Religion and the Liberal Arts Conferencevanashing-logo

Vanishing Appalachia: Keeping Faith on Uneven Ground

A Heritage of Shaped-Note Singing

Participants will experience a demonstration of a gospel singing school: shaped-note singing, four-part harmony, sight reading, ear training, fundamentals of music theory, choral conducting, and convention singing.

Talk Back with Keynote Speaker Bill Leonard

An opportunity for discussion on how strip malls, second home builders, mountain top removal, urbanization, mega church methods, and satellite TV are ending cultural uniqueness in Appalachia and have prompted religious changes.

Bill J. Leonard is Dean and Professor of Church History at the Wake Forest University Divinity School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  His knowledge of Appalachia is broad. From 1988 to 1995 he was a member of the summer faculty of the Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center based in Berea, Kentucky.  He serves on the board of the Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center. Leonard is the author or editor of some 15 books including Appalachian Christianity: Profiles in Regional Pluralism. His specialization in American and Southern studies makes him a frequent commentator on popular religion in the U.S., with frequent interviews in newspapers, magazines, radio and television.

Living Without Masks: The Photography of Shelby Lee Adams

This workshop will examine the ethics and aesthetics of the Appalachian photography of Shelby Lee Adams. Adams is often accused of exploiting Appalachian poverty through his uncompromising portraits of impoverished and often damaged residents of the hollows of eastern Kentucky, but he argues that his subjects actually have something to teach the rest of us about "living without masks."

From Story to Stage

Clips from the community story play "Headwaters: Birth, Death and Places in Between" will be reviewed. Participants will discover how a community in the Northeast Georgia mountains collected its stories and brought them to life on stage as a piece of performance art.