Main Menu

Bankhurst’s lecture to be featured on CSPAN March 25

ISSUED: 23 March 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — A lecture on Appalachian history by Shepherd University history professor Dr. Benjamin Bankhurst will be featured on CSPAN3’s American History TV on Saturday, March 25, at 8 p.m. and midnight. CSPAN videotaped the lecture “Appalachia in the American Imagination” during the fall 2016 semester.

“I am excited to see the recording and am incredibly pleased to see Shepherd featured in the series,” Bankhurst said. “I hope that this will highlight Shepherd as a premier liberal arts college and showcase the wonderful work done by faculty across the school of the Arts and Humanities. My colleagues both in my department and across the university are committed to helping students explore and understand the culture and society of this state and region.”

The class featured is West Virginia and the Appalachian Region. Bankhurst said his lecture covers the years 1850 to the present and examines how outsiders and locals alike interpret Appalachian culture in order to understand, and in many cases, justify the economy of the region.

“It also explores how residents reinvent or use folk tradition in order to create ‘usable pasts’ upon which they fashion regional, and often ethnic, identities,” he said. “I use the emergence of Scots Irish identity as a case study.”

Bankhurst said having a CSPAN crew shoot video of his lecture was a bit daunting and he admits he was a little nervous, but he said the students in the class seemed to take it all in stride.

“I was struck by how they handled the session in a calm and collected manner,” he said. “They maintained their poise even after their professor awkwardly pulled out his banjo and struggled through a tune. Our students are professionals!”

John Kelly, the field crew chief with CSPAN who oversaw the taping, said American History TV airs on weekends on CSPAN3 and captures various history-related classroom sessions to give viewers a flavor of how history is being taught around the country.

“It’s really been a great enhancement to a lot of the other things we cover public policy wise,” Kelly said.

After the class airs for the first time it will be online at CSPAN also offers podcasts of the lectures to classrooms that can be downloaded from iTunes or from its website at Those who can’t get CSPAN3 can log on to with their TV provider credentials to watch the lecture.

— 30 —