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Updated by Brad Reisinger on Oct 27, 2016
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Resources on Appalachia

Each election cycle the press portrays the region as rural, stupid and monolithically conservative. We're not...

Example of analysis of Appalachia represented in a particular film

“I live in North Carolina, the northwestern foothills to be exact. So I was actually raised within two cultures, Appalachian Mountain and Southern. An interesting combination. My earliest childhood recollection is of holding onto the tail of an old red hen while my granny chopped its head off. But I let go too soon and it jerked headless off the stump, and went to flopping around covering me with chicken blood. But granny just matter-of-fact whopped it again and it laid down and died. Then we dunked it in hot water, plucked it, gutted it, and had good chicken and dumplings for supper.”

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On Native Ground: Indigenous Presences and Countercolonial Strategies in Southern Narratives of Captivity, Removal, a...

This essay argues that mainstream, familiar concepts of a bordered South and a recognizable southernness, however permeable and flexible, are mostly dysfunctional when it comes to American Indian literatures. "Native southern ground" can nevertheless be located and described. For example, captivity narratives written before and during Indian removal, though narrated by Europeans or Euro-Americans, reveal non-utopian ways in which "the South" works as Native ground. From a pointedly sovereign Native perspective, contemporary Native texts such as Shell Shaker (2001) by LeAnne Howe (Choctaw) reaffirm what various Indians in early captivity narratives say and "say" and do as they work against the impositions of a proto-regional colonial demarcation. In radically repossessing the very experience and practice of captivity, removing it from its western generic place and casting it as primarily a tribal affair conducted on Native ground, Howe stands with various other contemporary southeastern Native writers in working to repossess homelands that they rearticulate not as "the South" but as Native ground.

The War the Slaveholders Won: Indian Removal and the State of Georgia

Dr. Claudio Saunt's November 10, 2015, lecture explored Georgia's role in Indian Removal policies that expelled 100,000 people from the Southeast in the 1830s.

In this blog post, Steve Suitts relates the history of American citizenship during and after the Civil War to contemporary white southerners’ support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his stance on immigration.

In this essay, excerpted from Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia (University of Illinois Press, 2012), Barbara Ellen Smith and Stephen L. Fisher make a case for how spatial theories of power, capital, and inequality can inform our understanding of Appalachia and offer avenues for positive change.

Musical Styles of the Southern Appalachians

Varieties of Southern Appalachian music are explored with sound samples, short commentaries, virtual visits, and weblinks.

The Tennessee Jamboree: Local Radio, the Barn Dance, and Cultural Life in Appalachian East Tennessee

Part of a wave of local, post-WWII "barn dance"-style, country music shows, the Tennessee Jamboree radio program was modeled on earlier, nationally popular programs like Nashville's Grand Ole Opry and Chicago's National Barn Dance. The Tennessee Jamboree reimagined and reshaped the genre into a platform for local cultural expression. Drawing upon newly recovered broadcasts, interviews with Jamboree participants, and images from the Tennessee State Archive and Library, this essay resituates the Tennessee Jamboree within several historical and cultural contexts that help to illuminate the expressive life of Lafollette, Tennessee, the broad sweep of regional broadcasting, and the incomplete chronicle of the barn dance genre.

Oak Ridgidness: Lindsey Freeman’s Longing for the Bomb

At that time, the Clinch River Valley was home to the five small towns of Eliza, New Hope, Robertsville, Scarborough, and Wheat with a combined population of four thousand (17). In an act of what Freeman calls "magic geography," the Army Corps confiscated 59,000 acres of land and erased these five towns. It issued "requests to vacate" that granted residents as little as three weeks to relocate, explaining that "fullest cooperation will be of material aid to the War Department."7 In place of the small towns, the Army Corps rapidly erected the city of Oak Ridge and the accompanying laboratory, which employed eighty thousand at its peak (1, 17, 19).

