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Editors of book on political protests in Appalachia to talk, sign books Friday Taylor Books

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The editors of a book about political protests in Appalachia will talk and sign books later this week at Taylor Books in downtown Charleston.

Stephen L. Fisher and Barbara Ellen Smith edited a book of 17 essays, published by the University of Illinois Press earlier this year, titled "Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia."

The editors' short talk will begin about 6:20 p.m. on Friday. They will sign books from 6 to 7 p.m.

"Transforming Places" argues that activists around the world can learn from political protests and activism in Appalachia, where the attachment of many residents to their land and communities drives their efforts to preserve the environment.

"Like place-based activists in other resource-rich yet impoverished regions across the globe, Appalachians are contesting economic injustice, environmental degradation, and the anti-democratic power of elites," the University of Illinois Press stated.

During a telephone interview, Smith said, "Steve and I are both really excited to do a signing in Charleston. He grew up in Charleston and identifies with West Virginia. His sister still lives in the area.

"I lived in West Virginia for over 20 years, working for the black lung movement, beginning in the early 1970s."

Smith, a professor of women's and gender studies at Virginia Tech, said some chapters in the new book deal directly with important issues in West Virginia, such as its chapter on mountaintop removal mining.

"Our writers also discuss everything from sustainable development to what is happening in terms of women's employment. Our authors also write about efforts to organize Appalachian women about coal issues, and the similarity of problems faces by residents in West Virginia, Kentucky and Colombia in South America," Smith said.

The 17 original essays in the new book explore a wide range of oppositional politics, examining their successes, limitations and positive impacts.

Several essays focus on organizing and building coalitions and movements to challenge globalization driven by corporate interests.

John Gaventa, author of "Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley," said the new book is an outstanding collection of "diverse case studies of grassroots resistance to present a rich tapestry of citizen action in an increasingly globalizing world."

"Transforming Places," Gaventa said, should interest students, scholars, political activists and community leaders both in Appalachia and around the country.

Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.

 


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