RECENT & UPCOMING EVENTS
43rd Annual Appalachian Studies Conference
Appalachian Understories – March 12-15, 2020University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
We human Appalachians are fortunate to have the world’s richest temperate forests grace our region. Inspiration for the 43rd Annual ASA Conference is rooted in these forests, and particularly in the easy-to-overlook portion of the woods known as “understory.” In the forest understory, plant and animal life grows between the earthen ground and the more visible canopy, in both shade and sunlight. Recognizing that forest understories are places of beauty and strength, the 2020 ASA Conference will bring to light the many voices of Appalachia that are often obscured. In the understories, people confront stereotypes, myths, marginalization, and violence and meet them with resilience and hope. In addition to native forests and forest-based human experiences, this gathering will highlight stories of Black Appalachians, women, gender, and sexuality, health and healing, and hope spots. Oral history and film-making, along with literature, music, photography, and other art forms, will be among our featured “understories” exploration methods. We also celebrate Appalshop’s 50th anniversary, revisiting the Whitesburg studio’s important documentary legacy and learning about the “understories” it continues to produce today. Like the forest that inspires us, and like the 42 previous ASA conferences, this gathering offers growth, beauty, hope, and nourishment.
On November 16, 2018, at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in San Jose, CA, LiKEN Associate Director, Julie Maldonado, will be a roundtable presenter, for Resettlement as an Act of Cultural Survival: An Update from Isle de Jean Charles Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribal Leaders and Partners.
On October 20, LiKEN Associate Director, Mary Hufford, presented a paper at the American Folklore Society Meeting: “Feasting on Time’s Body: Reflexive Commensality as Narrative Ecological Practice.” Part of a panel entitled “Sensate Worlds: Perception and Power from Multi-Species Perspectives,” the talk explored the ways in which our speaking recovers the points of view of more-than-human others, ways that become accessible to us when we reflect together on the meanings of words for local things, and their sensory impacts.
On October 17 2018, Craig Williams (Program Director, KY Environmental Foundation), published a press release about the decision by the Kinder Morgan company to abandon the Utica Marcellus Texas pipeline project. Over several years, Craig was a key leader in a cross-sectoral collaboration for public education and dialogue about the proposed hazardous liquids conversion project that would have crossed KY. This resulted in a wide alliance of local governments, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations, including Boyle, Madison, Clark, Garrard, Marion, and Rowan Counties, the cities of Danville, Richmond, and Junction City, and Lexington/Fayette County Government. Institutions and economic organizations included Eastern Kentucky University, Madison County Schools, Berea College, Blue Grass Area Development District, Danville/Boyle County Economic Development Partnership, and the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. Citizens’ groups collaborating with KY Environmental Foundation, included Danville’s Citizens Opposed to the Pipeline Conversion, the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition, Kentucky Heartwood, Kentucky Resources Council, and the Allegheny Defense Project.
Harlan County, USA – Coal Mining in Appalachia Discussion – October 16, 2018
On October 16, 2018, Betsy and UCSB History professor, Alice O’Connor, hosted a discussion about the history and future of coal mining communities in Appalachia following a screening of Barbara Kopple’s Oscar-winning documentary, Harlan County, USA (1976) at the Carsey-Wolf Center
“Is there a Post-Coal Future for Appalachia?”, an in-depth discussion on October 15th, 2018 with LiKEN Executive Director, Betsy Taylor, for students and faculty on workers’ rights, energy justice, and economic transition in Appalachia.
On October 15 2018, As part of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Energy Justice in Global Perspective at the University of California/Santa Barbara, the Blum Center hosted.
Do we think the U.S. system is corrupt or “rigged?” – October 5, 2018
On Friday October 5, 2018, LiKEN hosted a civic conversation for journalist Sarah Chayes, at Good Foods Co-op, in Lexington, KY, as a forum for participants to discuss their perception and experience of whether the United States is a rigged or corrupt system and to informally propose changes, supports, or restrictions. This dialogue is part of a new book that Sarah is researching and writing.
