Virginia Tech Magazine
College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

Extreme Appalachia

One of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail, McAfee Knob in Virginia’s Blue Ridge offers panoramic views of the mountains encircling the Roanoke Valley.
ON THE EDGE
One of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail, McAfee Knob in Virginia’s Blue Ridge offers panoramic views of the mountains encircling the Roanoke Valley.

PHOTO: CHRISTIAN BURRIS AND COURTESY OF ROANOKEOUTSIDE.COM

In March 2017, Virginia Tech will host “Extreme Appalachia,” the 40th annual Appalachian Studies Conference.

“By ‘extreme’ we mean the impassioned commitment people have to the region, the land, and Appalachian ways of life,” says conference chair Anita Puckett, who is also an associate professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Religion and Culture. “The title also reflects the ways extreme economics—the excessive extraction of resources, underfunding of public services, and dismal job opportunities—have sparked community resilience and activism. We hope this conference will help advance a sustainable future for the region.”

The conference title further refers to exploitative images in popular culture, such as reality-television depictions and hillbilly-horror movies, adds program chair Emily Satterwhite, an associate professor in the same department. “Regionalist scholarship continues to explore ongoing struggles for racial, social, economic, and environmental justice,” she says. “We want to celebrate the countering power of the region’s visual, performance, and literary arts to nurture, provoke, and inspire.”

Program highlights will include a keynote by James Hansen, a renowned climatologist at Columbia University, and “Extreme Appalachia! Rage and Renewal,” a plenary convened by Barbara Ellen Smith, a Virginia Tech sociology professor, and Stephen Fisher, a professor emeritus at Emory & Henry College.

The conference is sponsored by the Appalachian Studies Association, which was formed in 1977 by a group of scholars, teachers, and activists passionate about the region. It will be the first time in more than 20 years that Virginia Tech has served as host.

PLAN YOUR OWN APPALACHIAN SPRING

Applachian studies conference

March 9-12

Squires Student Center, 290 College Avenue, and other locations throughout the Blacksburg campus

The 40th annual installment of the Appalachian Studies Conference will be held in Blacksburg for the first time since 1994. This regional celebration will offer four days of intellectual and cultural programs, research presentations, musical and theatrical performances, fiber arts and photography exhibits, documentaries, field trips, and opportunities for advocacy.

Civil War Weekend

March 17-20

Inn at Virginia Tech, 901 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg

For a quarter-century now, the annual Civil War Weekend has allowed Virginia Tech scholars to showcase the university’s extensive contributions to Civil War history—and to bring the past to life. In 2017, the weekend will include optional battlefield visits.

Exposition IV: An Appalachian Spring

March 19, 4:00PM

Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg

This annual showcase of student and faculty talent offers choral and instrumental music in all styles and genres. All proceeds will go to Delta Omicron to support music scholarships at Virginia Tech.

Steger Poetry Prize Celebration

April 19, reception at 4:45 and program at 5:15 p.m.

Holtzman Alumni Center, 901 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg

Renowned poet Nikki Giovanni and Virginia Tech President Charles Steger established the Steger Poetry Prize contest in 2006 to celebrate undergraduate talent. The prize has since become one of the most prestigious undergraduate literary prizes in the nation. The newly renamed annual celebration, which takes place each year during National Poetry Month, features readings by the top ten contestants and other literary lights of Virginia Tech.

Glengarry Glen Ross

April 18–21 and April 24–27, 7:30 p.m.

April 22, 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.

Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg

This scalding David Mamet comedy follows a group of small-time, cutthroat real estate salesmen trying to grind out a living by pushing plots of land on reluctant buyers in a never-ending scramble for their share of the American dream. An award-winning masterpiece of American drama, this play has been revived on Broadway and made into a celebrated film. The Virginia Tech production will feature an all-female cast, bringing a fresh dynamic to this 20th-century classic.