University of Vermont

Center for Research on Vermont

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"The Vermont Difference: Perspectives From the Green Mountain State"

J. Kevin Graffagnino, H. Nicholas Muller III, David A. Donath, and Kristin Peterson-Ishaq


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Center for Research on Vermont members J. Kevin Graffagnino, Nicholas Muller and David Donath and former long-time Center Coordinator Kristin Peterson-Ishaq will discuss their new book, which looks at a range of noteworthy Green Mountain traditions, policies, and practices through a collection of 19 essays by prominent Vermont leaders and writers.  The focus of the book is not Vermont exceptionalism or describing the state as a northern New England utopia; rather, the essays will discuss and offer a balanced context on aspects of the Vermont experience that merit consideration for adaptation and application elsewhere.  A number of the distinguished essayists will also be in attendance.

Location: Memorial Lounge, Waterman Building, University of Vermont, Burlington (Chittenden County)
Time: 7:00 PM
Cost: Free

Sponsored by The Center for Research on Vermont


The Annual Meeting kicks off with a dinner starting at 5:30 in the Waterman Manor, top floor of Waterman Building at UVM. At the dinner we'll announce the Center's Annual awards; The Lifetime Achievement Award which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the state; the Andrew E. Nuquist Award and the George B. Bryan for excellence in student research on Vermont. Selected winners receive $250. The deadline for these two student awards is April 28. Expect a few surprises ALSO as we celebrate forty years of Center research.

Please RSVP to rwatts@uvm.edu. Checks for $30 can be sent in advance or paid at the door.

Read More:

"The Vermont Difference: Perspectives From the Green Mountain State"

published by the Woodstock Foundation and the Vermont Historical Society
available for distribution by April 1, 2014

In the 1950s popular Vermont author Dorothy Canfield Fisher wrote, "When you pass the state-line, you may hear someone in your car say, 'Oh, can't you just feel that now you are in Vermont? What a difference.'"  By the time Fisher's article appeared, the notion that there is something distinctive about Vermont was widely accepted.  From Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys in the 1770s to modern advertising urging Americans to visit "the beckoning country," Vermonters and outsiders alike have long agreed that the Green Mountain State has many attractions for residents and visitors.  While the details have varied--pastoral landscapes, taciturn rural folk, idyllic villages, an unhurried pace of life, independent thinkers, small "d" democracy, maple syrup and granite, deep respect for heritage and tradition--over time, the perspective that Vermont is a special world has gained adherents from Maine to California.

The Vermont Difference offers a nuanced look at the best of Vermont.  Nineteen essayists, all of them leaders in major areas of Green Mountain life and work, discuss aspects of the Vermont experience that merit national attention and consideration.  Detailing Vermont ideas, approaches, and programs in such diverse fields as historic preservation, the arts and humanities, higher education, state and local politics, underwater archaeology, outdoor recreation, the creative economy, sustainable agriculture, and heritage tourism, The Vermont Difference presents an overview of a state with much to offer the rest of America.  The result is neither a focus on Vermont exceptionalism nor a depiction of a northern New England utopia but a balanced examination of innovations, activities, and programs with strong and often proven potential for adaptation and application elsewhere.

The roster of contributors to The Vermont Difference includes politicians, historians, agency heads, academics, writers, and business leaders.  Each has a notable stature in his or her field, and each has a distinct voice and perspective.  The result is a book rich in personal perceptions, professional insights, and keen observations on noteworthy Vermont traditions, policies, and practices.  Readers will bring their own ideas about the Green Mountain State to this volume, but they will emerge from it with a fresh appreciation for Vermont as an essential thread in America's regional and national tapestries.

Last modified April 21 2014 10:39 AM