In September, Mary Hufford and Julie Koppel Maldonado began working to develop an online seminar in Social Research Methods with Future Generations University in Franklin, WV. Now celebrating its 25th Anniversary, FGU offers a Master’s Degree in Applied Community Development for students seeking to lead community change in places around the world as well as in Appalachian communities, and Tribal communities in the United States. The course will go online in February 2019.
Developing Culture(s) of Preparedness: The Important Role of Culture in FEMA’s Strategic Plan – September 20, 2018
On September 20, 2018, LiKENeer Julie Maldonado was a featured presenter in the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) webinar, Developing Culture(s) of Preparedness: The Important Role of Culture in FEMA’s Strategic Plan (2018-2022)
On September 8, Deborah Thompson represented LiKEN at the Pine Mountain Settlement School Fair Day where She talked with community people about their special places and field-tested participatory mapping methods to document the assets of Harlan County from their perspective. It was a wonderful day of meeting people and talking about what Harlan County means to them.
Lehigh Valley cultural survey – August and September 2018
Mary Hufford conducted fieldwork for a Lehigh Valley cultural survey, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Jump Street. The survey documented practitioners of traditional arts that structure and express human relationships to nature and the land, including beekeeping, fly tying, turkey calling, wildcrafting, spinning, and community gardens. These are practices found throughout the Appalachian region and beyond, with potential for subregional and ethnic variation. How do the practices within Appalachian subregions register ecological and historical differences? How, through the transmission of such practices, does the land continue to engage new generations and immigrant communities in cultivating ecological citizenship?
In August 2018, Julie Maldonado was an invited facilitator at the International Network on Displacement and Resettlement convening in Oaxaca, Mexico. August 2018. The panel, Moving from Social Risks and Resilience: Informing a Flexible Adaptation Process for Displacement and Resettlement, considered how to look at risk beyond physical vulnerabilities and displacement to understand what is needed to build and support the resilience of displaced populations.
30th Symposium of the International Council on Traditional Music Study Group on Ethnochoreology – July 29 – August, 2018
LiKENeer Deborah Thompson traveled to Szeged, Hungary last July 29- August 3 for the 30th Symposium of the International Council on Traditional Music Study Group on Ethnochoreology, where she presented a paper as part of a panel titled, The Politics of Dance, Representation, and Identity in Appalachia, USA . The paper was titled “More than Black and White: Negotiating the Anglocentric Underpinnings of an Appalachian Folk Dance Team. It was fascinating to meet other dance scholars from around the globe who were addressing issues of identity: race, class, gender, ethnicity; the politics of culture as well as nationalism and representation.
In July 2018, LiKEN Associate Director, Julie Maldonado participated in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) How We Respond working session in Washington, DC, July 2018. How We Respond is a new communication initiative to highlight how communities are actively and effectively responding to climate change at the local, state and regional levels, and to demonstrate the critical role of science and scientists in informing these activities.
Betsy Taylor, LiKEN Executive Director, was a participant in “Transition Revenue & Investment Solutions Forum” July 11 & 12, 2018 in Bozeman, Montana, sponsored by the Headwaters Institute. The forum convened experts from diverse sectors and geographic locations to collaborate on learning, discussion and brainstorming in a convivial and ‘low-pressure’ environment. The participants worked to identify promising transition revenue and investment approaches to mitigate the negative impacts of transition in coal-dependent local economies.
LiKENeer Mary Hufford participated in the US Climate Action Network meeting in Spokane, WA. This annual meeting brings together climate advocates from all over the United States to bring grassroots organizations into alignment in order to ameliorate the effects of climate change on the most vulnerable communities. The far-reaching effects of climate change are represented in the 175 plus diverse organizations that make up the network, including faith-based organizations, labor networks, environmental justice communities, and organizations focused on public policy, to name a few.
