During his several years in the Cincinnati area, Jonathan Bradshaw contributed immeasurably to the Appalachian renaissance that emerged with the formation of UACC. He was a stalwart trooper for our cause, contributing astute guidance and tireless labor. And when the time came to celebrate, his band provided always-certain traditional Appalachian sounds. Foremost, he and Susan charmed us as doting parents as they brought two beautiful children into our world.
All the while, he was hard at work on his dissertation at Miami University. Titled Rhetorics of Remaining: The Production and Circulation of Cultural Rhetorics in Appalachian Civic Organizations, his dissertation can be found at http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=miami1464681132. Jonathan’s field is rhetoric and his dissertation is about how two Appalachian organizations, the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition and Appalshop used language about Appalachian identity to frame their programming and claims for change in public policy. In the work of both organizations, Bradshaw asserts, identity is claimed as an asset in forming strategies for social change.
While working on his dissertation, Jonathan made himself useful to the organizations he was studying by helping them design their websites and social media strategies. What he found interesting about UACC and Appalshop was the interest these organizations had in helping Appalachians remain Appalachian. They have leveraged the concept of “Appalachian” as a powerful resource for community and cultural identity. Both organizations consciously fought negative stereotypes and presented positive images of Appalachian people. “’Rhetorics of remaining’ asks how cultural groups emplace and empower themselves rhetorically and toward civic ends,” writes Bradshaw. Through mobilizing people for civic participation, organizations like UACC, seek to transform institutions (such as United Way and city government) that would otherwise seek to transform them. Whether your interest is Appalachian culture, history, or use of language, Bradshaw’s dissertation is worth reading.
Jonathan has taken a teaching job at Western Carolina University in Culowhee, North Carolina. We miss him, and we wish him and Susan well in their new life.