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Vol. 23, No. 1: Appalachia

  //  spring 2017

Country Queers in Central Appalachia. Icon and Identity at Dollywood. The Soundscape of Harlan County, U.S.A. A Hindu temple in West Virginia, and more. Our Appalachia issue is guested edited by Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt.

Table of Contents

Front Porch: Appalachia

by Harry Watson
“Appalachia is still itself, even as it changes, even as so many of us have gotten it wrong.” As far back as colonial days, all the experts agreed that the Mountain South was different, even when they couldn’t explain how or why. Observers often blamed degenerate settlers. Royal governor Alexander Spotswood claimed that Virginia’s mountaineers »

Trying to Get Appalachia Less Wrong: A Modest Approach

by Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt
“Regularly, Appalachia is imagined to need a funeral, to be already gone, to cry out for remembrance.” When the editors of Southern Cultures asked me to guest edit a special issue on Appalachia, I said yes immediately. Not only is western North Carolina my family home, but Appalachian Studies is my most long-standing scholarly home. »

Documentary Noise: The Soundscape of Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County, U.S.A.

by Grace Hale
“In Harlan County, U.S.A., sound anchors, explains, and makes ‘authentic’ visual imagery compromised by the long history of documentary work in Appalachia.” The most shocking moment in Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976) looks at first like an abstract painting. An organic shape, small and shiny and pinkish white, sits on a dark, rough ground. Even after »
Photo Essay

Almost Heaven

by Aaron Blum
“The culture at New Vrindaban, though at odds with the traditional context of Appalachia, does not exist in a vacuum; familiar cultural markers are juxtaposed with the anomalous—traditional Krishna robes paired with steel-toed boots and blue-collar workwear.” The New Vrindaban is a Krishna community in the hills of Appalachia, the vision of A. C. Bhaktivedanta »

Icon and Identity: Dolly Parton’s Hillbilly Appeal

by Graham Hoppe
“They portray mountain people like we are all these dumb barefoot hillbillies. I think country people are the smartest people in the world, and I’ve been everywhere.” In the early years of Parton’s career she played a bit of the hometown girl with starry eyes. It seems hard to imagine now, but in early interviews »

Banjo Boy: Masculinity, Disability, and Difference in Deliverance

by Anna Creadick
“I’d like to say it’s nobody’s fault, but it is. It’s James Dickey’s fault. Or John Boorman’s. Or both.” I’m what you might call a “closeted” banjo player, so this may well be my coming-out paper. My parents were hippie folkies, and I grew up in the Appalachian region marinating in so much old-time string »

“Well, We’re Fabulous and We’re Appalachians, So We’re Fabulachians”

by Rae Garringer
“You don’t have to look outside the region to find a place where you belong.” —Ivy Brashier Country Queers in Central Appalachia Five years ago I moved home to the farm where I was raised in southeastern West Virginia. For a decade I had bought into the dominant narrative in LGBTQIA spaces that because I am »
Photo Essay

In-Between the Color Lines with a Spy Camera

The Appalachian Urban Folk Photography of Isaiah Rice

by Darin Waters
“We don’t know nothin’ but what we see . . .” —Zora Neale Hurston After her mother Jeroline Rice passed in 2003, Marian Waters sorted through boxes of photographs that her father Isaiah Rice had taken over the course of his adult life. Rice, who died in 1980, had taken hundreds of photographs of family, »

Pearl S. Buck, It’s Not You, It’s Me

by Jolie Lewis
“I’m not feeling it anymore. I tried. For years, I tried. You know I did.” Pearl, I’m sorry. I’m not feeling it anymore. I tried. For years, I tried. You know I did. I served on the board of your Birthplace in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. I read the biographies. I wrote grants and hired »

Semantic Relations

by Adrian Blevins
Though naturally I love them they are a monstrosity, acute and unruly,already pig-headed on the way from the airport to come and infect me with what kind of mayonnaise is better than Hellmann’s and which of usgot the new bike versus who crashed the old and who’s drinking too much versus who ought to get »

The Art of the Saltville Centennial Cookbook

by Ronni Lundy
“I took the cookbook home with the same anticipation I would have for a new novel.” Saltville lies in two counties—Smyth and Washington—in southwest Virginia about thirty minutes east, then north, of Abingdon. The fossil record and artifacts found in the region, now displayed in the Museum of the Middle Appalachians, indicate that Saltville was »
Photo Essay

There’s More of It, But I’m Still Hungry

by Courtney Balestier
“It was as ex-pats that we started talking about creating a textual/visual conversation about our home’s history, our histories within it, and the future that could be.” Elaine McMillion Sheldon and I are both daughters of West Virginia, young Appalachians who want to fight for our home but who also struggle to find our paths »
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