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Dr. William Schumann Named Director of Appalachian’s Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State

Dec. 18, 2013. Dr. William Schumann has been named director of the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University. He will begin work at the center in Jan. 2014.

Schumann fills the vacancy created by the December retirement of Dr. Patricia Beaver, who directed the center for more than two decades. He is the fifth director of the center, following Dr. Carl Ross, Dr. David Sutton, Dr. John Alexander Williams and Beaver. 

Schumann is a former member of the faculty in the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s Department of Anthropology. He also directed the university’s Allegheny Institute for Natural History. 

Schumann earned his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Florida in Gainesville. He earned master’s degrees in political science and Appalachian studies with a concentration in sustainable development from Appalachian. 

His experience in building partnerships to enhance learning about the Appalachian region extends from the Appalachian Teaching Project, sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission, to ethnographic field work in Wales. Schumann has co-developed a GPS mapping tool designed to promote sustainable development in rural areas. The “app” has been successfully piloted in Pennsylvania and in Wales, creating innovative, democratic partnerships, with broad potential for public education and health, local businesses and environmental sustainability. 

“During the last 13 years I have had the privilege of teaching and researching in all three of Appalachia’s subregions: Southern, Central and Northern Appalachia,” said Schumann.

In addition to teaching at Arkansas Tech University and the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford, he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Appalachian studies programs at Appalachian State University, Emory & Henry College and Berea College.

He has also taught travel abroad summer courses and worked as a consultant for the film, “After Coal: Welsh and Appalachian Mining Communities,” directed by Tom Hansell from Appalachian’s Center for Appalachian Studies. 

Schumann is the author of “Toward an Anthropology of Government: Democratic Transformations and Nation Building in Wales” (2009) and co-editor of “Governing Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives on Political Labor, Power and Government” (2012). He has a contract with the University Press of Kentucky for a new book, “Appalachia Revisited: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Regional Continuity and Change.”

The Center for Appalachian Studies, established in 1978, developed the first M.A. in Appalachian studies program under the guidance of Cratis D. Williams and former Chancellor Herbert Wey. The center is a national leader in scholarship on the Appalachian region, promoting public programs, community collaboration and civic engagement, focusing on Appalachian culture, music and sustainability.

The center, in the College of Arts and Sciences, is committed to deepening knowledge of Appalachia’s past, present, and future through academic and community-based research on contemporary human and environmental problems.