Amy Hudnall has been a lecturer in the Department of History at Appalachian since 2001, the year she completed her master’s-level studies there. Her specialty is genocide studies.
The path to her current position reflects the fact she has “lived multiple lives.” She ran a skiing and backpacking business in Florida, which she sold, and settled in Boone, got married and had a child. In addition to teaching, she runs a non-profit rescue organization called Horse Helpers of the High Country. And, her life has included plenty of study.
“I grew up in a family where learning was a constant,” Hudnall said. “You just didn’t stop learning. I’ve always had an insatiable curiosity.”
The study of genocide appeals to her because, “I’ve always wondered why people were mean to each other, why we do horrible things to each other.” Her goal is “to see how we might change society so that we’re doing more good and less harm.”
Hudnall said she’s also interested in studying how a victim or perpetrator can move beyond genocide, as well as the effects that genocide has on its perpetrators.
“If we can understand how genocide might change a perpetrator, or if it does, then we have a better chance of understanding how to respond to them (and their children) in a way that’s constructive,” she said.
Hudnall has done fact-finding and other work on the ground with several different groups, including Rwandans, Bosnians and Palestinians, and she brings those experiences into the classroom.
“I see myself as an activist,” she said. “I take that activism into the classroom to show students that activism is a way to learn.”