The Voice of Witness (VOW) book series takes a humanizing, literary approach to oral history to illuminate the stories of people impacted by contemporary injustice in the US and globally.

VOW books have featured a diversity of voices and issues, including wrongfully convicted Americans, undocumented immigrants, and people living under oppressive regimes in Burma, Zimbabwe and Colombia. Moving forward, our books will focus on communities impacted by issues of migration, displacement, and the criminal justice system.

Our books are read by readers of all stripes—from students to activists to policymakers—and are taught worldwide in courses as disparate as social studies, constitutional law, comparative literature, Middle East Studies, and restorative justice.

Learn more about our oral history book series and how you can apply to develop a project with VOW.


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Editor: Katrina Powell

People living in and moving to rural Appalachia embody diverse experiences and cultures. Whether someone has lived in the region a short time or for generations, journeys of resettlement in Appalachia are complex. Resettled: Narratives of Beginning (Again) in Appalachia tells seldom-heard stories of displacement, trauma, and community integration in an area not generally known for its resettlement efforts. The first-person stories in this book counter monolithic representations of rural Appalachia as a place of poverty and strife, and of resettled populations as draining resources.

With a focus on shared resettlement experiences, this project places narratives of migrants, refugees, and generations-long residents alongside one another as all Appalachian to examine the benefits and challenges of being newcomers in and welcoming new neighbors to the region.

Katrina Powell is a Professor of Rhetoric and Writing at Virginia Tech and the founding director of the Center for Refugee, Migrant, and Displacement Studies. Dr. Powell is trained in oral history methodology and has conducted several oral history projects in the U.S. and Sri Lanka. She also serves as Director of the Center for Rhetoric in Society at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on displacement narratives and the ethical dimensions of archiving those narratives in alternative spaces.

Read more in our editor Q&A.


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