We are delighted to invite you to the third lecture of the 2022/2023 Spring semester of the American Studies Colloquium Series:

Penny Messinger
(Daemen University)

Understanding Appalachian Otherness

 This is an in-person event.

Thursday, May 18, 2023
at 4:45 p.m.

You can get 3 OZN points for participating in this event.


Dobra 55, room 2.118
(the building features some mobility accommodations: ramp and lift)


The Appalachian region of the US is a place surrounded in myth and stereotypes. This presentation explains the various scholarly and popular understandings of Appalachia, contrasting the definition of the region based upon geographic, economic, and cultural criteria, and discussing the differences between Northern and Southern Appalachia. One of the first scholarly studies of the region, John C. and Olive Dame Campbell’s 1921 monograph, The Southern Highlander and His Homeland, emphasized the “super-rural” aspect of life in the region as a defining characteristic, highlighting an aspect of Appalachia that is closely identified with the region a century later. This emphasis on rural life and a close relationship with the land (including the “land economy”) shaped an understanding of Appalachian “otherness” that has been used to define whiteness, American norms, and an idealized rural past. The stereotypes of mountain people that emerged in the late 1800s cast them simultaneously as the “contemporary ancestors” of more “modern” white Anglo-Saxon Protestants and as inbred “hillbillies.” Notably, these stereotypes emerged in concert with the growth of American industry, which was fueled by the extraction of Appalachian coal, oil, and timber. I end by juxtaposing this historical understanding of Appalachian otherness with a discussion of America’s rural/urban divide and J.D. Vance’s rise to prominence as the author of his best-selling memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, and with his successful campaign for the US Senate.


Dr. Penny Messinger is associate professor of history at Daemen University, Amherst, NY, US. She teaches a wide range of courses in American history, women’s history, and women’s studies, and recently stepped down as chair of the Department of History & Political Science (2016-22). Messinger’s scholarship addresses the history of the Progressive Era, the Appalachian South, and reform and radicalism. One current research project focuses on Dr. Ann Mogilova Reinstein and Boris Reinstein, transnational revolutionaries based in Buffalo. She is also collaborating on a project exploring the teaching of history that addresses the “history wars” and the relationship of popular and academic history. Messinger holds a MA and PhD from the Ohio State University and a BA from Marshall University.

June 17-18: Polish-language conference „Jak uczyć o płci i seksualności? Interdyscyplinarność, instytucjonalizacja, zaangażowanie społeczne.”

June 17, 2024

Konferencja „Jak uczyć o płci i seksualności? Interdyscyplinarność, instytucjonalizacja, zaangażowanie społeczne” ma na celu stworzenie przestrzeni, w której mogą się spotkać społeczności akademickie, aktywistyczne, artystyczne, eksperckie tworzące i przekazujące wiedzę o płci i seksualności. Jaka mogłaby być dziś edukacja seksualna? Gdzie jest miejsce na feministyczny i queerowy aktywizm w akademii? Czy słowem kluczowym jest „równość” czy „nierówności”? Czy potrafimy wspólnie wyobrazić sobie studia magisterskie o płci i seksualności w Polsce? Zapraszamy na 6 paneli dyskusyjnych.

Year 2023/2024

June 11: Biosocial Groups, Biosocial Criminals – the Body and Medicine as Organizing Agents

June 11, 2024

Weird Fictions Research Group cordially invites you to the very last event this semester! The lecture will show how medical anthropology and cultural studies can shed light on medicine-related social and cultural phenomena.

Year 2023/2024

June 6: Marketing Barbie’s “Curvy New Body”: Mattel’s Fashionistas Line and its Legacy Brand Politics

June 6, 2024

We would like to invite you to an upcoming lecture given by a Fulbright Scholar, Doctor Rebecca C. Hains! During this lecture, you will have the pleasure of listening to Dr. Hains’s exploration of Barbie from the feminist perspective, the history of Barbie’s body type, and the feminist critique around it. The talk will also discuss the PR surrounding the “Curvy” Barbies’ release, a topic that has sparked many intense debates.

Year 2023/2024

June 5: Dissecting Theater: Medical Horror on Stage

June 5, 2024

Weird Fictions Research Group cordially invites you to a penultimate event this semester! We will discuss the ways in which medicine and theater are correlated and how medical horror stories can thrive on stage. We will explore the universal nature of theater by analyzing the sources of fear in Starkid’s The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals as well.


Three NCN Sonata grants for ASC scholars

May 26, 2024

Three ASC scholars – Dr. Jędrzej Burszta, Dr. Ludmiła Janion and Dr. Joanna Mąkowska were awarded scientific grants in the Sonata 19 competition organized by the National Science Center (NCN)