Appalachian Journal Publishes Melungeon Study


Donald Yates and Elizabeth Hirschmann explore the ethnic identity of Melungeon people in “Toward a Genetic Profile of Melungeons in Southern Appalachia” in theAppalachian Journal, which announced a new issue and new look!

According to an Appalachian Journal press release dated December 6, the first issue of its 38th year deals with “Appalachian Identity.” What does it mean to be Appalachian? How do you define a culture? How does “re-hillbillification” happen?  Appalachian Journal examines all of these questions in its latest publication.

An interview with Dr. Roberta Herrin, director of East Tennessee State University’s Center for Appalachian Studies & Services, captures her ideas about what it means to be “Appalachian.” The interview was conducted by Berea College students Beth Bissmeyer and Lindsey Martin, with Chad Berry, director of the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center at Berea.

A roundtable discussion examines the idea of regional identity, with participants Barbara Ellen Smith and Emily Satterwhite of Virginia Tech; Steve Fisher, emeritus professor of Emory & Henry College; Phillip Obermiller of the University of Cincinnati; David Whisnant of Primary Source History Services of Chapel Hill; and Rodger Cunningham of Alice Lloyd College. “Identifying Appalachian Adults” and “Who Is Appalachian?” eye census records and academic surveys to see how the term “Appalachian” resonates with those seeking to define their family’s cultural background. The researchers who produced “Identifying Appalachian Adults” include University of Cincinnati’s Robert L. Ludke, Phillip J. Obermiller, Eric W. Rademacher, and Shiloh K. Turner, at the Erie Community Foundation. Chad Berry and Trent Alexander, formerly of the University of Minnesota’s Population Studies Center and currently of the U.S. Census Bureau, collaborated on the “self-reported Appalachian ancestry” in the 2000 census.

Mark Roberts’ “The Performing Hillbilly” tackles the “ghost dance” surrounding the hillbilly stereotype as practiced at modern day festivals in the Appalachian region. And Donald Yates and Elizabeth Hirschmann explore the ethnic identity of Melungeon people in “Toward a Genetic Profile of Melungeons in Southern Appalachia.”

Poetry by Damon Falke, whose work appears for the first time in Appalachian Journal, and Irene McKinney, West Virginia’s former Poet Laureate, round out this issue.

You’ll find coverage of recent events in the region and reviews of new books on Appalachia.  Receive this issue when you subscribe (send your name/address and $24.00 to AppalJ, Belk Library, ASU, Boone, NC 29608) and let our latest issue challenge your thoughts about the “folks” you thought you knew.

More information about Melungeons
Melungeon Studies
Melungeon Match