April 2, 2013. Appalachian Journal, in its 40th year of publication, will soon release a double issue (Vol. 40 No. 1-2). The double issue plants the journal squarely in its classic role on the forefront of interdisciplinary Appalachian scholarship, bringing the new and the old to bear on regional issues through astute and nuanced scholarship.
Topics as old as ginseng in the 19th century and as contemporary as the TV cartoon “Squidbillies” are complemented by interviews with internationally acclaimed filmmaker Anne Lewis and Italian oral historian and author Alessandro Portelli.
An “In Memoriam” piece celebrates the life of Howard Dorgan, a former Appalachian State University professor and scholar of Appalachian religion. Regional poetry by Michael Chitwood, Richard Hague, Dory L. Hudspeth and Michael F. Latza, current events and reviews of recent books round out the issue.
Historian Luke Manget, a University of Georgia Ph.D. candidate, traces the roots of the ginseng trade in Appalachia. The narrative of E.B. Olmsted, an enterprising ginseng dealer who sought his fortune in the mountains after the Civil War, illustrates the complex economy of western North Carolina. Manget used resources from Appalachian’s W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection and introduces readers to a little-discussed Appalachian stereotype: the “’sang digger.”
Two lively interviews were conducted by Dr. Patricia Beaver’s graduate colloquium in Appalachian studies at Appalachian. Filmmaker Anne Lewis, director of “Fast Food Women” and who has worked on more than 100 films, shares her perspectives on filmmaking and activism in Appalachia.
Oral historian Alessandro Portelli, author of “They Say in Harlan County” and “The Order Has Been Carried Out,” describes his revolutionary approach to research.
“Squidbillies,” a popular show on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, is analyzed by David Pratt, a Ph.D. candidate at the College of William and Mary. Pratt describes the show as a postmodern incarnation of the hillbilly stereotype, and the show’s treatment of corporate institutional power.
More than a dozen books are reviewed in this issue, including Kathryn Newfont’s “Blue Ridge Commons,” winner of this year’s Weatherford Award from the Appalachian Studies Association and Berea College. Sharyn McCrumb’s latest novel, “The Ballad of Tom Dooley,” two books on Melungeons and several books about coal mining, including Portelli’s award-winning “They Say in Harlan County” are also reviewed in this issue.
“Signs of the Times,” “Chronicle” and “By the Numbers” highlight recent news and information.
Visit www.appjournal.appstate.edu for more information. Annual subscriptions for Appalachian Journal are $24 for one year or $12 for this double issue. To subscribe, send your name, address and payment to Appalachian Journal, Belk Library Box 32026, Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C. 28608.
Appalachian Journal is also available at the Appalachian State University Bookstore.