Skip to content
Humanities Program  

News & Events

Printer-friendly version

Festival of Dionysus in the Mountain South

Festival of Dionysus in the Mountain SouthApril 23, 2014

Follow us on Facebook

At the Spring Symposium on April 23rd, 6 faculty members and more than 60 students have teamed up to provide the UNC Asheville community with an opportunity to learn about ancient Greek and traditional Southern Appalachian traditions. Festival goers will have the opportunity to explore connections between the ancient Greek and traditional Southern Appalachian practices of theater, music, science, and medicine as well as the foodways and healing properties of plants from both traditions.

The Festival of Dionysus is a collaboration between faculty and students in the Classics, Drama, Health and Wellness, Biology, Mathematics, and Masters of Liberal Arts departments/programs as well as the Food for Thought cluster. It is funded by an ILS Interdisciplinary Studies Block Grant, the Breman Professorship, the Undergraduate Research Program, and the NEH Distinguished Professorship.

What is happening when?

4:45 pm – Festival begins with a Torch Race around the athletic fields starting and ending on the outdoor track (behind the Sherrill Center). Event is hosted by Kurt Hibert and Courtney Henry (students in Dr. Boudreaux’s History of Math course and members of the UNCA Track and Field team.)

5:30 to 6:30 pm – Live Ancient Greek Theatre: performance of Sophocles’ Philoctetes, translated by Dr. Mills’ Greek Tragedy class (Daniel, Alyssa, Joe, Courtney, Kinsey, Maria and Weston) Plays are directed by Rob Berls and performed by Drama students and others. Musical accompaniment provided by Jason Wingert and alum Kevin Rumley.

6:30 to 7:15 pm – Dionysian and Southern Appalachian Feast – Menu based on recipes and ingredients from ancient Greece and from Appalachian traditions with an eye to promoting health and longevity. Planned and prepared by Dr. Lanou’s Foodways of the Blue Zones class (Shawna, Nambi, Emma, Cheyenne, Nick, Meredith, Aimee, Maija, Jess, Alannah and Kristina). Feast tables in Health and Wellness and NCCHW lobby in Sherrill Center (above Rosetta’s).

Traditional Southern Appalachian music provided by The Fruitlanders.

6:30 to 7:15 pm – Learn more about ancient Greek and Southern Appalachian traditions of science, math, medicine, and plants by viewing the Festival of Dionysus in the Mountain South posters and demonstrations in Sherrill Center second floor lobby (outside of SHE 402).

  • Ancient Science and Math Posters and Demonstrations – Ever wonder what science and technology existed in the ancient world? Learn about and actually handle models built by Dr. Boudreaux’s History of Math class in and near SHE second floor lobby. (details below)
  • Plants as Medicine Posters – Research presented by Dr. Clarke’s Plants and Humans class in conjunction with the Food for Thought topical cluster. (details below)
  • Cultural Perspectives on Health and Disease Posters – Research presented by Dr. Wingert’s Pathophysiology of Chronic Disease and Illness class in conjunction with the Food for Thought topical cluster. (details below)

7:15 to 8:30 pm – Appalachian Foodways Presentations – Learn about Appalachian food traditions through presentations by Dr. Abrams Locklear’s Masters of Liberal Arts students.

  • Stan Cross will discuss the importance and viability of regional food systems in Western North Carolina, focusing primarily on local meat production, weaving in a personal story about connecting with food.
  • Bill Jackson will discuss the history of trout in Southern Appalachia, including government efforts to preserve trout populations, the environmental impacts extractive industry and air pollution have had on these populations, and the role that hatcheries play today in trout fishing and consumption.
  • Nina Hall will draw from archival research, including interview transcripts and close analysis of photographs, to discuss how urban renewal in Asheville disrupted food access and foodways practices in the East End.  


Reclaiming Sacred Ground: Native American Self-Representation in Film

Smoke Signals Rescheduled for Febraury 5th at West Asheville Library starting at 6:30 PM 

Reclaiming Sacred Ground PosterLed by UNC Asheville professors Trey Adcock, Reid Chapman and Sarah Judson, "Reclaiming Sacred Ground: Native American Self-Representation in Film" is a 4-part film and discussion series at the West Asheville Library beginning in January.

The series will start with Smoke Signals, the first feature film made by a Native American crew and creative team, at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

The next three films in this series will be:

  • February 26 - Barking Water

  • March 19 - The Fast Runner

  • April 23 - The Cherokee Word for Water (screening at Pack Memorial Library).


More Information

Part of the Spring 2014 Engaged Collaborative Humanities Projects


Spring 2014 NEH Engaged Collaborative Humanities Projects Announced

Congratulations to the Spring 2014 grant recipients! 

Starting last year, the NEH Dintinguished Professorship began offering stipends for projects that connect a traditional humanities discipline with some other field. These projects are then shared with a broader audience through talk, performance, exhibition, and so on. 

Spring 2014 Projects:

  1. Searching for REEL Indians
  2. Invisible Inequality: The History & Legacy of U.S. Mass Incarceration
  3. Re-visioned Classics
  4. The Human Wellness Project
  5. The Iquiring "I": First-Person Inquiry Across Disciplines and Domains

Project Descriptions 

Dr. Brian HookHumanities Program Announces New Director

Academic Affairs and University Programs are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Brian Hook to the directorship of the Humanities Program.  Brian has taught in the program since his arrival in 2001 and brings with him seven years of experience as coordinator of HUM 124.  In addition to lecturing regularly in the program, he was one of the editors of the HUM 124 reader and is the assessment liaison for the HUM program. 

We also wish to thank Grant Hardy for his stewardship of the Humanities Program for the past three years.  During his tenure as Humanities Director, Grant worked as a member of the Curriculum Review Task Force and supported a number of faculty development and programming initiatives.  



UNC Asheville Magazine Article

Cornel West Speaks in Kimmel Arena. Photo: Renato Rotolo/Urban News

Cornel WestCornel West

Philosopher, Author & Activist

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 7:30p.m.

Sherrill Center, Kimmel Arena

"Author and political philosopher Dr. Cornel West discussed the role of race, gender and class in America before a full house at the University of North Carolina Asheville’s Kimmel Arena on Wednesday night."
Mountain Express 

"A line wound around UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center Wednesday evening as students, faculty and community members came out to hear Cornel West speak."
Asheville Citizen Times 

"When he speaks, whether privately to a fan or publicly to a crowd of three thousand like the one that sat raptly listening at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Arena Nov. 6, he focuses like a laser on the subject at hand, even as his mind makes connections between Plato and Foucault, DuBois and Douglass, Nina Simone, Barack Obama, and local historian Darin Waters."
Urban News

Sponsored by UNC Asheville History Department,Thomas Howerton Distinguished Professor of Humanities,NEH Distinguished Professor, Provost, Associate Provost,Dean of Humanities, Multicultural Student Programs,University Advancement, and Center for Diversity Education

The Heart of the Matter

On June 19, 2013 the American Academy of Arts & Sciences' Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences released a report called The Heart of the Matter. 

Follow this link to view the report, see a brief film overview and watch the report briefing.


Graelin Chidsey

Graelin Chidsey

Among the Profiles of Noteworthy May 2013 Graduates was Humanities Minor, Graelin Chidsey.

Graelin transferred to UNC Asheville from N.C. State University's engineering program with plans to become a teacher and refocus on her love of literature. While majoring in literature and language, she minored in humanities and earned two teaching licensures, for grades 6-9 language arts and 9-12 English. As she was completing her student teaching at AC Reynolds Middle School this spring, she was asked to take over the class full-time when another teacher went on leave. This August, she will begin teaching eighth-grade humanities at her middle school alma mater, Paisley International Baccalaureate Magnet School in Winston-Salem. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with departmental distinction and cum laude honors.

 Learn more about our Humanities Minor

My UNC Asheville classes included French studies and African art and literature. It is a world-focus model – you learn how people function in society. So I have a solid humanities foundation and I feel really prepared to design and teach the course at Paisley ... it's a great opportunity. – Graelin Chidsey

Linda Cornett

Linda Cornett receiving her award at the commencement ceremony.

Dr. Cornett was recently awarded the 2013 Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Cornett continues to work side-by-side with her students in the 16 different courses that she has taught in as many years at UNC Asheville. She currently chairs the Political Science Department and previously directed the International Studies Program – an interdisciplinary major that draws classes from political science, economics, foreign languages, and mass communication to name a few. It’s an idea sparked during her undergraduate experience at a liberal arts college in her home state of Kentucky, where she sampled several subjects before settling into political science. She earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of Washington, with a plan to research the intersection of economics and politics, but she fell in love with teaching, a passion apparent to students and other faculty members.

Students leave Cornett’s classes prepared for their future courses at UNC Asheville, graduate school or a career in international affairs. In a larger context, they are ready to take on the world, and that’s what Cornett strives for, as summed up by one of her favorite readings.

“In an article we read in Humanities 414 by E.F. Schumacher, he argued that the real value of education is not that you learn facts and figures, it’s that you gain a set of intellectual tools that make your world intelligible to you. You don’t feel helpless, alienated and frightened by it. You feel empowered. That’s always inspired me,” she said. “I’m not telling my students how to think, or giving them facts and figures, but providing the intellectual tools to understand world affairs and be able to contribute to a better world.”

Last edited by on April 15, 2014