Back Talk from Appalachia: Confronting Stereotypes / Edition 1

Back Talk from Appalachia: Confronting Stereotypes / Edition 1

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University Press of Kentucky
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Back Talk from Appalachia: Confronting Stereotypes / Edition 1

Appalachia has long been stereotyped as a region of feuds, moonshine stills, mine wars, environmental destruction, joblessness, and hopelessness. Robert Schenkkan's 1992 Pulitzer-Prize winning play The Kentucky Cycle once again adopted these stereotypes, recasting the American myth as a story of repeated failure and poverty—the failure of the American spirit and the poverty of the American soul. Dismayed by national critics' lack of attention to the negative depictions of mountain people in the play, a group of Appalachian scholars rallied against the stereotypical representations of the region's people. In Back Talk from Appalachia, these writers talk back to the American mainstream, confronting head-on those who view their home region one-dimensionally. The essays, written by historians, literary scholars, sociologists, creative writers, and activists, provide a variety of responses. Some examine the sources of Appalachian mythology in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature. Others reveal personal experiences and examples of grassroots activism that confound and contradict accepted images of "hillbillies." The volume ends with a series of critiques aimed directly at The Kentucky Cycle and similar contemporary works that highlight the sociological, political, and cultural assumptions about Appalachia fueling today's false stereotypes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813190013
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 11/28/2000
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

I.(Re) Introducing Appalachia: Talking Back to Stereotypes
Beyond Isolation and Homogeneity: Diversity and the History of Appalachia21
II.Speaking of "Hillbillies": Literary Sources of Contemporary Stereotypes
A Landscape and a People Set Apart: Narratives of Exploration and Travel in Early Appalachia47
"Deadened Color and Colder Horror": Rebecca Harding Davis and the Myth of Unionist Appalachia67
The Racial "Innocence" of Appalachia: William Faulkner and the Mountain South85
A Judicious Combination of Incident and Psychology: John Fox Jr. and the Southern Mountaineer Motif98
Where "Bloodshed Is a Pastime": Mountain Feuds and Appalachian Stereotyping119
Where Did Hillbillies Come From? Tracing Sources of the Comic Hillbilly Fool in Literature138
III.Speaking More Personally: Responses to Appalachian Stereotypes
The "R" Word: What's So Funny (and Not So Funny) about Redneck Jokes153
Appalachian Images: A Personal History161
Up in the Country174
On Being "Country": One Affrilachian Woman's Return Home184
Appalachian Stepchild187
If There's One Thing You Can Tell Them, It's that You're Free191
IV.Sometimes Actions Speak Louder than Words: Activism in Appalachia
The Grass Roots Speak Back203
Miners Talk Back: Labor Activism in Southeastern Kentucky in 1922215
Coalfield Women Making History228
Paving the Way: Urban Organizations and the Image of Appalachians251
Stories of AIDS in Appalachia267
V.Recycling Old Stereotypes: Critical Responses to The Kentucky Cycle
America Needs Hillbillies: The Case of The Kentucky Cycle283
The View from the Castle: Reflections on the Kentucky Cycle Phenomenon300
Regional Consciousness and Political Imagination: The Appalachian Connection in an Anxious Nation313
Notes on The Kentucky Cycle327

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