Pennsylvania as Appalachia: Creative Responses to an Ambiguous Identity

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Northeast Modern Language Association, Baltimore, MD, 10-13 March, 2022


This panel asks poets and prose writers to share work that examines what and how Pennsylvania contributes to Appalachian culture. Panel members will read about ten minutes of original creative work and have about five minutes to explain how their work fits in to the idea of Pennsylvania as Appalachia. In his recent book Appalachia North, Matthew Ferrence argues that a large segment of Pennsylvania is part of Appalachia and should be identified as such. The Appalachian Regional Commission designates 52 of the commonwealth’s 67 counties as Appalachia, for the most part only excluding the southeast portion of the state: Philadelphia and its suburbs, and the flat farmland of “Pennsylvania Dutch” country. Do Pennsylvanian see themselves as part of Appalachia, a place that in popular culture is often identified with people dwelling in the hills of the rural south, and often of Scots-Irish descent? Do the descendants of Slavic anthracite miners in northeastern Pennsylvania share a culture with those of coal miners in West Virginia and Kentucky? Submit abstracts with description of work and how it fits into these guidelines to Deadline 9/30/21.