By Jenny Wells-Hosley

The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center is currently offering awards and funding opportunities for students involved with work and research in the Appalachian region.

Applications for the 2021 James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia and applications for the 2021 UK Appalachian Center Eller & Billings Student Research Award are both due Feb. 15. 2021.

Graduate students are eligible to apply for the James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia and both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply for the Eller & Billings Student


By University Press of Kentucky and Danielle Donham

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2020) — When the Declaration of Independence was signed by a group of wealthy white men in 1776, poor white men, African Americans and women quickly discovered that the unalienable rights it promised were not truly for all. 

The 19th Amendment eventually gave women the right to vote in 1920, but the change was not welcomed by people of all genders in politically and religiously conservative Kentucky. As a result, the suffrage movement in the Commonwealth involved a tangled web of stakeholders, entrenched interest groups, unyielding constitutional barriers and activists with competing strategies.

In this new release from the 

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center has a new resource available for students, faculty and community members seeking information on populations in Eastern Kentucky’s 54 counties.

“Eastern Kentucky: By the Numbers” offers a specialized set of county profiles from UK Cooperative Extension’s “Kentucky: By the Numbers" program. Compiled from 18 different sources, data for more than 60 variables are organized across 10 thematic areas, including:

Demographics Youth Income/Earnings Education Agriculture Employment Coal Employment Health Substance use disorder Poverty/

By Richard LeComte

On episode five of “Holler Back!,” Stacie Fugate and Michael Hamilton converse with Montgomery County High School senior Larah Helayne, a singer-songwriter whose activism for LGBTQ issues in Montgomery County, Kentucky, has brought her attention in Appalachia. During the podcast, Fugate talks to the teenager about her strong emotional reaction to hearing Helayne’s songs.

“I’m sitting in the audience and crying,” Fugate says. “It wasn’t just me; everybody around me is crying.”

That kind of emotional attachment to Appalachia and its people sparks the passion Fugate and Hamilton bring to “Holler Back!,” a podcast run by two Appalachian Studies minors in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Kentucky. The podcasts themselves are part of the programming of UK’s


By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center has honored 12 students with its annual research awards. Nine graduate students received the James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia, and two graduate students and one undergraduate student received the center's Eller and Billings Student Research Award. 

“The Appalachian Center is thrilled to support these student researchers that represent nine departments across four colleges,” said Kathryn Engle, associate director of the Appalachian Center. “We look forward to learning from their work as they continue to produce cutting-edge research in and on the region.”

The James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on


The College of Arts and Sciences is committed to learning and working environments that are diverse, inclusive, and equitable for students, staff, and faculty.

We stand in solidarity with those working to confront systemic racial injustice in our communities and in the United States. We recognize the disproportionate burden of racism and other forms of violence on many within our A&S community during this time. We affirm our support of faculty, students, staff, and alumni in standing against all forms of racism, discrimination, and bias.

During this time of pandemic and continued racism and violence that especially impact marginalized communities of color, we recognize the disproportionate impact on Black and African-American people. In the context of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and here in Kentucky, Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, we affirm that


By Akhira Umar

University of Kentucky English professor Frank X Walker poses for a portrait in his office on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, at the Patterson office tower in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

In 1991, South Carolina native Nikky Finney came to Lexington to perform at a poetry reading titled, “The Best of Southern Writing.”

Before Finney, who is black, was added to the list of performers, the event was called, “The Best of Appalachian Writing.”

Danville native Frank X Walker, a UK English professor and former Poet Laureate of Kentucky, was conflicted about the name change.

He wondered why this change was made and found that the definition of Appalachians at the time was, “white residents of the mountainous regions of Appalachia.”

Moved by this, he crafted a poem using the word “Affrilachian” for the first time

By Ann Blackford 

UK student is recognized with honors at the 2019 Student Support Services awards ceremony. Student Support Services is one of the Women & Philanthropy grant recipients. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 10, 2020) — The Women & Philanthropy Network at the University of Kentucky recently awarded $227,250 to six academic initiatives at UK. This brings their lifetime grants to more than $2.2 million.

The Women & Philanthropy Network at UK was formed in 2007 to motivate and foster women as leaders, donors and advocates for UK. This group of women created a new culture of service and philanthropy through their gifts of time, talent and resources.

