May 03, 2010
Stephenson Center presents Appalachian historian Dr. Mark Banker May 6 at 7 p.m.

What is Appalachia? Who are Appalachians? Dr. Mark Banker will address these questions in the program "Appalachians All: East Tennesseans and the Elusive History of an American Region" based on his recently published book by the same name. Presented by the Stephenson Center for Appalachia at Lees-McRae College, Banker's lecture will be held in the Stafford Room of the Carson Library on Thursday, May 6, at 7:00 p.m.

Banker's ground-breaking history, published by the University of Tennessee Press, explores the diverse histories of urban Knoxville, rural Cades Cove, and coal-producing Clearfork Valley. These three East Tennessee communities have completely different ways of life and sets of problems, yet each is part of the region. Is one more Appalachian than the others? Is any one of them Appalachian, or are all of them Appalachian? These are questions that led Banker to write his book.

Born and raised in Kingston, Tennessee, Banker left the area to spend 11 years in New Mexico, where he received his doctorate in history. He returned home to the family farm with the death of his father, and has lived there ever since, commuting to teach at the Webb School in Knoxville. Banker's years of teaching Appalachian studies at the school has led to his book, which through history and memoir examines the meaning of "Appalachia" and "Appalachian."

"Lees-McRae is fortunate to host Dr. Banker to discuss his recently released book. Appalachians All looks at the region, and regional identity, in a fascinating new way," said Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia. "We look forward to his talk and the discussion it is sure to provoke. We invite everyone interested in area history and heritage to attend."

Stephenson Center lectures are free and open to the public. Dr. Banker's program will be held on Thursday, May 6, at 7:00 p.m. in the Stafford Room of the Carson Library on the Lees-McRae campus. For information call Meghan Wright at 898-8729.

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