New Book: Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia

Posted by on May 29, 2012

[posted from Comm-Org list]

From: “Stephen L Fisher” <>

Dear Comm-Org List readers,

We want to let you know about our new book

Stephen L. Fisher and Barbara Ellen Smith, eds. TRANSFORMING PLACES: Lessons from Appalachia (University of Illinois Press, 2012)

In this era of globalization’s ruthless deracination, place attachments have become increasingly salient in collective mobilizations across the spectrum of politics. 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. Our collection of seventeen original essays by scholars and activists from a variety of backgrounds explores this wide range of oppositional politics, querying its successes, limitations, and impacts. Our critical introduction and conclusion integrate theories of place and space with analyses of organizations and events discussed by contributors. Transforming Places illuminates widely relevant lessons about building coalitions and movements with sufficient strength to challenge corporate-driven globalization.

“This is an outstanding collection. Using the concept of place as their conceptual lens, Fisher and Smith weave together a series of diverse case studies of grassroots resistance to present a rich tapestry of citizen action in an increasingly globalizing world. This will be of interest to scholars, activists, students, and community lead­ers, within the Appalachian region and beyond.”—
John Gaventa, author of Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley

“I cannot recall a book that has excited me more than Transforming Places. This work is a major step forward in the study of social change, our understanding of ‘free spaces,’ and local resistance—how people get power and how they can use it to get more.”—Richard A. Couto, editor of Political and Civic Leadership: A Reference Handbook

Table of Contents

Invocation, Marta Maria Miranda
Introduction: Placing Appalachia, Stephen L. Fisher and Barbara Ellen Smith
I. Go Tell It on the Mountains: Place, Identity, and Culture
1. Stop the Bombs: Local Organizing with Global Reach, Ralph Hutchison
2. RAIL Solution: Taking on Halliburton on the Home Front, Rees Shearer
3. This Land Is Your Land: Local Organizing and the Hegemony of Growth, Nina Gregg and Doug Gamble
4. Identity Matters: Building an Urban Appalachian Movement in Cincinnati, Phillip J. Obermiller, M. Kathryn Brown, Donna Jones, Michael E. Maloney, and Thomas E. Wagner
5. Appalachian Youth Re-envisioning Home, Re-making Identities, Katie Richards-Schuster and Rebecca O’Doherty
6. Resistance through Community-based Arts, Maureen Mullinax
II. Where No One Stands Alone: Bridging Divides
7. Organizing Appalachian Women: Hope Lies in the Struggle, Meredith Dean with Edna Gulley and Linda McKinney
8. The Southern Empowerment Project: Homegrown Organizing Gone Too Soon, June Rostan and Walter Davis
9. Center for Participatory Change: Cultivating Grassroots Support Organizing, Craig White, Paul Castelloe, Molly Hemstreet, Yaira Andrea Arias Soto, and Jeannette Butterworth
10. Faith-based Coalitions and Organized Labor: New Forms of Collaboration in the 21st Century? Jill Kriesky and Daniel Swan
11. Talking Union in Two Languages: Labor Rights and Immigrant Workers in East Tennessee, Fran Ansley
III. Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: Scaling Up
12. Virginia Organizing: The Action Is at the State Level, Joe Szakos and Ladelle McWhorter
13. OxyContin Flood in the Coalfields: ‘Searching for Higher Ground,’ Sue Ella Kobak
14. Not Your Grandmother’s Agrarianism: The Community Farm Alliance’s AgrifoodActivism, Jenrose Fitzgerald, Lisa Markowitz, and Dwight B. Billings
15. Mountain Justice, Cassie Robinson Pfleger, Randal Pfleger, Ryan Wishart, and Dave Cooper
16. Who Knows? Who Tells? Creating a Knowledge Commons, Anita Puckett, Elizabeth C. Fine, Mary Hufford, Ann Kingsolver, and Betsy Taylor
17. North and South: Struggles over Coal in Colombia and Appalachia, Aviva Chomsky and Chad Montrie

18. Conclusion: Transformations in Place, Barbara Ellen Smith and Stephen L. Fisher
List of Contributors

Stephen L. Fisher is professor emeri­tus at Emory & Henry College, where he founded and directed the Appalachian Center for Community Service. Barbara Ellen Smith is profes­sor of women’s and gender studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Ordering information

Phone orders: (800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada); (773) 702-7000 (International) Fax orders: (800) 621-8476 (USA/Canada); (773) 702-7212 (International) Online orders: U.S. Mail orders: Customer Service, Chicago Distribution Center, 11030 South Langley Avenue, Chicago IL 60628

Exam copies: Visit

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