Individuals contribute $1,000 annually (


By Jenny Wells-Hosley

The Appalachian Studies Association conference, which was scheduled to take place this week at the University of Kentucky, has been canceled due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19. The following message was sent from the ASA to its members and registrants yesterday:

"We are writing to tell you that after much consideration and discussion we have determined that cancelling the ASA conference is the right thing to do in light of the circumstances with coronavirus. The Steering Committee has a lot of work to do to evaluate the consequences of this decision and we will be discussing this in the days ahead. We are grateful to the UK administration and especially the planning committee who have organized an amazing conference.

We are sorry that this had to happen,


Eastern Standard is a radio magazine of interviews and stories about interesting people, places and things happening in central and Appalachian Kentucky.

Dr. Kathy Newfont, an associate professor of history at the University of Kentucky, chairs the 43rd annual conference of the Appalachian Studies Association happening March 12-15 at UK.

To listent the interview please click here



Kathryn Newfont joins us for this week's episode of THINK HUMANITIES to tell us about the upcoming 43rd Appalachian Studies Conference taking place at the University of Kentucky. The conference theme is "Appalachian Understories: Growing Hope and Resilience from Commonwealth to Global Commons" and will be taking place March 12 - 15.

To listent the Podcast please click here



By Will Wright

McAfee Knob in Virginia, Mount Katahdin, Maine, and the Grayson Highlands of Virginia are three of the multiple landmarks Wright encountered along the Appalachian Trail.

The driveway that leads from Route 15 to Riverside Park in Whitesburg is easy to miss.

It peels off from the main road and leads down to a gravel parking lot cozied up along the bank of the North Fork Kentucky River.

On a Sunday afternoon last fall, Patty Amburgey stood here and thought about her husband.


His name is one of dozens etched on a black memorial stone erected in October to honor coal miners who worked in the surrounding mountains and died of black lung disease.

Like many other widows in Eastern Kentucky, Amburgey spent the last years of her husband’s life caring for him as the


By Brianna Stanley

This year marks two firsts in the Appalachian Studies Association conference’s 43-year history — the first time it’s being held at UK and the first time it’s had a main focus on the forests of the region.

The theme of this year’s ASA conference, “Appalachian Understories: Growing Hope and Resilience from Commonwealth to Global Commons,” refers not only to the understory of the forest ecologically speaking, but also to the stories of beauty, cultural pride and growth in Appalachia that are so often overshadowed by derogatory stereotypes.

Isabel Jenkins

Within a forest context, an “understory” is the biodiverse plant, animal, and fungus life that exists below the tree canopy, often growing partially in shadow. It’s the overlooked nutrient-rich leaf litter, the mosses and acorns and soils, the seedlings striving towards the


By Dan Radmacher

Census workers will only visit residences in person if the household does not respond to repeated mailings. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau

Money and power.

Those are the stakes for residents of Appalachia as the U.S. Census Bureau conducts the 2020 decennial census — which will help determine how roughly $1 trillion in federal funding is distributed over the next 10 years as well as which states lose congressional representatives and which gain them.

“The Census count guides federal funding for more than 300 programs,” says Kelly Allen, West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy’s director of policy engagement. Those programs include school lunches, food stamps, children’s health insurance, Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid and the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, among other services such as roads.

Because the


By Sarah Michels


In the days before Spring Break, UK’s campus usually goes silent, a ghost town somewhat reminiscent of a post-zombie apocalyptic society.

But not this year.

From Thursday, March 12, to Sunday, March 15, hundreds of students and faculty, from UK and other nearby universities, will spend the last days before their mid-semester vacation celebrating everything Appalachia.


For the first time ever, UK’s College of Arts and Sciences is hosting the Annual Appalachian Studies Association (ASA) Conference in Lexington. The four-day event, in its 43rd year, is a combination of scholarly and activist activity, community engagement, music, crafts and more, said Jennifer Cramer, the program chair for the ASA Conference.

“Technically UK is not in Appalachia, but as one of our colleagues likes to say, ‘

A photo of Jillean McCommons discussing a topic in front of a white board.

By Jenny Wells-Hosley 

In just a few weeks, the University of Kentucky will welcome students, scholars and activists to campus for the 43rd annual Appalachian Studies Association (ASA) conference March 12-15. Themed "Appalachian Understories," the conference will emphasize the often obscured voices of the region, including black Appalachians.

Jillean McCommons, a doctoral student in the UK College of Arts and Sciences' Department of History, studies black Appalachian history and is serving as an organizer for the upcoming conference. One of the conference's four plenaries, "Black Appalachian Women: Testimonies,


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