Chris Green has been named the new director of the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center at Berea College.
He replaces award-winning author Silas House, who returns to his position as NEH Chair in Appalachian Studies after serving as interim director of the Appalachian Center.
As director, Green provides leadership for the Appalachian Center, overseeing programs serving the college and the broader Appalachian region as well as courses taught through the center. Since its establishment in 1970, the center has worked to stimulate interest in the cultures and issues in Appalachia and provide service to the region. Its outreach includes Brushy Fork Institute, a leadership training program; Grow Appalachia, a program that teaches communities to grow, share and preserve their foods; the Celebration of Traditional Music, a music festival that features traditional and folk musicians; Head of the Holler, an Appalachian talk show that is broadcast on Kentucky Educational Television, Appalachian Heritage Magazine, the Entrepreneurship for the Public Good program, and the center’s artifacts and exhibits studio.
“Serving as director of the Appalachian Center is the culmination of my life’s work to serve the mountains and multicultural America,” Green says. “I am awed and grateful for this opportunity to be part of Berea’s saga of service and fight for equality for all people and the mountains.”
Starting in 2004, Green served as a professor of English and the graduate humanities at Marshall University where he also served as co-director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Ethnography in Appalachia and chairman of the General Education Council. He also serves as vice president of the Appalachian Studies Association and co-edits Ohio University’s series on Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Appalachia.
Green earned his bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Kentucky in 1991 where he brought creative writing, social justice, and Appalachia together in a thesis about the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. After earning a master’s degree in English from Appalachian State University, a master’s degree in poetry from Indiana University and a master’s degree in secondary education from Indiana University, Green returned home where he served as a poet in the schools, edited “Wind: A Journal of Writing and Community,” and completed his doctorate on multicultural American poetry at the University of Kentucky in 2004. His dissertation later became “The Social Life of Poetry: Appalachia, Race, and Radical Modernism,” which won the 2009 non-fiction Weatherford Award from Berea College.
Green is the sixth director of the Appalachian Center. “Mr. Appalachia” Loyal Jones served as director from 1970-93. Noted scholar and activist Dr. Helen Lewis served as interim director from 1993-95. A noted historian of regional politics, Dr. Gordon McKinney served as the center’s third director from 1995-2005. From 2006-11, Dr. Chad Berry, now Berea’s academic academic vice president and dean of the faculty, served as the center’s fourth director. He was followed by award-winning author Silas House, who served as interim director prior to Green’s appointment.