speaking engagements

Hi. Thank you for considering me for a speaking engagement. Universities, community, and civic organizations frequently contact me to talk about Appalachian and labor history, poverty and class, politics, media representation, and topics aligned with the subjects of my books. I’ve designed this page for invitations of that type, since selecting and inviting a speaker can be a bureaucratic process, and not libraries and bookstores.

More information about my range of topics, prior engagements, and lecture style.

If you’re looking for examples of my conversation and lecture style, you’ll find a lot of those online. Here are a few interview clips for you, from All Things Considered, On the Media, and The 1a. The Southern Foodways Alliance recorded an invited talk given at their summer 2018 symposium, and you can find that here for an example of a longer presentation. I’ve recently given keynotes on working class politics, environmental destruction in Appalachia, and the opioid crisis. I’ve opened art exhibits. I have a good range while also knowing how to stay in my lane.

How to schedule and plan visits.

I live in Staunton, Virginia, and it is helpful to get in touch about a potential visit at least three months in advance. Once the visit is fixed, I am happy to talk about additional meetings with students and faculty. In the past, I’ve given brown bag talks on writing for the public, starting a history consultancy, and careers outside the academy. I don’t have particular days of the week that I prefer to travel, but my general rule is that I need to fly to destinations more than 5 hours away. I don’t do powerpoints unless you really want them. I don’t sell books at speaking events, but if the campus bookstore or a local independent seller wants to sell books then I will gladly sign them (I don’t require a percentage of sales).

Please compensate me fairly for my labor.

I can easily invest a hundred hours of labor into a visit, from writing a talk that fits your needs to setting aside travel days. I often need to divert or decline other paid work to make this happen. If you need to make a funding request and you don’t think a Dean or Provost will know who I am because I’m not a man with a sad barn on the cover of my books, please just get in touch and I’ll send you a tidy biography, CV, and links to recent press. Inadequately compensating women speakers, especially women of color, is a widespread problem that we need to work on.

Odds and ends.

I will probably need to decline if you invite me to join a panel at an academic conference, which are not budget-friendly for folks who aren’t affiliated. You can absolutely holler at me if you’d like me to Skype with your class, but the three month rule is still helpful.