Greetings! We are eager to extend a warm welcome as you arrive in Portsmouth for the Symposium on Appalachian Studies in the Digital Age, scheduled for October 31st through November 2nd, 2019. We have an exciting program planned around the theme “(Re)covering Appalachia.” 

Many communities in the region are in a phase of recovery; with the decline of manufacturing and coal production, the ongoing opioid addiction crisis, with the political fallout from the 2016 election and the continued proliferation of flawed, negative media images and narratives, we are attempting to reposition ourselves for positive adaptation and renewal. We are asking how do we recover from the shock of economic dislocation, environmental damage, families and communities challenged by substance abuse and inadequate health care, as well as journalistic narratives that reductively characterize our communities as “devastated” and “hopeless”?

What sorts of data, voices, technologies, media platforms, software applications, preservation projects, public health initiatives, and creative works can help us recover the discarded, overlooked, and unappreciated stories of struggle and triumph in our region? How do we recover what has been ignored by others but never really lost? In this digital age, how do we recover and reclaim the music and art and revisit the photographs and narratives of Appalachia? How do we practice recovery in our families, schools, universities, sports, businesses, religious and civic organizations?  What does recovery look like?

Elizabeth Catte, author of What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia, will deliver our keynote address, and we have planned three public plenary sessions that examine the current state of economic development and recovery in Appalachia Ohio, the War on Poverty today, and common Appalachian myths and stereotypes that need busting. Additionally, we have planned three days of live performances, paper presentations, round-table discussions, workshops, and a documentary double-feature.

We look forward to our second biennial symposium and are so glad you are joining us for a three-day exploration of Appalachian Studies in the Digital Age.

While you are in Portsmouth and attending sessions remember to post your photographs to Instagram and Facebook using the hashtags: #RecoveringAppalachia #DigitalAppalachia #PortsmouthOhio #ASDA2019

Once again, welcome to Portsmouth, Ohio, and Shawnee State University.

See you soon!

Andrew Lee Feight, Symposium Director

Janet Feight, Program Coordinator

Thomas Bunting, Registration and Local Arrangements

Sponsors & Acknowledgements

The symposium is sponsored by the Digital Appalachian Studies Program at Shawnee State University and is made possible in part through grants from the Community Action Organization of Scioto County, the Portsmouth City Health Department, the Friends of Portsmouth, the Scioto Foundation, and the Steven A. Hunter Appalachian Legacy Project of the Shawnee State University Development Foundation. Funding for our keynote speaker was made available through the Jane M.G. Foster Distinguished Lecture Series. Additional support was provided by Becky Thiel, Vice-President and Provost for Academic Affairs; Roberta Milliken, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Janet Stewart, Dean of Library Services at Shawnee State University; Patties & Pints, the Port City Cafe & Pub.