Richard Underwood's book, CrimeSong: True Crime Stories from Southern Murder Ballads (Shadelandhouse Modern Press 2016) presents the historical facts behind some of the region's most well-known murder ballads. During the Fall 2017 semester, two University of Pikeville professors used Underwood's book as the text for an experiential, interdisciplinary Humanities Special Topics course titled Appalachian Murder Ballads. Co-taught by English and Theatre professors, the course allowed students to learn about Appalachian history while writing, producing, and directing an original stage production adapted from stories in Underwood's text.
In this presentation we will discuss the collaborative process between the author and the professors and the results of this student-centered project. We will discuss the learning objectives that shaped the course and explore other ways books like Underwood's can be used to teach Appalachian culture, history, and literature across the curriculum.