LiKENeer Julie Maldonado delivered the keynote address at Displaced by Climate: The Intersection of Science, Law & Policy, The Collider, Asheville, NC. National and international climate law, policy, and science experts will gathered to discuss how climate displacement has, and will increasingly continue, to affect the U.S. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss the particular challenges vulnerable communities such as indigenous peoples are facing and how they are affected disproportionately by climate change. Press release: https://mountainx.com/blogwire/collider-discussions-to-explore-climate-change-related-community-displacement-on-june-20/
Dialogues all the Way Down: Speech Genres as Matrices of Social and Ecological Renewal – May 18, 2018
LiKEN Associate Director, Mary Hufford, delivered talk, “Dialogues all the Way Down: Speech Genres as Matrices of Social and Ecological Renewal,” for symposium on Cultural Sustainability, University of California, Santa Barbara, May 18, 2018.
In May 2018, LiKENeer Julie Maldonado hosted screenings of Protect www.protectfilm.org, a living document of the caravan of Indigenous and other community organizers at the forefront of work for a just transition from toxic to clean energy – May 17, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA May 18, University of California/Santa Barbara, CA May 19, La Casa de la Raza, Santa Barbara, CA
Alan Dundes Public lecture in Folklore: Witness Trees Revolt: Folklore’s Invitation to Narrative Ecology – April 2, 2018
Mary Hufford Presented the Alan Dundes Public lecture in Folklore: “Witness Trees Revolt: Folklore’s Invitation to Narrative Ecology” University of California, Berkeley. April 2, 2018. This public lectures honors the memory of Alan Dundes, who founded the program in folklore at the University of California, Berkeley.
Rising Voices: Collaborative Science With Indigenous Knowledge For Climate Solutions – April 10- 12, 2018
In April 2018 Rising Voices: Collaborative Science With Indigenous Knowledge For Climate Solutions, April 10-12, 2018, Duluth MN 6th Annual Workshop Rising Voices: Collaborative Science with Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Solutions “Rising Together: Mobilizing and Learning from Local Actions” Linking movements for a moral economy & livable communities, 5:00-7:00 pm, February 25, 2018, LiKEN office, 1815 Nicholasville Rd, Lexington KY Group discussion & panel: Danielle Brian, Director, Project on Government Oversight (POGO). POGO is a premier national watchdog organization investigating corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical government www.pogo.org; Arnold Farr, Professor, UK Philosophy, is a local organizer for the Poor Peoples March; Linda Kaboolian is a sociologist with the Harvard School of Public Health and a national consultant with labor unions; Craig Williams, Program Director, KY Environmental Foundation, was awarded the 2006 Goldman Prize for his key role regionally and internationally in the campaign to safely dispose of the world’s stockpile of chemical weapons. He is currently working on the Kinder-Morgan pipeline.
In 2018, folklorist and LiKEN Associate Director, Mary Hufford, continues to explore Appalachian forest commoning as an aspect of what she calls “narrative ecology:” the study and stewardship of socio-ecological systems that depend on genres of storytelling for their reproduction. She January through May, as Visiting Professor of Folklore, UC Berkeley, Hufford taught two courses: 1) an undergraduate course, “Ecocritical Fairytales,” an approach to the classic fairy tales that explores evolving attitudes toward nature (especially the forest), and the human body (especially bodies of women) over the past four centuries, from the Grimms and Perault, to modernrevisions by Disney, Dreamworks, Sondheim, Angela Carter and others; and 2) a graduate seminar, “Theories of Traditionality and Modernity,” which explored the emergence of public folklore in the late 20th century, and its continuing development as a praxis of the commons.
Knowledge Commons and the Restoration of Time: Toward a Colloquy of Appalachian Forests – February 23, 2018
LiKENeer Mary Hufford Participated in “Knowledge Commons and the Restoration of Time: Toward a Colloquy of Appalachian Forests,” paper presented for Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference session “Seeing the Forest By Its Trees: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Appalachian Forests.” Feb. 23, 2018, UKY Lexington, KY.
