ETSU announces new Institute for Appalachian Music and Culture

Published 11:03 am Friday, September 16, 2022

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JOHNSON CITY — East Tennessee State University has announced the creation of a new Institute for Appalachian Music and Culture as part of the university’s Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services.
The Institute will become the Center’s fourth component. It joins the Regional Resources Institute, the Archives of Appalachia and the Reece Museum.
“ETSU was founded in 1911 to improve the quality of life for the people of this area, a goal that remains at the heart of the university mission. It is therefore fitting that today ETSU offers the leading program in Appalachian Studies. No other university offers so many resources in this field,” said Dr. Ron Roach, chair of the Department of Appalachian Studies and the Center’s director. “While ETSU has long been a leader in producing research, scholarship and creative materials about Appalachian music and culture, this institute will unify those activities and serve as a catalyst for innovative project generation, funding and grant acquisition.”
The mission of the new institute is to highlight, preserve and extend the rich and diverse music and cultural heritage of the unique Appalachian mountain region.
The institute, Roach said, will produce scholarship and programming that counters pervasive stereotypes about Appalachia. It will further foster collaboration across traditional disciplinary boundaries and spearhead community outreach initiatives focused on the distinctive music and culture of the region.
“We are thrilled to see the creation of this new institute and all that it will accomplish,” said Dr. Joe Bidwell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
ETSU’s Center of Excellence, founded in 1984, has a long history of producing leading scholarship about the region, including the “Encyclopedia of Appalachia” and numerous books, documentary films, record albums and recordings. The Center also publishes an online magazine, Appalachian Places. The Center is part of the Department of Appalachian Studies, which also includes the renowned Bluegrass, Old-Time and Roots Music Studies program.
Some immediate projects involving the new institute, Roach said, are assisting in the production of a digital version of the “Encyclopedia of Appalachia” and helping to expand the Center’s record label and associated program in audio production.
“This new institute is a wonderful addition to all that the Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services does to serve ETSU, the community and the world,” said Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle, ETSU provost and senior vice president for Academics.
In addition to the Bluegrass, Old-Time and Roots Music Studies program, Appalachian Studies offers a variety of educational programs focused on the region, including graduate programs in Appalachian Studies and in Heritage Interpretation and Museum Studies; an Appalachian, Scottish and Irish Studies program; study abroad experiences; and several undergraduate minors.

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