This Appalacia Life

Read Joshua’s Latest posts here: Faith

Appalachia Needs a Reformation,  October 31, 2017

Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran – Sylva, NC

August 7, 2017



Joshua Wilkey

This Appalacia Life is written by Joshua Wilkey.  Joshua writes about Appalachia with a particular focus on the region’s long struggle with poverty.  In Joshua’s words,

“The parts of my identity most important to me can be summed up with a list: husband, Lutheran Christian, educator, historian, dog dad, writer, homesteader, woodturner, environmentalist, and social justice activist.​

A lifelong resident of Appalachia, I currently reside in western North Carolina with my wife Betsy, our three dogs, and a quirky assortment of fowl. We live on an old homestead in the Whittier community, where we grow our own organic vegetables and eggs.

By training, I’m an historian with a focus on modern United States history, and I teach at a small liberal arts college that focuses on experiential education. In addition to my work as a professor, I am also a woodturner, specializing in pens, bowls, and pepper mills.

I tend to write from an historical perspective, and my goal is to understand Appalachia and the people who live here – especially those who are impoverished – in historical context. The region has a complicated past, and in the spirit of the historians I admire most, I work every day to find, write about, and teach a “useable past” that can help us better understand where we are and what the future can look like for us.

If you have read any of my essays, you likely already know that I do not observe from the sidelines. I have strong opinions about Appalachia, and I believe those of us who love the region are called to fight for it. Our neighbors and our communities are, in many cases, suffering. It is my hope that through this website we can work toward understanding that suffering and its root causes and work toward crafting solutions that are rooted in re-humanizing those who have long been neglected, forgotten, or invisible.


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