Power of Place: NEH 2016 Summer Institute

Power og Place: Land and Peoples in Appalachia

Overview & Schedule

Our NEH summer institute for teachers, The Power of Place: Land and Peoples in Appalachia, will use insights from the study of environmental history to examine the role of landscape in the shaping of culture and history, with the Southern Appalachians as a case study. The content will be the complex history and culture of the Southern Appalachians. The method will be to employ the perspectives of environmental history to tell the story of the region from a fresh and compelling perspective.  Using the story of Appalachia as an example, we will see how an environmental history approach encourages an interdisciplinary approach to a subject and presents an excellent opportunity for team teaching in the classroom.
Mt Mitchell picnic

“This institute not only provided me with loads of material with which to teach, but it served as a much needed forum among educators and academics—a place to discuss and share best practices, resources, and ideas.” Power of Place participant

Environmental history brings nature into the human story, giving a new vantage point to examine traditional themes. As the historian William Cronon observed in Academe our “stories about the past are more complete, if they increase our attention to nature and the place of people within it.” This is a particularly fruitful approach when applied to the history of Appalachia for the region’s dramatic landscape and rich natural resources have been crucial in shaping its economy, its politics, its literature and its music, as well as its relationship to the rest of the country.

The award winning PBS series, APPALACHIA: A History of Mountains and Peoples, will set the stage for two weeks of intensive research into the history and culture of a fascinating and often misunderstood region. Leading scholars in the field as well as some of the region’s most accomplished novelists, poets and filmmakers will guide discussions and research using original sources as well as recent research in the field

Sunday, July 10Monday, July 11Tuesday, July 12Wednesday, July 13
1:00-5:00 Registration and Check-in at UNCA9:00 Introduction, Uses of Environmental History and Discussion9:00 Cherokee Creation Stories7:30 Bus leaves UNCA for Cherokee
5:00 Personal Introductions and Logistics11:30 Bus Leaves UNCA for Mount Mitchell10:30 Changes in the Land: Fur Trade and the Global Economy9:00:00 AM The ancient site of Kituwah and River Cane Restoration Project
6:15 Leave for Tour and Dinner at the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay on the French Broad River12:00 Lunch and Discussion with Dr. Timothy Silver12:00 Lunch11:00 Oconaluftee Living History Village and Native Plants Museum, Qualla Arts
1:30- 4:30 Reading the Land1:30 Reflection and Discussion1:00 Lunch : Picnic at Welcome Center Museum at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
4:30 Optional hike to Mt. Craig with Pierce and Silver2:30 Lesson Plans and Conferences2:00 Tour of the Mountain Homestead
8:00 Movie (Optional): Cold Mountain3: 30 Leave for Asheville
Thursday, July 14Friday, July 15Saturday, July 16Sunday, July 17
9:00 Reflection and Discussion9:00 Race and Slavery in the Mountain South: Myths, Realities and Ambiguities Guest Lecturer: John Inscoe Part One: Slavery in the Mountains2:00 PM Meet at UNCA to travel to the Farmer’s Daughter for dinner and then to the Carter Family Fold10:00 AM Meet at UNCA to travel to the Biltmore House and Gardens (optional)
10:00 Mountain Farms: Woodlands Agriculture and Settlement Patterns10:30 Race and Slavery in the Mountain South: Myths, Realities and Ambiguities Guest Lecturer: John Inscoe Part Two: Appalachia and Race
11: 30 Lunch12:00 Lunch with Professor Inscoe
12:30 Leave for Vance Birthplace1:00 Discussion and reflection
5:00 Return to UNC Asheville1:45 Lesson plans and conferences
5:30 Tour of Commercial Distillery (Optional)3:30 Reading and discussion with Crystal Wilkinson
Monday, July 18Tuesday, July 19Wednesday, July 20Thursday, July 21Friday, July 22
8:30 Discussion and Reflection8:30 Bus leaves for Cradle of Forestry9:00 Appalachia: Outside Looking In9:00 The role of the Federal Government in 20th Century Appalachia: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee Valley Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission9:00 Lesson Plan Presentation and Discussions—Small Groups
9:30 The Green Path and the Iron Track10: 15 Reflection and Discussion
10:45 Appalachia and the New Industrial Age Guest Lecturer Ron Eller11:00 Appalachia: Inside Looking Out Appalachian Literature : Appalachians Speak for Themselves10:30 Mountain Activism: Dr. Helen Lewis10:45 Lesson Plans Presentation and Discussions Continued
12:30 Lunch with Ron Eller12:00 Lunch with Helen Lewis12:00 Lunch
1:30 The New Appalachia Guest Lecturer: Ron Eller1:00 Return to UNCA12:30 Lunch1:00-1:45 Discussion and Reflection1:00 Discussion and Reflection
2:30-4:30 Research and work on Individual curriculum projects2:00-4:00 Lesson Plans1:30 Lesson Plans and Research2:00-4:00 Lesson Plans2:00 Serena with Ron Rash
8:00 APPALACHIA Screening with filmmakers3:00 YMI Guest Lecturer: Darin Waters and the YMI3:30 Final Reception

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.