GSC News

GSC’s Ashley Hopkins Gives Appalachian Cultural Pride Program At Gilmer County Historic Society Meeting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  September 26, 2013

For more information:
Bob Henry Baber
Public Relations Department
Glenville State College
304-462-6390
Bob.Baber@glenville.edu

Hopkins, Ashley GLENVILLE, WV—Ashley Hopkins, Glenville State College Student Support Services Teacher and Counselor, presented a program on Appalachian Cultural Pride to the Gilmer County Historic Society on Wednesday September 18.  Hopkins, who is working for her Doctorate of Education at Ohio University, exchanged thoughts on the stereotyping of the Appalachian people with an engaged audience. Other topics touched on in the presentation were social movements in Appalachia, regional economics, and the connection between arts and cultural pride.

“Stereotyping,” Hopkins said, “is a normal thought process that allows people to categorize an incredibly complex world.  However, taken to an extreme it can unfairly characterize ethnic groups and cultures. Appalachians have long been portrayed in literature and the media as ignorant hillbillies, lacking social, economic and educational skills.”

Citing examples such as movies like ‘Deliverance’ and ‘Wrong Turn’, as well as contemporary reality/documentary TV shows like ‘The Wild Wonderful Whites of West Virginia’ and MTV’s ‘Buck Wild’, Hopkins built the case that by focusing on negative depictions of the mountain people, the media has overlooked the far more common Appalachian traits of hard work, family values, patriotism, self-reliance and culture—including art, music, dance, storytelling, poetry and film.

Hopkins then pivoted to sharing videos, music from 2/3rds Goat, a poem titled Affrilachia, by black Appalachian writer Frank X. Walker, and other sources that celebrate the culture.  She concluded her talk by advocating for assets-based thinking for Appalachians and for the integration of Appalachian literature and history in grade and high school curriculums.

Dr. Art DeMatteo, President of the Society and Professor of History at Glenville State College, said this of the event, “Ms. Hopkins poignant topic, and the diverse resource materials she shared, evoked an unusually strong and positive emotional response from the enthusiastic attendees. We’ll look forward to having her back soon.”

Ms. Hopkins has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio and a Master’s in Education from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.  She also holds a graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies. Currently she is pursuing an Ed. D. at Ohio University where she is studying Educational Administration with an emphasis in Appalachian Literature and Education.

For more information on the presentation or GSC Student Support Services, contact Hopkins at (304) 462-6150 or ahsley.hopkins@glenville.edu

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