James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia

History of the Award

The James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia is given to honor the memory of Professor James S. Brown, a sociologist on the faculty of the University of Kentucky from 1946 to 1982, whose pioneering studies of society, demography, and migration in Appalachia (including his ethnography of “Beech Creek”) helped to establish the field of Appalachian Studies at UK and beyond.

Award Information

The James S. Brown Award supports graduate student research on the Appalachian region. To be eligible, students are actively enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree program at UK. The Award must be used to meet the costs of doing research relevant to social life in Appalachia including copying, interviewing, data collection, archival research, transcribing, and other non-travel legitimate research and subsistence expenses. (Please note that this year, due to Covid-19 travel-related expenses are not eligible for funding as university-sponsored travel is strongly discouraged). The Brown Award does NOT cover registration or travel costs for presentations or attendance at conferences. Several awards will be given this funding cycle. For 2021, up to $750 will be awarded to each recipient. 

Applications for the 2020-21 James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia that are NOT funded were automatically be entered into the competition for the 2020-21 UK Appalachian Center Eller & Billings Student Research Award. Those who receive the Brown Award are NOT be eligible for the Eller & Billings Award during the same funding cycle.

Recipients will be asked to give an update on their research in a SWAP (Sharing Work on Appalachia in Progress) presentation with Appalachian Studies faculty and students during the 2021-2022 academic year. Recipients will provide a copy of their presentation to be shared with the wider Appalachian Studies community. 

Applications and recommendations for the 2020-21 James S. Brown award Graduate Student Award are due Monday, February 15th, 2021..

Apply here

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2020 Award Recipients

Sia Beasley, Anthropology, “Reproducing Marginalization: Cultural Politics of Obstetric Service Closures in the Rural United States”

Carson Benn, History, “Broadcasting Region: The Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction and the Case for an Appalachian Network”

Rachael Blandau, Political Science, “Substantive Political Representation in Rural Kentucky”

Madeline Dunfee, Epidemiology-Biostatistics, “Conducting Social Network Analysis Among Adults with Cardiometabolic Disease in Appalachia”

Jade Hollan, Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, “Kentucky Appalachians’ Intentions to Use Telemental Health”

Annie Koempel, Anthropology, “Embodied Insecurities: Socio-Economic Status, Eating Patterns, and Metabolic Health”

Alisha Mays, Anthropology, “An Appalachian Narrative of Food Justice: What Happens to Locally Produced Foodstuffs in Appalachian Eastern Kentucky”

Dane Ritter, English, “Maybe Mountain: the Devastating Poetry of Mountaintop Removal”

Rebecca Ellen Tucker, Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, “Berea College's Commitment to Appalachia Kentucky”


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