524 words about 120 counties: Notes from Jesse Donaldson’s book tour for On Homesickness

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Jesse Donaldson was born in Kentucky, educated in Texas, and now lives in Oregon. His book On Homesickness was published by WVU Press in September.

You could fit all I know about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity into a thimble and yet that’s what comes to mind when I reflect on my tour to promote On Homesickness.

These are the space-and-time “facts” of the tour: 28 days. 5400 miles. 120 counties.Read More »

Hillbilly identity and the WVU Mountaineer

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Rosemary Hathaway is associate professor of English at West Virginia University. She’s writing a book about the idea of the Mountaineer in West Virginia history and folklore, which will be published by WVU Press. Here’s an early look at her work-in-progress.

Although a number of students had informally dressed up as the Mountaineer for sporting events as early as 1927, when Clay Crouse volunteered for the position, the first “official” Mountaineer, selected by Mountain Honorary – as it still is today – was Lawson Hill, in 1934. Notably, this was the same year that witnessed the advent of comic strip characters L’il Abner, The Mountain Boys, and Snuffy Smith. Kentucky Moonshine, the big-screen vehicle for the comic-strip Mountain Boys, would come out in 1938, a year after Mountain formalized its selection process for the Mountaineer, choosing “Slim” Arnold for the position, a role he would perform for three years.Read More »

“Just as people make their own history, they also make their own memory-practices”: A conversation about Marked, Unmarked, Remembered

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West Virginia University Press’s Marked, Unmarked, Remembered, about the commemoration of challenging episodes from the nation’s past, is one of the most talked-about books of the fall. It’s a collaboration between award-winning photographer Andrew Lichtenstein and his brother Alex, a historian at Indiana University and editor of the American Historical Review. Andrew and Alex talked with Jeremy Wang-Iverson about their book.Read More »