Dr. Jinny Turman

Assistant Professor of History, Community History and Preservation, 20th Century U.S.

Office: COPH 101B   |    Phone: (308) 865-8509   |    Email: turmanja@unk.edu

Jinny Turman


Jinny Turman is an Assistant Professor of History with research interests in modern U.S., social, environmental, and public history. Her public history specializations include community and local history, historic preservation, museums, and oral history.

Oral history is a major component of her manuscript, titled, Negotiating the Good Life: The Back-to-the-Land Movement and Community Change in Appalachia, 1970-2000. This study examines the ways in which back-to-the-land migrants adapted to and altered rural communities’ social and political dynamics in the forty years since their settlement. Beginning in the late 1960s, predominately white and middle-class young people migrated to rural areas to attempt self-sufficiency and voluntary simplicity. Generally espousing decentralist views, back-to-the-landers contributed to the more conservative political ethos that defined America in the late 20th century. By moving to the country they hoped to reject government encroachment and bureaucratic control over personal autonomy and to find social support in small, tight-knit communities. Yet they also relied upon government support for welfare, economic development, and environmental protection when necessary. Back-to-the-landers complicate one of the prevailing narratives about post-1960s America, that traditional economic and social conservatives, coupled with a disaffected working class, dominated politics through the new millennium. Her study challenges this “rise of the New Right” narrative by highlighting the ambivalence that members of the counterculture—and their rural neighbors—exhibited toward centralized institutions during this period. Dr. Turman’s research concludes that the back-to-the-land movement left a mixed legacy: one of diminished popular support for certain public programs yet also one that contributed to the expanding acceptance of individual choice in determining one’s lifestyle.   

Ph.D. in History, West Virginia University (2013)

M.A. in Appalachian Studies, Appalachian State University (2001)

B.A.D. in Fiber and Surface Design, North Carolina State University (1998)

Public History Experience:

Folklife Archivist, Blue Ridge Institute and Museum at Ferrum College (VA)

Folklorist, Hiddenite Center (NC)

Folklorist, Caldwell County Arts Council (NC)

Folklorist, Mountain Gateway Museum (NC)

Oral Historian, Madison County Arts Council (NC)

Board Member, Arthurdale Heritage, Inc., (WV)

Intern, National Museum of American History (Washington D.C.)

Board Member, State Historic Preservation Office (NE)

Board Member, G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture (NE)

Board Member, Buffalo County Historical Society (NE)