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Lectures on mountain regions of Ukraine and Spain presented March 26

BOONE—Scholars from Ukraine and Spain will present lectures on mountain regions in their home countries Wednesday, March 26, from 2-5 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union’s Table Rock Room at Appalachian State University. The final lecture will compare literary representations of Andalusia and Appalachia.

The lectures are sponsored by the Center for Appalachian Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of International Education and Development. The event is free and open to the public.

Following opening remarks and introductions by Dr. Katherine Ledford, program director of the Center for Appalachian Studies, Dr. Iryna Galushchak will lecture on “The Ukrainian Carpathians: Strategic Goals for Economic Development in a Depressed Highland Region,” beginning at 2:15 p.m.

The talk addresses the depressed economic conditions in the highlands using the latest available government data. Communities in the highlands currently suffer from high unemployment, low wages, high rates of outmigration, and lack of modern infrastructure. After summarizing the social conditions in the mountains, the presenter will outline possible strategic goals for economic development, which could include a variety of local, regional, state, and even international partnerships.

At 2:40 p.m., the talk “Seasons of Life: Traditions, Holidays, and Customs in the Carpathian Highlands,” will be presented by Dr. Nadia Lutsan. The talk focuses on folkloric celebrations presently practiced in mountain communities. Despite economic hardships, centuries-old cultural traditions are still found in many highland communities. The presentation will document these practices over the seasonal round, from spring Easter celebrations to Christmas caroling and local “Vertep” performances at year’s end.

Dr. Oleksandra Khallo will present “Highland Healers: The Past and Present Use of Folk Medicicne in the Ukrainian Carpathians” beginning at 3 p.m. The talk addresses the use of traditional plants and herbs in the daily treatment of illnesses and injuries in the Carpathians. While folk medicine has evolved considerably in the highlands, many in the mountains still see the use of natural remedies as a primary method of treating sickness. Some mountain teachers even incorporate this knowledge into their course curriculum and place locally gathered “phyto-medicines” in school infirmaries.

The presentations conclude at 4 p.m. with a comparative analysis between the literatures of Andalusia and Appalachia titled “Appalachia and Andalusia as the Mountain South: Discovered, Exploited and Stereotyped,” presented by Dr. Carmen Rueda. Appalachia and Andalusia are two mountain regions in the south of the U.S. and of Europe, respectively, which share striking similarities.

Authors like Mary Noailles Murfree and John Fox, Jr., based their works of fiction on superficial impressions of Appalachia and mountaineers, creating stereotypes that persist today. But across the Atlantic, authors like Washington Irving, George Borrow, Françoise-René Chateubriand, Prosper Merimée and Alexandre Dumas, to name only a few, also canonized otherness in Andalusia by exploiting stereotypical images in popular literary works.

About the speakers

Iryna Galushchak is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. She has authored more than 20 articles on the economic problems of the Carpathian region and has presented her work at numerous national and international conferences. Her interests include regional development, strategic planning, and economic auditing.

Oleksandra Khallo is an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Education at Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. Her interests include the health condition of Carpathian residents as well as their past and present use of folk remedies, especially those that require knowledge of native plants and herbs. She has authored more than 30 articles on the prevalence and problems of disease in the mountain region and has attended a number of international and national conferences and forums on rural health.

Nadia Lutsan is professor and head of the Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of Primary Education at Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. Lutsan is the author of more 150 published articles on the problems of childhood development, elementary school education, and teacher training. She has a deep and abiding interest in Carpathian folk culture and has also done extensive fieldwork on the traditions and folk customs of Ukrainian highlanders.

Carmen Rueda is associate professor of English at Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain. She is the author of “Voicing the Self: Female Identity and Language in Lee Smith’s Fiction” (2009). In 2010, she was a Fulbright visiting scholar at UNC at Chapel Hill, where she conducted research on contemporary Appalachian fiction.

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