A Global study of Mountains at Appalachian: an International Mountain Studies Symposium

Appalachian State University will host an evening lecture and a one day symposium on comparative mountain studies between the Appalachian Mountains and other mountain regions around the world showcasing international visiting scholars and faculty and student research. All these events are free and open to the public.

Kick-off Event, Monday, March 11, 2019

Alton C. Byers, Ph.D. a mountain geographer, conservationist and mountaineer specializing in applied research, high altitude ecosystems, climate change, glacier hazards and integrated conservation and development programs will be giving a talk on Monday, March 11, 2019 at 5 p.m. in the Turchin Center Lecture Hall, Room 1102, titled, “Notes from the Field: Some Recent Geologic and Climate Change Impacts on Nepal’s Glaciers.”

Byers is a Senior Research Associate and Faculty at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado at Boulder. He will review the results of recent research regarding the impacts of three geologic and climate change-related events upon Nepal’s glaciers and glacial lakes.

The Turchin Center for Visual Arts has kindly opened the Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition exhibit on the second floor following Alton Byers's Kickoff Lecture until 7:30 p.m.

All day Symposium - Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The symposium will take place on the fourth floor of the Plemmons Student Union from 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. with additional programming from 8-10 p.m. There will be 45 short presentations and posters on a variety of topics throughout the day from over 65 participating faculty, students and three international visiting mountain scholars, as well as three international keynote speakers.

Three International Keynote Speakers

Historian Jon Mathieu, professor emeritus from the University of Lucerne, Switzerland

  • Topic - “Mountain Regions in Historical Interaction: Alps and Appalachia”

    • Discussing historical interactions between mountain regions on the example of the Alps and the Appalachians, showing how the celebration of  mountains changed from naturalists and artists, leading to modern tourism and alpinism and the look at how the transfers of interest were linked to a background of political and technological power.

Geographer Gilles Rudaz, lecturer and associate researcher in the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Geneva, Switzerland

  • Topic - “Constructing Mountains: The Specificity of Mountain Areas and Societies in Debate”

    • Taking the opposite approach to the classic one that considers mountains as fact of nature, this presentation focuses on the social, cultural and political construction of mountains. It examines the relationships between societies and mountains, by looking at the processes of how societies conceive mountain areas societies

Dr. Dawn Hollis, a Leverhulme Postdoctoral Research Fellow and dissertations coordinator in the School of Classics at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland

  • Topic - “A Mountains Manifesto? Toward the Historical Mountain Humanities”
    • Making a contrasting case for a ‘historical mountain humanities’ which not only connects the eighteenth century with the current day, but instead builds a longue dureé account of mountains from ancient times onwards.

Additional Global Participants

Christian Quendler, an associate professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria and most recently a Botstiber-Fulbright Visiting Professor of Austrian-American Studies at Appalachian State University, will give a talk titled “Relocating and Delocating Mountains in Silent Classical Cinema.” He is the author of three monographs, most recently The Camera-Eye Metaphor in Cinema (Routledge 2017), and numerous articles in literary, media and cultural studies. His current project examines the history of mountain films from transnational and media-ecological perspectives.

Frédérique Spill from the University of Picardy Jules Verne in Amiens, France will give a talk titled “Saying the mountains with a poem: Ron Rash’s Appalachia.” Her publications include articles in French and English on various 20th and 21st century American authors and for the past five years her research and publications have mainly focused on the work of novelist, short story writer and poet Ron Rash. The purpose of her current paper was to demonstrate through a few examples how, from one collection of poems to the next, Ron Rash’s representation of his mountains evolved.

Siân Williams, Head of Research Collections at Swansea University, and manager of the South Wales Miners’ Library and the Richard Burton Archives in Wales, U.K., will discuss her work at the South Wales Miners’ Library. She will highlight how this institution has supported both local communities and international exchange in her topic of “The Miners’ Next Step: The South Wales Miners’ Library and Communities After Coal.” The South Wales Miners’ Library was established in 1973 to house material collected by the Social Science Research Council sponsored Coalfield History Project. Her presentation will highlight the continuing exchange between central Appalachia and south Wales, which was created in the 1970s when the South Wales Miners’ Library hosted Appalachian scholars John Gaventa and Helen Lewis.

Evening event: Literature, Music and Dance

Tuesday, March 12 from 8 - 10 p.m.
Parkway Ballroom 420

An evening of Appalachian mountain literature, music and dance beginning with Joseph Bathanti, McFarlane Family Distinguished Professor in Interdisciplinary Education, Creative Writing and North Carolina poet laureate emeritus, reading a selection of his writing about mountains.

Followed by the debut of the Appalachian Studies String Band featuring Alex Hooker, Adjunct Instructor, Appalachian Studies; Trevor McKenzie, Library Specialist from University Archives and Records; Aaron Ratcliffe, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Information Systems & Supply Chain Management and Julie Shepherd-Powell, Visiting Assistant Professor, Appalachian Studies with the Cole Mountain Cloggers performing.

The Cole Mountain Cloggers is a youth dance team with members ranging in age from 10 to 21 preserving the Appalachian heritage of traditional Smooth Mountain Dance and Southern Appalachian Freestyle Clogging. Team members come from five western North Carolina counties including Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Mitchell and Yancey. The team is eleven-time North Carolina State Champions and most recently won the Ruth Jewell Trophy (2018) at the North Carolina State Fair Folk Festival for the team that best exemplifies the historical and entertainment purposes of the festival.

Wear your dancing shoes! Dance callers John Turner and Jeff Atkins, director of Cole Mountain Cloggers, will get the crowd moving in some traditional square dances and maybe a contra dance or two. Atkins is a 2018 inductee into America's Clogging Hall of Fame.

For a full schedule of events, visit: https://appstudies.appstate.edu/international-mountain-studies-symposium-march-12-2019/schedule-events.

These events are sponsored by the Center for Appalachian Studies, the academic program in Appalachian Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of International Education and Development with additional support from Belk Library and Information Commons, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and the Departments of Biology; Cultural, Gender and Global Studies; Economics; Geography and Planning; Health and Exercise Science; History; Philosophy and Religion; Sociology and Sustainable Development. For questions, please contact Katherine E. Ledford, PhD, Associate Professor of Appalachian Studies at ledfordke@appstate.edu.


About the Center for Appalachian Studies

The Center for Appalachian Studies promotes public programs, community collaboration, civic engagement and scholarship on the Appalachian region. The center is committed to building healthy communities and deepening knowledge of Appalachia’s past, present and future through community-based research and engagement. Learn more at https://appcenter.appstate.edu.

About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.

About the Office of International Education and Development
The OIED is responsible for spearheading the internationalization efforts at Appalachian. The internationalization mission of Appalachian is to develop awareness, knowledge, appreciation and respect of cultural differences in both domestic and international contexts in its students, faculty, staff and the surrounding communities. The university is also dedicated to creating a campus environment that builds the theoretical and practical skills needed to interact effectively in a global society. Learn more at https://international.appstate.edu.

March 5, 2019
By Ellen Gwin Burnette

LtoR, TtoB – Keynote Speakers: Historian Jon Mathieu, Switzerland; Dr. Dawn Hollis, Scotland and Geographer Gilles Rudaz, Switzerland. Alton C. Byers, Colorado and additional International participants Christian Quendler, Austria; Siân Williams, Wales and Frédérique Spill, France. And the regional Cole Mountain Cloggers. Photos submitted.
Published: Mar 5, 2019 2:38pm