UK Happenings

UK to Host 2020 Appalachian Studies Association Conference

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2019) — Students and faculty affiliated with the University of Kentucky’s Appalachian Center, College of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Appalachian Research Community (GARC) are partnering with the Appalachian Studies Association (ASA) to host its 43rd annual conference March 12-15, 2020, on the UK campus.

The conference, titled “Appalachian Understories: Growing Hope and Resilience from Commonwealth to Global Commons,” will engage in conversations about Appalachian forests, black Appalachians, women, gender and sexuality, health and healing, and hope spots. Oral history, film-making, literature, music, photography and other art forms will be among the featured “understories” exploration methods.

“We are thrilled to host the ASA on UK's campus for the first time in the history of the organization," said Kathryn Engle, associate director of the UK Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program. "For over 40 years the UK Appalachian Center has been the premier site for research and engagement in the region. The upcoming ASA conference will provide the opportunity to highlight all the scholarship, creative work, and community collaborations spearheaded by UK students, faculty and staff."

"When I came to UK in 2010, I found the community of scholars involved in the Appalachian Studies Program to be a welcoming and supportive network," said Jennifer Cramer, associate professor and chair of UK's linguistics department and program chair for the ASA conference. "I hope that visitors to Lexington get even a small sense of the vibrancy and support that led me to Appalachian Studies here at UK in the first place."

Kathryn Newfont, a UK associate professor of history and ASA 2020 conference chair, said all UK students will be able to attend the conference for free.

“Thanks to broad support from the university and beyond, ASA 2020 will be a feast of learning," Newfont said. "UK’s longstanding international reputation for leadership in Appalachian Studies was among the reasons I joined the faculty four years ago, and the ASA 2020 conference is a great opportunity to showcase and continue growing that leadership."

For more information about the conference and submitting proposals, please see the Preliminary Call for Participation. More information about online submissions will be available Sept. 3.

The steering committee for ASA will be gathering at UK for their summer retreat July 26-28. The Appalachian Center invites students, faculty and community members who have interests in the Appalachian region to a reception with the committee members from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, July 26, at the Appalachian Center at 624 Maxwelton Court. To RSVP, please contact Emma Kiser at

ASA, the premier Appalachian Studies nonprofit professional organization in the world, promotes and engages 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. ASA's mission is driven by its commitment to foster quality of life, democratic participation and appreciation of Appalachian experiences regionally, nationally and internationally.

The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center contributes to the land grant mission of UK by fostering community-university partnerships in research, learning and engagement in Appalachia, a region faced with unique opportunities and challenges toward sustainable development in a globalized context.