Research, Student-

   Faculty Collaborations, &

   Applied Anthropology

Cultural Attachment to Land Studies


National Geographic Society Map Includes Description by RU Professor

RADFORD -- RU professor of anthropology Melinda Wagner was one of the contributing writers in the recently released Appalachian Tourism Map Guide published by

the National Geographic Society.

Melinda WagnerAccording to Kostas Skordas, a regional planner for the Appalachian Regional Commission, the map is designed "to stimulate economic development by showcasing the incredible diversity of Appalachia's natural, cultural and heritage assets."  The map is designed as both a historical and informational piece that takes travelers on a journey throughout the 13-state Appalachian region.

Wagner's piece, titled "Central Appalachia: People, Hardwood and Coal," spoke of the region's Scots-Irish heritage and the means by which families made their income and survived. One of the major sources of income was coal mining. She wrote, "By the early 1900s, coal --  formed from 400 million year old compacted plants -- established its long 20th century reign as a defining way of life. Mining company recruits from Ellis Island and African-Americans coming up from the South brought in yet more ethnic diversity. Today less than six percent of the people of central Appalachia work in forestry or mining; most find employment in service industries."

The map is an insert in the April 2005 National Geographic Traveler magazine which is read by more than four million people. An additional 300,000 copies will be distributed by tourism offices and will target tourism mailing lists, welcome centers and trade shows.



Wagner, Melinda Bollar and Kristen L. Hedrick.  ‘You Have a Culture to Preserve Here, But We Have A Power Line to Stop’: University/Community Study of Cultural Attachment to Place, Practicing Anthropology, Spring 2001, 23(2):10-14.

Wagner, Melinda Bollar, Shannon T. Scott, and Danny Wolfe. Drawing the Line Between People and Power:  Taking the Classroom to the Community.  In Wallace, James M. Practicing Anthropology in the South.  Athens, Georgia:  University of Georgia Press, 1997.