Making the Path Together: Intersections of African American Studies, Women’s Studies, and Appalachian Studies.
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Based on the recent publication of Studying Appalachian Studies: Making the Path by Walking, the following questions will guide the conversation: What do geographically-based fields such as Appalachian Studies have in common with identity-based fields such as Women’s Studies and African-American Studies? What do these fields have to teach and learn from each other? What roles do area studies fields such as these play in the academy? How do these interdisciplinary fields relate to traditional disciplines? In what ways are area studies not truly interdisciplinary? What are the contributions and limitations of area studies fields in relation to active movements for social change? To what extent are these fields relevant in an era of globalization and capital mobility? To what extent do Appalachian, African American, and Women’s studies programs challenge the tenets of higher education, or have they simply become a part of the formal academic landscape? How has postmodernism/poststructuralism affected theoretical constructs in area studies? What is the role of alternative research methods such as oral history or community-based participatory research in area studies? How best to combine creative vigor with scholarly rigor in area studies? In an era of campus corporatization is there a future for area studies, for their certificates and degrees, for their students and graduates?