Strangers and Kin

Using funny, often poignant examples, Strangers and Kin shows the development and effect of stereotypes as technological change collides with tradition in the Southern mountains. The film traces the evolution of the “hillbilly” image through Hollywood films, network news and entertainment shows, dramatic renderings of popular literature, and interviews with contemporary Appalachians to demonstrate how stereotypes are created, reinforced, and often used to rationalize exploitation. Strangers and Kin suggests how a people can embrace modernity without becoming “strangers to their kin.”

The United States of Appalachia

“Jeff Biggers’s inspiring book should be a best seller immediately. It is a ‘how-to’ book—how to assert your fundamental rights and how to speak out in the manner of the American Revolution footsloggers, whose descendants they are. Read it and your faltering hopes will rise.” --Studs Terkel

Hunger Games Tourism: Visit Scenic District 12 in North Carolina

Did you know that The Hunger Games’ District 12 was shot in an abandoned mill town in North Carolina—and that the entire town is open to sightseers?

Rivers of Life: River Voices - Wilma Dykeman

"Water is a living thing: it is life itself. In it life began."

FolkStreams » Appalachian Journey » Introduction to Jack Tales

In the last fifty years, Jack Tales have come to occupy a privileged position for scholarly analysts of folklore, for popular purveyors of folklore, and even for folk themselves. Before turning to individual stories and storytellers, we might well ask, Who is this boy Jack? In what forms has he existed before�and beyond�the work of Richard Chase? How and in what ways has British Jack became American? And how has one particular strand of English-speaking oral tradition been elevated to folk self-image for an entire nation?

For the July 4th holiday weekend, writer Sarah Vowell and her twin sister re-trace the "Trail of Tears" — the route their Cherokee ancestors took when expelled from their own land by President Andrew Jackson.

Appalachia: The big white ghetto

Those who have the required work skills, the academic ability, or the simple desperate native enterprising grit to do so get the hell out as fast as they can, and they have been doing that for decades. As they go, businesses disappear, institutions fall into decline, social networks erode, and there is little or nothing left over for those who remain.

What kind of "South" rises from the (walking) dead?

One of the most compelling elements of a zombie-centric narrative is the opportunity it affords producers to imagine social, institutional, and infrastructural orders under duress. How the world is disassembled and reconstituted—and, just as importantly, what is jettisoned, retained, and re-imagined in these processes—open up fecund spaces for tensions, commentaries, and critiques local and global in scale. The Walking Dead (TWD), AMC’s most watched original series (the mid-Season Two finale drew an estimated 6.6 million viewers according to Nielsen), is particularly interesting in this regard. It is a rare televisual iteration of the zombie narrative, and thus has access to a larger diegetic landscape than its filmic cousins. TWD also unfolds in the American South, a region of the U.S. that has come to stand in for the nation’s historically violent and systematic commitment to “race” and inequality. What becomes of this loaded term—“The South”—when a zombie apocalypse appears to collapse the institutions, infrastructures, and social relations integral to this region’s historical construction? Does this constitute a tabula rasa that breaks from the past?

"At a picnic at my aunt’s farm, the only time the whole family ever gathered, my sister Billie and I chased chickens into the barn."

Naming Affrilachia: Toward Rhetorical Ecologies of Identity Performance in Appalachia

Kathryn Trauth Taylor, Purdue University Enculturation: (Published June 21, 2011)

Government Creating Poverty in Appalachia

This is a very broad and perhaps loaded question. As a proud resident of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia, I have grown to detest the words “Appalachia” and “poverty” being used in the same sentence – as they are generally only used in a derisive manner by some graduate student who pronounces the mountains outside my window as “App-ah-lay-sha,” instead of “App-ah-latch-ah.” Pronouncing “them thur hills” by the first term is a dead giveaway that the person knows nothing about this area other than what he or she has read in a book. The mountains of Georgia and Maine may be “App-ah-lay-sha,” but no mountain within 200 miles from here is called that.

Inside Appalachia: Let's Get Real About Poverty

In this episode, we'll hear reactions to Obama's proposed tax credits and other funding for Appalachia. And we'll talk with documentary filmmaker John