West Virginia University history professor Ronald L. Lewis and his contributions to Appalachian scholarship will be recognized at the 2007 U.S. Senator Rush D. Holt History Conference April 12-14.

Lewis is one of the nations most prominent Appalachian scholars.

The event, titledTransforming Appalachian Scholarship: A Conference Honoring the Contributions of Professor Ronald L. Lewis,is sponsored by the Department of History and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences with assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

The conference takes its major themes from Lewiss work, including African-American workers in Appalachia, industry and labor in the Appalachian region, the industrial transformation of West Virginia, immigration and ethnic diversity within Appalachia and West Virginia regional history.

Participants in the conference include Lewiss former and present doctoral students, WVU Department of History colleagues and eminent scholars from around the globe.

Lewis earned his doctorate in history from the University of Akron in 1974 and has long been involved in the study of Appalachia. He has written and edited several books, includingTransforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation and Social Change, 1880-1920.

Lewis has been named an Eberly Distinguished Professor of American History and the Stuart and Joyce Robbins Chair in History. He was also a Benedum Distinguished Scholar and serves as a faculty research associate at WVU s Regional Research Institute.

The conference will open at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12, with a roundtable titledPerspectives on Sago and Other Mine Disastersin the Mountainlairs Rhododendron Room.

Panel discussions will be Friday and Saturday morning and afternoon, focusing on topics such as Appalachian identity and ethnicity, immigrants and expression, minings impact on society and the landscape, the fight for the American frontier, unionism in Appalachian labor, Appalachia and the outside world, West Virginia studies and women in Appalachia, among others.

Friday and Saturdays daytime panel discussions will take place primarily at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown.

On Saturday evening, Dwight Billings, professor of sociology at the University of Kentucky, will give the 2007 Callahan Lecture, titledWriting Appalachia: Old Ways, New Ways, WVU Waysin the Mountainlairs Rhododendron Room.

The Callahan Lecture begins at 8 p.m. and will examine the old and new ways of representing Appalachia. It will focus on how Lewis, his colleagues and students have reshaped thinking about the mountainous regions of the South.

Billings earned his bachelors with highest honors in sociology from the Eberly College in 1970. He received his masters and doctorate degrees in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973 and 1976, respectively. In 1976, he was hired by the University of Kentucky, where he is currently a professor of sociology.

Additionally, the conference will include a joint event in conjunction with this years Civil War Symposium, hosted by the Mason-Dixon Civil War Roundtable of Morgantown. A lunch and presentation by Kenneth W. Noe, Draughton Professor of Southern History at Auburn University, titledWest Virginias Guerilla War: The First Yearwill be at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Erickson Alumni Center.

The Holt Conference is named for U.S. Senator Rush D. Holt, a native of West Virginia.

The project is being presented by WVU with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the conference or related publications do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information or to obtain a registration form, visit the WVU Department of Historys Web site athttp://www.as.wvu.edu/historyor contact Jen Egolf, Elizabeth Lee or Lou Martin at 304-293-2421, ext. 5245.