By CCWeek Staff  /  
2017 October 24 - 09:04 am

Faculty Lounge

A Summary Listing of Faculty Activities at Colleges Around the Nation

Leslie Harper Worthington realized her Appalachian roots through the study of Southern writer Lee Smith’s book Fair and Tender Ladies. “I found my home reading her book,” she said. “I found myself in her book. It was a wonderful discovery.” Worthington, the dean of academic programs and services at Gadsden State Community College (Ala.), wrote about that discovery and read it to a standing-roomonly crowd at the Appalachian Studies Conference in Georgia. “After I read it, a lot of people encouraged me to do a book,” she said. That book is Seeking Home: Marginalization and Representation in Appalachian Literature and Song. It has been nominated for the Holman Award, a prestigious award established by the Society for the Study of Southern Literature. “The award is named for C. Hugh Holman, who taught at the University of North Carolina and is considered a very significant scholar of Southern literature,” Worthington said. The prize is awarded to the best book of literary scholarship or criticism in the field of Southern literature. “I was totally shocked when I found out the book was nominated,” she said. “I didn’t see it coming. It’s such an honor, and it’s so exciting to be nominated. In Southern literature, this award is a big deal.” It was by chance that Seeking Home came to be, and it all started with Worthington being raised by her grandparents, who are natives of Kentucky. “My grandfather was a coal miner and tobacco farmer,” she said. “Like a lot of Kentucky folks, my grandfather moved the family to Ohio to find a better job. He worked on the railroad.” Though they lived in Ohio, the tug of the Appalachian culture was always there though she did not fully realize it until adulthood. “I had a sense of being different,” Worthington said. “I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew my family was different. They talked funny. They ate weird stuff. They were just different.” Smith’s Southern masterpiece helped Worthington embrace her Appalachian culture, and she considered the suggestions of those wanting her to write a book about it. At the time, she was the chairperson for the Department of English and Foreign Languages at Gainesville State College, now University of North Georgia. Jurgen E. Grandt was a fellow instructor who specialized in music featured in Southern literature. He, too, encouraged her to do a book and started pitching the idea to publishers. In the end, Worthington and Grandt edited essays for Seeking Home and used Worthington’s essay as the book’s preface. “Seeking Home is a collection of essays discussing fiction, letters, song and poetry that features the ethnic diversity of Appalachia,” she said. “Appalachian people are often depicted as poorly educated white people who live in mountain hol lows. They’re more than that, and we wanted to turn that stereotype upside down in Seeking Home.” The Holman Award will be presented in January at the Modern Language Association Conference in New York City.

Raritan Valley Community College’s (N.J.) Visual and Performing Arts Department will present the Art Faculty Exhibition in the Art Gallery at the College’s Branchburg campus. The show is being coordinated by RVCC Art Gallery coordinator and VAPA faculty member Darren McManus. The exhibition will feature work by RVCC art faculty members representing a wide range of media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, video, graphic design, digital media, interior design and photography. Work by the following faculty members will be on display: James Adkins, Eric Araujo, Robert Di Matteo, Colin Edgington, Andrea Freiwald, Barbara Friedman, Lydia Grey, Kristen Hagan, John Harford, Heejung Kim, Ji Yong Kim, Christopher Brand Koep, William Macholdt, Jeff Mason, Darren McManus, Dot Paolo, Dawn Paruta, John Reinking, Jonathan Ricci, Sarah Roche, Kathleen Schulz, Wes Sherman, Val Sivilli, Virginia Smith, Donna Stackhouse and Ann Tsubota.

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