App State professor dies unexpectedly


Derek Stanovsky, App State professor and interim director of the interdisciplinary studies program, died unexpectedly last Wednesday.

Ben Sessoms

Derek Stanovsky, interim director of interdisciplinary studies and professor in the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies at Appalachian State, died unexpectedly of natural causes early in the morning on Nov. 1. The exact cause of death is unknown.

Cynthia Wood, a global studies professor at Appalachian State and Stanovsky’s wife, said the cause could possibly be heart-related.

“Derek was an exceptionally dedicated instructor — a professor who was both well-liked and well-respected by his students,” Mark Nunes, chair of the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies, said. “He provided critical guidance and support for the interdisciplinary studies program for many years, and more recently to Watauga Residential College as well. He was passionate in his commitment to critical thinking, careful reading, and an engaged pedagogy. He will be greatly missed by students and colleagues alike.”

The department is holding a memorial service for Stanovsky on campus in the solarium in the Plemmons Student Union on Friday at 1:30 p.m.

On Nov. 2, the day after Stanovksy died, his article entitled “Remix Racism: The Visual Politics of the ‘Alt-Right” was published in the second issue in the seventh volume of the Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric, a peer-reviewed journal of current event analysis.

According to the abstract of the article, the essay “examines the rise of the ‘alt-right,’ the grafting of white supremacist ideas onto popular culture iconography, their migration into mainstream political discourse, as well as some anti-fascist uses of remix culture.”

Currently, Nunes and Clark Maddux, director of the Watauga Residential College, are in the process of creating a Watauga scholarship in Stanovsky’s name, with a focus on social justice.

“It’s so sad,” Geneva Shepherd, a senior interdisciplinary studies major and one of Stanovsky’s students, said. “He was extremely passionate about what he was teaching, and he genuinely cared about making sure we understood it.”

Story by: Ben Sessoms, News Editor

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Wood via Facebook