Arts & Culture

Transformation of the Banjo
12:26 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

From Africa to Appalachia

It’s well documented that the American banjo has its origins in instruments brought to the colonies by enslaved Africans. 

Virginia has a long history with the banjo, and it didn’t start with bluegrass--it started with enslaved Africans. 

As early as 1781, Thomas Jefferson took note of the stringed gourd instruments his slaves played. Over the years, the banjo was transformed from an African instrument, to a predominantly white instrument with the familiar bluegrass twang.

Read more
VT Professor Shares Insights
11:13 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Expedition on the Inca Road

Photos Courtesy of Christine Fiori/Virginia Tech

The infrastructure in this country is a source of concern, as many aging roads and bridges need repair.  A construction specialist at Virginia Tech is studying a seven hundred year old road in South America to see what modern engineers can learn about building roads that last. 

The Inca Road runs from Ecuador to Chile; through rainforests, deserts, and over mountains.  In some places it’s just a path through the woods, like you might see on the Appalachian Trail.  In other places, feats of Inca engineering stand as testaments to their knowledge of construction.

Read more
Cultural Culinary History
2:14 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Mushroom: A Global History

For many places still blanketed in snow, it may be a while until we even see the ground again. But waiting patiently under there and soon to sprout, is a species so unique, that it’s hard to categorize, yet so common, you’ll know it instantly.

 

“Mushroom a Global History” is the name of a book Cynthia Bertelsen, a food writer and blogger in Blacksburg and an award winning cook, who's lived all over the world. More than a recipe book, she’s written a highly readable cultural history of the sometimes-controversial fungus.

Read more
Thomas Jefferson & His Slaves
5:02 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Master of the Mountain

It’s been over a year since the publication of a new book about Thomas Jefferson and his slaves.  It won rave reviews from many parts of the country, but in Charlottesville the author is still attacked in certain circles. 

Read more
Fiction Creates Sense of Place
10:53 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Hunger Games Catches Fire as Learning Tool

The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman means a new actor will have to take on his role in the third installment of “The Hunger Games.”

The series has ‘caught fire’ in more ways than one. An education professor says ‘The Hunger Games’ can become a powerful teaching tool in rural classrooms. 

Read more

Pages