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Dr. Tammy Clemons

I grew up in Montgomery County, Kentucky, and my family's historical roots are in Eastern Kentucky and East Tennessee. I am a graduate of Berea College as well as its first Women’s Studies major. While pursuing a graduate degree at Harvard, I worked for two years as a manuscript desk assistant at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Much of my masters-level graduate work focused on feminist liberation theologies, ecofeminism, leadership and organizing, and community activism. I also conducted two ethnographic studies on the Schlesinger Library as part of a course on “ethnographic imaginations” while I worked there. After grad school, I worked at Berea College for almost a decade; four-and-a-half years as the Executive Assistant to the President, and three-and-a-half years as the College's campus-wide Sustainability Coordinator. I returned to the President's Office to serve again as President Shinn's Executive Assistant during his last year at Berea while simultaneously beginning my first year of doctoral study in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky.

My doctoral career in the UK Department of Anthropology included working with Dr. Ann Kingsolver as my advisor, and my coursework focused on development; political economy; popular education; youth as a cultural category; cultural production; and media literacy, education, and activism in Appalachian and Latin American contexts. In 2014, I completed a graduate certificate from the UK Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and earned an MA in cultural anthropology in 2016. I worked as a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Kingsolver's APP 200 Introduction to Appalachian Studies course as well as for Dr. Juliana McDonald and Dr. Hsain Ilahiane in ANT 160 Cultural Diversity in the Modern World. In spring 2015, I taught ANT 160 as my own standalone course. My dissertation, Producing Possibilities: Envisioning and Mediating Youth, Identities, and Futures in Central Appalachia, focuses on how young visual media makers in different social contexts in Appalachia envision, construct, and act upon possibilities for young people in the region. I completed fieldwork in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. As part of my dissertation research, I completed an oral history collection on "Youth Activism in Different Generations in Appalachia," which was funded by a project grant and transcription grant from the Kentucky Oral History Commission and is housed in the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History. I taught as an adjunct instructor at Berea College in Spring 2020 (Special Topics course on ethnographic research methods in Peace and Social Justice Studies) and Fall 2021 (Understandings of Christianity: Appalachian Perspectives on Faith & Justice).

I am also a media artist and have made more than 50 short videos over the past decade. I am especially interested in film/video as a medium for storytelling, not only in the context of researching and documenting on behalf of others but in helping communities and individuals to tell their own stories through film as well. My partner and I co-produce a multi-media documentary project about her grandparents Frances and John Reedy, who were founding Bluegrass musicians and songwriters ( For Fall 2009, we were awarded an Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship where we began the formal research phase of the documentary and donated the Reedys' collection of recordings and memorabilia to the Berea College Special Collections and Sound Archives. Concurrent with this fellowship, we completed the Community Scholars certification program sponsored by the Kentucky Folklife Program. For this documentary project, we were also awarded a Family Research Fellowship from the Kentucky Historical Society, an Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and an Artistic Assistance Grant from Alternate ROOTS.

I have participated in several film courses and workshops, and I taught a Berea College Short Term course called “Acting the Part: Filmmaking and Community Activism” in January 2009. I also offered a short workshop on “Filmmaking and Activism: Organizing Film Screenings for Social and Environmental Justice” at the 2009 Campus-Community Partnerships for Sustainability Conference, where I also co-coordinated the “Water and Climate Change Film Festival.” From 2007-2011, I co-produced the local Clear Creek Film Festival featuring film/video projects “focused on but not limited to natural and sustainable living, Appalachian storytelling, Appalachian youth culture, global awareness/human rights, and any films created or produced by local media artists.” I was invited to serve as a jury member at the 2013 Festival Internacional de Cine de los Derechos Humanos (International Human Rights Film Festival) in Sucre, Bolivia. In summer 2014, I volunteered as an Assistant Media Teacher for Camp Steele at High Rocks Educational Corporation in West Virginia, and in the summers of 2015-2018, I served as the lead Media Teacher as staff for the same program. For four summers, I also spent time visiting and volunteering with the Appalachian Media Institute (AMI) in Whitesburg, Kentucky. In 2016, I participated in a month-long Fall Youth Theater Lab that was a collaborative theater workshop facilitated by AMI and Roadside Theater and resulted in an original short play that was publicly performed for a community audience. In November 2017, I participated in the Hurricane Gap Community Theater Institute at Pine Mountain Settlement School.

In 2018, I was juried as a media artist into the Kentucky Arts Council Teaching Artist Directory and the Berea College Partners for Education Promise Neighborhood Teaching Artist Directory. I have led or participated in media arts projects as a visiting teaching artist in several Kentucky public schools, including but not limited to those served by Partners for Education (now Partners for Rural Impact or PRI) through the "Our Creative Promise" and "Arts Connect Appalachian Youth" projects funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. I helped document lessons learned from the "Our Creative Promise" project and helped consult on a "Media Arts Toolkit" of K-12 resources for Kentucky Educational Television. I also served as one of the facilitators for the "Arts Connect Appalachian Youth Summit" with students and teachers from participating schools in November 2018 the follow-up summit in November 2019. I served as an artist mentor for PRI's 2020-2022 Appalachian Teaching Artist Fellowship (ATAF) program and am currently serving in this role again for the new 2024-2025 ATAF cohort. In 2023, I served as one of three alumni-advisors for the Kentucky Community Scholar revision process and as lead facilitator for a pilot hybrid in-person/virtual Community Scholar training at Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest (ASPI) in partnership with the Kentucky Arts Council and Kentucky Folklife Program. I am also a member of the Waymakers Collective: Appalachian Arts & Culture Assembly and received a 2023 KFW Art Meets Activism Grant.

Contact Information
Appalnet Listserv Co-Moderator
PhD in Cultural Anthropology, University of Kentucky, 2021.

MA in Cultural Anthropology, University of Kentucky, 2016.

Graduate Certificate in Gender & Women's Studies, University of Kentucky, 2014.

MTS (Master of Theological Studies) concentrating in World Religions and Women’s Studies, Harvard Divinity School, 2001.

BA in Women’s Studies, Spanish minor, Berea College, 1999.
Research Interests
  • Appalachian Studies
  • Community development
  • cultural production
  • counterstorytelling
  • Digital Humanities
  • ethnography
  • ecofeminism
  • filmmaking
  • Gender & Women's Studies
  • grassroots organizing and activism
  • Latin American Studies
  • media literacy
  • participatory action research
  • Political Ecology
  • popular education
  • sustainability
  • visual anthropology
  • youth studies
  • Anthropology
  • Appalachian Center
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Appalachian Studies Association
  • Bibliographical Society of America
  • Caxton Club
  • Lambda Alpha National Collegiate Honors Society for Anthropology
  • International Union of Anthropological & Ethnological Sciences
  • Association for Feminist Anthropology
  • National Association of Student Anthropologists
  • Society for Applied Anthropology
  • Rural Women's Studies Association
  • American Anthropological Association
  • Society for Visual Anthropology
  • Textbook & Academic Authors Association
  • Oral History Association