The Institute of English and American Studies of the University of Szeged
will host a public lecture by
Dr. Briane K. Turley
A Forgotten Ethnic Group Building America: Hungarian Miners in West Virginia
4 pm,Wednesday, November 27th
in Room “Petőfi I”, ground floor, #30-34 Petőfi Ave.
Dr. Turley served for over 20 years as a member of the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University where he has taught courses in the history of Christian thought and American religions and geography of religions. A DuPont Fellow, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Modern European and American religious history. He has published two books and several articles on religion and society topics. His second book (with John Super), published in 2006 by Routledge Press, is titled Religion in World History: The Persistence of Imperial Communion. Dr. Turley previously served as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Szeged in 2002. Between 2005 and 2016 he served as Rector of an Anglican Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to return to Hungary as a Fulbright visiting professor at Pázmány Péter Catholic University in spring 2016. Dr. Turley is currently conducting research into the lives and doings of Hungarian immigrants in West Virginia in turn-of-the-century USA.
Historians have long suggested that Hungarians who immigrated during the period of mass migration (1880-1914) into the southern Appalachian coalfields were transients, young males who drifted from coal-camp boarding house to boarding house and eventually out of the region, either to return home or to pursue better jobs in the US North and Midwest. This lecture will demonstrate that Hungarians were among the earliest European laborers to arrive in the region where, for decades, they remained the largest immigrant group in the most prodigious coal producing counties. And while most individuals opted not to remain in West Virginia, southwest Virginia, and Kentucky, many did in fact settle there with families where they played a vibrant role in developing the surrounding communities.
Dr. Turley is a recipient of the Pro Facultate Philosophiae medal of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Szeged. The honors are in recognition of his work done for the Szeged community including his implementing a mobility program between West Virginia University and the University of Szeged with twenty some students and faculty having enjoyed its benefits so far.