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October 1, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Ping Institute Teacher Workshop | The Mingling of Tragedy and Triumph: True Tales from Within and Beyond the Heartland, Oct. 19

The Mingling of Tragedy and Triumph: True Tales from Within and Beyond the Heartland

The Charles J. Ping Institute for the Teaching of the Humanities presents a free one-day workshop for secondary teachers titled “The Mingling of Tragedy and Triumph: True Tales from Within and Beyond the Heartland” with Dr. Linda J. Rice on Saturday, Oct. 19, at Ohio University.

How, in the midst of family dysfunction, poverty, and additional hardship, are some people able to persevere to the point of triumphal overcoming and starting a new life path? What factors contribute to the resilience and success and of such individuals? In what ways does contemporary society hinder and help this process of overcoming? How do the real-life stories of others help us on our own journeys and enable us to see anew with deeper compassion and understanding? How do we discuss these types of life challenges with younger readers?

This one-day workshop for high school teachers will feature excerpts from two memoirs and a book of narrative nonfiction as vehicles for engaging participants in an examination of these important questions. The featured texts (The Glass CastleHillbilly Elegy, and Dreamland) have touch points from the rolling hills of southeast Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky to the American west and a small town in Mexico. Through these texts, we will explore various intersections of business, industry, economics, education, family, addiction, health care, and community support. The day will be a combination of lecture, discussion, critical analysis, creative writing, and film.

Two memoirs and a book of narrative nonfiction (select excerpts from; will be sent as PDF to registered participants along with a brief preparatory assignment)

  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, 2005
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance, 2016
  • Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones, 2015

Rice is the James S. Reid/Standard Products Company Professor of Humanities and Chair and Professor of English. She taught high school English for 10 years and earned National Board Certification before coming to Ohio University. She is the author of two books and more than 25 journal articles and book chapters.


The Institute is free of charge. To register, please email your name, address, school, and email address to The deadline to register is Thursday, Oct. 10.

Please feel free to contact workshop coordinator Bryan Baur at 740-597-2100 or with any questions.

Tentative Schedule

9 to 9:15 a.m. — Arrival, coffee

9:15 to 10  a.m. — Lecture

10 to 11 a.m. — Discussion

11 a.m. to noon — Writing activity

noon to 1 p.m. — Lunch (provided)

1 to 2 p.m. — Lecture

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