IN THE PRESS
29 July 2020
It is difficult to canonize anthropology and anthropological concepts, in part because of the creative tensions within the discipline’s contradictions: a desire and deep respect for local knowledge with a global, comparative perspective, what might be called the “anthropological imagination.” Firmly rooted in—and in defense of—an inclusive vision of humanity, an anthropological imagination inspires “radical empathy.” It offers the scaffolding of a coalitional politics that values the specificity of local struggles but also reaffirms and defends humanity. We must identify the humanity in others, and the common humanity in their struggle, while affirming particular identities and challenging differential privilege: an anthropological imagination inspires radical empathy and solidarity, reminding us, in the words of the World Social Forum, that “another world is possible.” How people learn to cultivate this anthropological imagination and bring it in the service of marginalized groups is not generally discussed, and rarely taught. This article aims to bridge this gap. On October 10, 2018, Julie Maldonado, Associate Director for the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN), discussed her new book, Seeking Justice in an Energy Sacrifice Zone: Standing on Vanishing Land in Coastal Louisiana, via video‐conference with Mark Schuller’s Anthropology and Contemporary World Problems class at Northern Illinois University. This interview offers one perspective of a career focused around advocacy anthropology that aims to reach public audiences and policy‐ and decision‐makers in ways that translates scholarly research into information that is most useful for problem solving and enacting change in response to our climate crisis.
Under the banner of a just transition, we’ve seen some great work to develop things like the RECLAIM Act and include in that the value of community participation in planning for the use of public revenues from the Abandoned Mine Land funds. While imperfectly implemented so far, that was the beginnings of a model for the ways in which you could get a region off the addiction of fossil fuels by combining the environmental reclamation money with community empowerment and participation, as well as job creation. We see a great potential for breaking the idea that its jobs vs. the environment by linking grassroots livelihood and job creation with healing from fossil fuel damage.” – Betsy Taylor, Director at Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN)
Edited by Gregg Parker on 10 July 2020
The Appalachian region is filled with rich culture and natural beauty, but it’s also plagued by enduring economic hardship due to decades of capitalist exploitation. The organizations here all work to support its diverse communities, providing services and other opportunities to restore and maintain the region’s vitality for future generations. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
High school students in Rignall’s Stories of Place project visited a coal-impoundment lake and found that a family cemetery had been established on its banks about 150 years ago.
Karen Rignall ’92 *94
When most Americans think of the coal region of eastern Kentucky, they think of poverty — but Karen Rignall ’92 *94 is determined to help residents of Martin County, Ky., tell their own stories.
An assistant professor in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Community and Leadership Development and in the Department of Sociology, Rignall obtained a $50,000 public-engagement fellowship from the Whiting Foundation in 2018 to help her undertake a project she has called “Stories of Place in Martin County.” The project enables area high school students and their families to reexamine their community — physically, historically, and socially — to develop a better understanding of what it has been through and what it might become.
Global Positive News Network interview with Betsy Taylor
Related news links:
September 24, 2016
Re-imagine the Future
LiKENeer, Betsy Taylor, participated in a small gathering to discuss “Operationalizing Green Governance: New Policy Strategies for Large-Scale Ecosystems and Resources”. La Bergerie de Villarceaux, France, sponsored by the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation. June 22-25.
This film captures some interviews with participants in that event.
“We need a new common sense that recognizes that each individual’s survival depends on his/her relationship with others, with the community, and with the environment’. (Ugo Mattei)
LiKEN is a network for scholarly/community collaboration to build economic futures based on local assets, values, and vision. We believe that people understand their own places, environments, and communities in ways that are essential to good public policy and good science. As a link-tank, we connect local knowledge with specialized expertise.