Saturday, January 16, 2010

The new edition of "Traditions: A Journal of West Virginia Folk Culture and Educational Awareness" focuses on the "Roads to Appalachia" Study and Travel Abroad Program.

The journal, a publication of the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University, is co-edited by Dr. Judy P. Byers, Abelina Suarez Professor of English and Folklore, Senior Level, and Director of the Folklife Center, and Noel W. Tenney, Cultural Specialist for the Folklife Center.

The "Roads to Appalachia" program seeks to connect the various populations found in North Central West Virginia to their root heritage in various parts of Europe. Once the historic contexts have been established, the study program explores the connections through research, course work and community study. All those efforts culminate in travel to the country of origin of the population being studied. "Roads to Appalachia' has taken students, faculty, teachers and community members to Scotland, Ireland, Italy, England and Wales. A trip in the summer of 2010 will see the travel research base move to Eastern Europe - Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland.

"Traditions" Volume 11 gives readers an opportunity to travel along on some of these journeys.

"Enjoy reading how the Appalachian mountain ‘folk' were and still are connected through the roots of history, folklore, culture, no matter whether they began their journey in the coal valleys and hills of Wales, up the highlands of Scotland, across the Irish Sea to Ulster, down the crooked paths to Limerick, or over La Sila mountains of southern Italy," Byers and Tenney write in the preface to "Traditions" Volume 11.

The journal's content includes the following: works by West Virginia teachers who have brought the world into their classrooms through innovative units and lessons; articles about students who have experienced the world as an extended classroom and returned to FSU as ambassadors for the importance of international study; and writings about an Appalachian Teaching Project that proposes a new history museum.

The journal now called "Traditions" began in 1951 with folklorist Dr. Ruth Ann Musick as its editor. In 1951, it was called "West Virginia Folklore Journal" and retained that name until 1992-1993 when its name was changed to "Traditions" to recognize the enhancement of its content, which included scholarship, book reviews and educational applications.

Volume 11 of "Traditions" contains folklore from different countries and cultures, which is a sampling of what is housed in the estate archives of Dr. Ruth Ann Musick. The journal continues the folklore traditions of the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center as the center's official publication for the region and beyond.

For more information, call Dr. Judy P. Byers at (304) 367-4286 or the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at (304) 367-4403. Copies of "Traditions" are available for $6 in the Fairmont State University Bookstore, located on the main campus in Fairmont. Copies of the journal can be ordered by calling (304) 367-4403. Back copies of other volumes also are available.