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Appalachian Studies Association Announces 2020 Awards

Lexington, KY — The Appalachian Studies Association (ASA) announces the 2020 recipients of the annual awards. The Appalachian Studies Association, headquartered at Marshall University, is an organization of scholars, activists, and community members whose mission is to promote and engage dialogue, research, scholarship, education, creative expression, and action among a diverse and inclusive group of scholars, educators, practitioners, grassroots activists, students, individuals, groups and institutions. Our mission is driven by our commitment to foster quality of life, democratic participation and appreciation of Appalachian experiences regionally, nationally and internationally. The Association holds an annual conference, publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Appalachian Studies, and maintains a comprehensive website. Due to COVID-19, the annual meeting was not held. These award winners will be acknowledged at the 2021 awards ceremony along with next year’s winners.

Stephen L. Fisher Award for Excellence in Teaching honors individuals dedicated to intellectual rigor and pedagogical integrity in constructing and delivering inclusive knowledge about Appalachia and its people. Each year, the ASA presents two Fisher awards at its annual conference, one to a K-12 teacher and one to a postsecondary teacher. Award winners are nominated by their peers in a competitive process and are chosen by the ASA’s Education Committee. The awards are sponsored by East Tennessee State University’s Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services. The winner for K-12 is Ray Sugg, Tuscola High School, Waynesville, NC. The winner at the Postsecondary level is Sylvia Shurbutt, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV.

The Helen M. Lewis Community Service Award to an individual or an organization that has made exemplary contributions to Appalachia through service to its people and communities. It is ASA’s highest award for community service. This years’ Helen Lewis Community Service Award is given to the Highlander Research and Education Center, led by executive directors Ash-lee Woodard Henderson and Allyn Maxfield-Steele.

The winners of this year’s Weatherford Awards for the best books about Appalachia are Appalachian Reckoning (non-fiction) edited by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll, Forage by Rose McLarney (poetry), and Any Other Place (fiction) by Michael Croley. The Weatherford Awards honor books deemed as best illuminating the challenges, personalities and unique qualities of the Appalachian South. Granted by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association for 50 years, the awards commemorate the life and achievements of W.D. Weatherford, Sr., a pioneer and leading figure in Appalachian development, youth work and race relations, and his son, Willis D. Weatherford, Jr., Berea College’s sixth President.

The Cratis D. Williams/James S. Brown Service Award is given to an individual who has made exemplary contributions to Appalachia, Appalachian studies, and/or the Appalachian Studies Association. This year’s winner is Gillian Berchowitz from Ohio University Press.

The Jack Spadaro Documentary Award is given annually to recognize the producer of the best nonfiction film or television presentation on Appalachia or its people. The award, established in 2005, honors the activist and whistleblower Jack Spadaro, who spent his career working within the coal mining industry for the betterment of the Appalachian community. Mine 21, a documentary directed by Stephen Garrett and produced by Christopher McDonough was selected as the winner of the 2020 Jack Spadaro Documentary Award.

The Carl A. Ross Award is granted to one student in each of two categories: middle/high school students and undergraduate/graduate students. Established in 1984 as the "Student Paper Award," this award honors Carl A. Ross, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University at the time of his death in 1988. This year’s winner is Michael Pruitt for his paper "Appalachian Exits: Solving the Loss of Talent and Opportunity in America’s Eastern Highlands.”

The e-Appalachia Award is given annually in recognition of an outstanding media source that provides insight on Appalachia and its people, or provides a vital community service to Appalachians. The award was established in 2001 by the Website Committee chaired by Phil Obermiller. The committee selected the Appalshop Archives as the winner for this years’ award.

The Dykeman Fellowship provides funds to support research related to gender, race, and/or ethnicity in Appalachia. The fellowship honors Wilma Dykeman Stokely, whose nonfiction and novels chronicle the people and land of East Tennessee. Founded in 2008 with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Appalachian Studies Association (ASA), this fellowship is designed to provide funding to one person annually (when funding is available) to support research related to the goals of the endowment — promoting scholarship on gender (including gender identities and sexualities), race, and/or ethnicity in Appalachia. This year’s winner is Cynthia Sorousha Gorman.

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