literary production comments on and participates in the construction of Appalachia.

AS 2411. Appalachia: An Introduction (Social Sciences) (3). On Demand
GEN ED: Historical and Social Perspective (Theme: "Appalachia: Life, Culture, and Land")
This course explores the Appalachian region from a cross-disciplinary perspective, with readings on Appalachia drawn primarily from the social sciences. Both historical and contemporary issues are examined, focusing upon national and international as well as local and regional contexts. This courses provides an introduction to the Bachelor of Arts degree in Appalachian Studies and to the undergraduate minor in Appalachian Studies. Students who take AS 2411 cannot take AS 2410 for credit. (WRITING; MULTICULTURAL; CROSS-DISCIPLINARY) (CORE: SOCIAL SCIENCES)

COM 3118. Communicating Coal in Appalachia (3). On Demand
GEN ED: Historical and Social Perspective (Theme: "Appalachia: Life, Culture, and Land")
The course examines the types of communication and information campaigns used by various stakeholders in the cultural, economic and political conflicts surrounding the coal industry in Appalachia. Students will learn through case studies, readings, guest speakers and at least one field trip to the coal fields of Appalachia.

GLY 2301/AS 2301. The History of Coal from the Pennsylvanian to the Present (3). S.
GEN ED: Historical and Social Perspective (Theme: "Appalachia: Life, Culture, and Land")
Coal has played a critical role in the history of the southern Appalachians. The geologic processes that formed coal and shaped the landscape into the steep ridges and hollows of the Appalachian coalfi elds have directly affected the human history of the region – from hunting in pre-colonial times, to settlement and subsistence farming in the 1800s, to mining and unionization in the 1900s, to mountaintop removal and natural gas/coalbed methane extraction in the last decade. This course covers the physical and chemical processes that form coal as well as the tectonic and geomorphologic processes that formed the landscape of the coal fields and shaped the agricultural practices of the early settlers. It examines the cultural history of coal mining and life in the company-owned coal camps and the political history of unionization through literature and fi lm. The economics and environmental consequences of coal-fired power plants are discussed, and the environmental and occupational hazards associated with both underground and surface coal mining are analyzed from both a scientific and a sociological perspective.

HIS 3726. History of the Appalachian Region (3). S
GEN ED: Historical Studies Designation; Historical and Social Perspective (Theme: “Appalachia: Life, Culture, and Land”)
A survey of the history of the Appalachian region from the period of exploration and settlement to the present. (WRITING)

MUS 2016/AS 2016. Appalachian Music (3). F;S
GEN ED: Fine Arts Designation; Historical and Social Perspective (Theme: "Appalachia: Life, Culture, and Land")
A survey of Appalachian music including both instrumental and vocal styles, older traditions and newer regional forms. Students will have opportunities to develop musical skills through hands-on class projects and activities. Lecture three hours. (CORE: HUMANITIES)

SOC 3710. Sociology of Appalachian Communities (3). S
GEN ED: Historical and Social Perspective (Theme: "Appalachia: Life, Culture, and Land")
This course examines Appalachian communities from a sociological perspective, with a focus on how the region gives rise to a unique configuration of cultural, institutional, and other social practices. Specific attention is also given to the differences between urban and rural Appalachian communities, as well as the complex relationships Appalachia has with the broader component of American society.


How These Courses Integrate into Theme:

Students in each course will address the contemporary issue of mountaintop removal coal mining through common readings, film viewings, guest speakers and field trips. Coal mining has been an activity of central importance to many within the Appalachian region, both historically and in the present day. Students will explore this issue from a variety of vantage points based on their course discipline.