Cross-cultural learning in sustainability, culture and musical traditions is supported by a wide variety of international curricula at Appalachian State University. The Center for Appalachian Studies supports the university's Strategic Plan and Quality Enhancement Plan on global learning through student and faculty engagement with mountain regions around the world. Mountain-to-mountain pedagogy, scholarship, and exchanges are cornerstones of the Center and its academic programs.
Photo: Appalachian Studies students outside Swansea Castle, Wales
The Center’s international work:
- Since 1982, students and faculty have traveled to Wales to conduct a comparative study of Welsh and central Appalachian coal mining communities. Since 2001, the Center for Appalachian Studies has taught a Postindustrial Wales study abroad course in rural South Wales. The program exposes students to community-based responses to political, economic, and cultural transformations in Welsh society following the final contraction of heavy industry in the 1980s. Students learn through community-based research projects; meetings with political activists officials at various levels of government; visitation to cultural events and tourist sites; and interactions with invited lecturers and musicians from Wales. The next course, in summer 2018, will be taught by Dr. William Schumann (Center for Appalachian Studies).
- A documentary project emerging from these sustained critical conversations, After Coal, created by Mr. Tom Hansell and Dr. Patricia Beaver, brings regional, national, and international attention to Welsh and Appalachian connections.
- Students place the Appalachian region within an international mountain context through a graduate seminar called Global Appalachia. Taught by Dr. Katherine Ledford, the seminar grounds students in critical theory about mountains; illuminates the Appalachian region's connections to global systems; and explores other mountain regions around the world, including Carpathia, Himalaya, the Pyrenees, and the Alps.
- Faculty research agendas include mountain-to-mountain engagement. Dr. William Schumann has conducted fieldwork in rural Wales since 2001 and taught a Postindustrial Wales study abroad course since 2003. In 2012, Dr. Katherine Ledford served as a committee member for the first doctoral dissertation written in France on Appalachian Literature at the William Faulkner Foundation at the University of Rennes 2 in Rennes, France. Dr. Ledford was invited to deliver a paper at the first Carpathian/Appalachian international conference at Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, in September 2013. Dr. Ledford served on the program committee for the second Carpathian/Appalachian international conference held at the Transylvania University of Brașov in Brașov, Romania, in October 2015.
- The Center for Appalachian Studies, with support from the Office of International Education and the College of Arts and Sciences, brings international scholars and political leaders to campus to engage with students and faculty. International faculty who have recently visited campus include representatives from Swansea University in Wales; the University of Rennes 2, in Rennes, France; Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine; and Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona, Spain.
Photo: Dr. Katherine Ledford at a market in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine