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Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean--Appalachian Outsiders tell all

Southern Appalachian outsiders tell allby Rob Neufeld             “Who was that woman...on the trail, the rain-matted one, the one covered in mud?”            A woman who was following her wants to know.  She’s out there in the rain, too, headed toward a cave where women were known to disappear forever,…See More
City Lights Bookstore posted an event

Carolina Writers at Home: Kathryn Byer & Thomas Rain Crowe at City Lights Bookstore

November 6, 2015 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Kathryn Byer and Thomas Rain Crowe have been included in a collection of true stories showcasing the houses where some of the most notable Southern authors have forged their writing lives. They both will be at City Lights Bookstore on Friday, November 6th at 6:30 p.m. to sign copies ofCarolina Writers at Home.  The homes in these twenty-five essays range from the classic bungalow and mid-century modern ranch house to wilder locales: a church, a trailer, and a sparsely-inhabited barrier island.…See More
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

The Land Still Speaks film and Culture Vulture fest, Oct 30

Culture festival features film about mountain eldertsfrom press releaseThe Center for Cultural Preservation presents a film festival that highlights mountain heritage, Jewish heritage and African-American heritage on October 30th at the Thomas Auditorium at Blue Ridge Community College.   The festival will feature three films, including the world premiere of a new film, The Land Still Speaks to Us which includes the voices of mountain elders throughout WNC.  There will also be music by local…See More
Mark de Castrique posted an event

Malaprop's Bookstore at Malaprop's

November 9, 2015 from 7pm to 8pm
Presenting new Sam Blackman mystery A SPECTER OF JUSTICESee More
Oct 3
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

A Chronology of Asheville and WNC Events in History

                                   IMPORTANT DATES IN ASHEVILLE HISTORY                                                                 by Rob Neufeld 1000: The Cherokee, who’d introduced maize agriculture to the region, began cultivating beans. 1540: Hernando De Soto led troops to East Tennessee through either the Hickory Nut or Swannanoa Gap, finding gold and copper and inspiring a succession of Spanish miners. 1663: Charles II bestows territory between the 31st and 36th parallels in America…See More
Oct 3
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Root-diggers of Appalachia

People in the Lost Provinces were herb-gatherersby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: Three herbal products offered by S.B. Penick’s, once the world’s largest herb distributor, its largest warehouse located in Asheville.             “Last week, during a research trip to the ‘Lost Provinces,’” Luke Manget said about the landscape…See More
Oct 3
Mark de Castrique posted a video

A Specter of Justice Preview

A Preview of the new Sam Blackman mystery to be released November 3, 2015
Oct 1
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

"Us versus Them" does not help fight against racism; worsens sectionalism

“Us versus them” is not good historyby Rob Neufeld             Writing about history and the complex lives that play out within it does not sell as well as team spirit, especially in this age of clicks and likes.            I recently confronted this truth when I wrote my article last week about the minds of our leaders in 1851. The word “slavery” was added to the headline to alert people to its relevance.  Seeing that term connected people to a cause they felt strongly about, particularly in…See More
Sep 27
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Player of Games and the Millennial Mind

Player of Games reveals today’s game-changing mentalityby Rob Neufeld             There is something big happening in Millennial Generation literature, and I thought I’d try to get a handle on it.            To give an idea of one aspect of current thinking: I was at a gathering recently, plenty of youngsters, and I…See More
Sep 27
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event

Julia Nunnally Duncan Book Signing at MACA Building

October 10, 2015 from 9am to 1pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will sign her books at the McDowell Arts Council Association (MACA) Booth at the annual Mountain Glory Festival on Saturday, October 10 from 9-1.See More
Sep 22
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Sep 22
Ann Miller Woodford shared their photo on Facebook
Sep 21
Ann Miller Woodford posted a photo

Deacon Chrisenberry -Berry- Howell (1855-1938) on horseback. From the collection of Purel Miller (2)

My maternal great grandfather, Chrisenberry Howell, who was called "Berry" Howell in Swain County. From the Purel Miller collection. Submitted by Ann Miller Woodford
Sep 21
James D. Loy posted a blog post

The skull merchant, the dead ape, and the narcoleptic mortician

Hello "The Read on WNC" readers:     I'm posting this note to announce the publication of vol. 3 in my "Loy's Loonies" series.  This one is called The Mortician's Road Trip and it's a bit more of a mystery than my earlier books. Here's a teaser for the story.     Upstate New Yorker Baz Rathbone makes ends meet by selling human skulls. By contract, he should cremate them, but he doesn’t. His little business comes to the attention of the FBI when a woman spots her late husband’s skull being used…See More
Sep 20
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Sep 19

ASU name expert, Dr. Donna Lillian, reveals fruits of study

Words with friends; Appalachian professor leads American Name Society

Article from Appalachian State University

BOONE—Onomastics. It’s a word a computer spellchecker won’t recognize but one that speaks volumes to those who study names and naming practices.

Dr. Donna L. Lillian, director of the women’s studies program at Appalachian State University and an associate professor of English, is an onomastician and has begun a two-year term as president of the American Name Society (ANS), the oldest scholarly society devoted to the study of names in the United States. She took office earlier this month during the society’s annual meeting held in Boston in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America.

“Names have a lot to do with identity,” Lillian said. “So if we want to know who we are, then one way of exploring that is what we call ourselves, all the things we do and interact with.”

Onomastics also encompasses a range of academic areas of interest, Lillian explained. For example, areas of interest to researchers include names in politics, religion and literature. Society members who are geographers study names of cities, towns, streets, mountains or rivers.

“If you look at the place names of North America, you can learn a lot about history, migration patterns and values,” Lillian said. “Scholars of literature will often study names in favorite pieces of literature or those used by certain authors, such as Dickens who did interesting things with his characters’ names,” Lillian said.

Dickens’ colorful and character-defining include Mr. Sloppy, Artful Dodger and of course, Scrooge. Others study trade names.

“Trends in name choices for children can say something about what we as a society are preoccupied with,” Lillian said. “If a particular individual such as an athlete, actor or politician gains quite a bit of popularity, then a lot of people start naming their child after that person. Historically you can look back and see what were some of those preoccupations.” 

Each year during its annual meeting, the American Name Society votes on the preceding year’s top personal name, place name, trade name and fictional name.  Winners were Malala, Gangman, fiscal cliff and Downton Abbey, respectively.  Malala was selected because the name has become associated with a cause – advocating for education of Pakistani girls, particularly in an area controlled by the Taliban.

The society’s overall name of the year was Sandy for its association with Hurricane Sandy and Sandy Hook Elementary School, Lillian said.

Lillian’s interest in names was fueled while teaching a language and gender course while a master’s degree candidate at the University of Toronto. “I began thinking about women’s marital name choices, our naming practices in general and how the family surname is virtually always the father’s surname,” she said. “For my master’s thesis, I did an empirical study on patterns of women’s naming choices and the courtesy title Ms.”

She has continued her research on women’s use of surnames when they marry and their use of the courtesy titles Miss, Ms. or Mrs. and how those trends have changed during the past 30 years.

“There have been some interesting shifts,” Lillian said. “In the mid-80s, there was a growing trend toward women keeping their surname when they married. Professional women and younger women were more likely to keep their name. Women who had married before the mid-70s changed their name.”

That trend began changing in the mid-90s. “The trend is reversing itself now among younger women. Fewer women under 30 are keeping their name when they marry,” Lillian said. Some of the women Lillian surveyed recounted the hassles their mother encountered by keeping her surname and didn’t want a similar experience. “There was also a big connection with a return to conservative values including a family all having the same surname.”

When it comes to the use of Ms., the trends are also interesting. Originally used to eliminate the distinction between Miss and Mrs., Lillian said that by the 1980s many people had a negative association with Ms., equating it with feminism or radical overtones, or a title used by divorced women.

“By 2006, people assumed it was a third title, not associated with feminism, and they are surprised to learn it was meant to replace Miss or Mrs. The women I surveyed thought it was a handy third term to indicate someone who is separated or divorced or to use as a placeholder if you don’t know their marital status. It has undergone quite a shift.”

Lillian recently has been researching the various names of the 750 college and university women’s studies programs in the U.S., any changes that have occurred over the years and why. “Within my field now, that’s a big topic of discussion,” she said.  Program names range from women’s studies to gender studies or gender and sexuality studies.

In addition to her duties as president of the American Name Society, Lillian, with the help of Dr. Cheryl Claassen from Appalachian’s Department of Anthropology,
hopes to revive the Blue Ridge Names Society and hold a conference in the fall.

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