This research note promotes a dialogue among disciplines about education, activism, and research in Appalachian studies. The challenges developing in our current era are occurring amidst significant changes in Appalachian studies as the field’s long-standing leaders and scholars continue to retire. In their places, new scholars are developing who, in many cases, lack the activist training and experiences of their predecessors, but whose academic preparation and interest are interdisciplinary in innovative ways. We explore past and present scholarly and activist efforts while foregrounding Reid and Taylor’s concept of the “body~place~commons.” We propose that the future of Appalachian studies depends on interdisciplinary collaboration between diverse populations of researchers and activists, and especially emerging scholars who seek to sustain and further the field. Only through an understanding of how multiple disciplines approach research, and how they can engage with one another, can a new path forward for the field develop. We conclude this note with considerations from emerging scholars for the future of the field.

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