Alumni in the News In the News

February 1, 2020 at 8:19 am

Alumni News | Expatalachians Lets Alumni Explore Their Appalachian Identity

Nick Brumfield

Nick Brumfield

WOUB interviewed Ohio University alumni Nick Brumfield, who “found that his relationship with his own Appalachian identity changed and intensified after he graduated from Ohio University with a B.A. in Political Science in 2015 and left to pursue an M.A. in Arab Studies at Georgetown University, which he received in 2017,” says the WOUB story headlined “‘Expatalachians’ Project Explores the Diverse Appalachian Identity.”

Additional College of Arts & Sciences alumni involved in the project are:

  • Alena Klimas ’17, who earned B.A. degrees in Political Science and Global Studies – War and Peace and an Islamic Studies Certificate.
  • Annie Chester ’17, who earned B.A. degrees in World Religions and Global Studies – Europe and a French and Francophone Studies Certificate.

“As I moved to Washington D.C., and met people from other parts of the country, it became very important for me personally to connect with that (Appalachian) identity and examine it more critically, and understand the history of it,” Brumfield said in an interview with WOUB about expatalachians.

expatalachians is a journalism project focused on Appalachia and written by those who left–and returned–home. Our writing covers politics, culture, and economics in the region to show its dynamism, problems, and changes,” says the project’s website. “The expatalachians team was formed in 2017 by a group of Ohio University alumni who were passionate about Appalachia. We were inspired to write and learn more about the region ourselves. For us, this project connects us to our roots in Appalachia, a place we all still call home. Nearly a year after we discussed the idea, we released our first article in October 2018. Since then we’ve continued to publish articles every week related to the environment, politics, history, and more in Appalachia.”

Read some of their recent posts:

  • Dupont’s Footprints by Klimas — “Dupont’s reach is astounding. In central Appalachia, the company’s environmental footprints can be seen across OhioWest VirginiaKentuckyVirginiaNorth Carolina, and Tennessee. Most Washington DC residents and tourists will pass through Dupont Circle, a monument to Civil War Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Dupont. Beyond America, Dupont has business in 70 countries. Its headquarters remain in Delaware, where it was founded over 200 years ago,” she writes.
  • Listening Over Mountains: Radio’s Role in Making Appalachia by Brumfield — “There are a few different ways to tell if you’re in Appalachia. If you’re the official type, you can check if your county is on a map of the Appalachian Regional Commission. If you’re more of a naturalist, you can look at the geology of the Appalachian Mountains or search for wildlife native to the region. Personally though, my favorite method is to turn on the radio and listen,” he writes.
  • The Best of Appalachia in 2019 by Chester — She begins with her No. 1: Dolly Parton’s America 
  • Thomas Wolfe’s Tales of Homecoming and Exodus by Klimas — “Like many Appalachians who leave home, Thomas Wolfe reflected on his home in the mountains, his upbringing throughout his life. Wolfe wrote with a commanding voice about nostalgia of place and much of his writing, though fiction, feels like his personal reckoning with reality. His novels, especially You Can’t Go Home Again and Look Homeward, Angel, were often reflective of his own life experience, great narrations of personal trials and adventures,” she writes.


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