Margo Shea comes to the Collaborative from Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts, a place steeped in history and grappling with the significance of its past in the present and for the future. As Assistant Professor of Public History, Margo has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in public history, local history and heritage, museums and urban history as well as a slate of courses in the general education curriculum. She coordinated the internship program for the History Department and built partnerships with students and various collaborators around key themes, including developing community on campus, amplifying the voices of new immigrants in the region, developing strong relationships with practitioner public historians and engaging the legacy of Salem’s witch hysteria in order to advocate for social justice today.

Trained in public history, cultural geography and the study of memory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Margo’s graduate work focused primarily on history and memory of a place complicated enough to warrant two separate names, Derry and Londonderry, Northern Ireland. After documenting the city’s memorial landscape, she became intrigued in the memories and histories that do not get marked in the landscape or whose mark fades over time; this led to doctoral work on the history of nationalist/Catholic community memory in Derry from the turn of the twentieth century through the Troubles. A manuscript based on her doctoral dissertation is currently under review with Notre Dame Press.  She has published in various journals and anthologies on topics related to memory and place and writes regularly about these issues on her blog: www.theflickeringlamp/org.

Margo also brings experience and expertise in community economic development, service-learning and campus-community partnership building to the Collaborative.  She reports that she is excited to come to the Collaborative because the model it seeks to develop is innovative and equally dedicated to both ideas and to practical and lasting social, economic and environmental change in the region. The Collaborative’s emphasis on honoring and building on the diverse strengths and capacities of its affiliates makes it a place with which she is glad to be associated.  She is looking forward to settling in, getting familiar with the area and meeting the people that call it home during her time with the Collaborative.


Dr. Shea offered the following courses during her fellowship with the Collaborative:

Introduction to Public History

Place, Memory, and Identity

Place-Based Research and Heritage Site Interpretation

Dr. Shea is now Assistant Professor of History at Salem State University.

Additional Information:

Step into History: Free Historical Tours of the Highlander Folk School Site

Sewanee Students to Help Create a “Pop-Up” History Museum in Monteagle, TN

Sewanee students continue to share the story of the Highlander Folk School

Places Project on Sewanee Features

Spatial Humanities: A Conversation with Richard Apgar and Margo Shea






Laura_Attanasio_profileLaura Attanasio will receive her Ph.D. in June 2017 in Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Her interdisciplinary graduate training included a focus in the sociology of health and illness and a minor in population studies. Her research examines how social factors shape access to and quality of healthcare, particularly in the context of women’s reproductive health.

Laura has published on topics including the HPV vaccine, breastfeeding, contraception, and various aspects of the childbirth experience. Her dissertation explored the role of the patient-provider relationship in determining use of labor induction and cesarean delivery, and whether this relationship explains racial/ethnic and socioeconomic status disparities in procedure use. The first manuscript from her dissertation was published in October 2015 in Medical Care. Laura’s research interests have also been shaped by community engagement. She participated in a community-university research collaboration with a Twin Cities non-profit organization that provides culturally-appropriate doula care (non-medical labor support) to low-income women. Publications stemming from this work influenced policy discussions in the Minnesota legislature, which resulted in legislation allowing Medicaid reimbursement for doula services.

In her work with the Collaborative, Laura hopes to build on existing partnerships between Sewanee and Yale faculty, the local community, and health-related organizations to explore experiences in the healthcare system in Southern Appalachia and generate information that can be used to enhance health and wellbeing. She is also excited to add to Sewanee’s health-related course offerings, with planned courses on health policy and the history and politics of American midwifery that pay particular attention to the context of Southern Appalachia.


Dr. Attanasio offered the following courses during her fellowship with the Collaborative:

History and Politics of Midwifery in the United States

Health Policy in the United States: National, State and Local Contexts

Dr. Attanasio is now Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.




Stephen Carmody is a paleoethnobotanist who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Carmody specializes in the origins of agriculture, with a focus on the southeastern U.S. His native cultigen project aims to determine if places like the top of the Cumberland Plateau, with its marginal soil and uncertain moisture, can sustain indigenous plants in sufficient quantities to make them economically viable alternative food sources. Dr. Carmody will begin his position as a Mellon Fellow with the Collaborative for Southern Appalachian Studies in January 2017.


Dr. Carmody offered the following courses during his fellowship with the Collaborative:

Food, Agriculture, and Social Justice in Southern Appalachia and Beyond

Dr. Carmody is now Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Troy University

Additional Information:

Mueller, N.G., Fritz, G.J., Patton, P., Carmody, S., & Horton, E.T. (1027). Growing the lost crops of eastern North America’s original agricultural system. Nature Plants, 3, 1-5.

Carmody, S.B., Sherwood, S.C., Hoagland, C.(2017). From the past…A more sustainable future? Prehistoric plant use in the Eastern Woodlands. The SAA Archaeological Record, 17, 10-16.
From the Past a More Sustainable Future





Stephen Carmody to Continue Work on Native Cultigens as Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Collaborative


Native Cultigen Project featured on Planet Forward

Incoming Post-Doc Stephen Carmody’s Native Cultigen Project Featured in Blue Ridge Outdoors