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Public invited to Women of Appalachia lecture and book signing

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (Oct. 10, 2006) -- Individuals interested in Appalachian culture, women’s issues, or who enjoy hearing success stories about others who have overcome obstacles to get an education are invited to attend a lecture, reception and book signing Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. at Ohio University’s Eastern Campus in St. Clairsville. 

Dr. Katherine Sohn, associate professor of English at Pikeville College in Kentucky, will be the guest speaker.  Sohn is the author of "Whistlin' and Crowin' Women of Appalachia: Literacy Practices Since College." 

According to Sohn's publisher, Southern Illinois University Press,  "Even some enlightened academicians automatically - and incorrectly - connect illiteracy to Appalachia. . . .  After overhearing two education professionals ridicule the southern accent of a waiter, Sohn wondered why rural, working-class white people are not considered part of the multicultural community.  [This book] examines the power of women to rise above cultural constraints, complete their college degrees, assume positions of responsibility and, ultimately, come to voice."

In this book, Sohn looks at the lives of eight women who became college students later in life.  She examines what their fears were when starting college - fears like not being successful in class or losing their common sense once they earned their college education. 

Several of the women went to college to set examples for their children, but they did not want to lose their own identity - their accents, their popular sayings, their culture - in the process.  They wanted to be true to their heritage. 

Sohn emphasizes that there are different kinds of literacies. Literacy is not just the ability to read and write.  Rather, she stresses that common sense is a type of literacy.  Quiltmaking is a type of literacy.  All skills represent a type of literacy and they are all important.  They are no less important than the literacy of book learning, and the women in this book brought many types of literacies with them when they started college.  The professors then helped them learn the academic literacy and the power that this type of literacy can have on one’s life.   

This is the first event in the 2006-07 lecture series sponsored by the Diversity Committee at Ohio University's Eastern Campus. 

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Media Contact: Eastern Campus Director of Marketing and Public Relations Crystal Lorimor, (740) 699-2356 or lorimor@ohio.edu

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