Race, Ethnicity, and Appalachia

Call for Papers:

We  invite proposals from scholars, activists/practitioners, and creative non-fiction/fiction  writers who consider a host of issues evoked by “Appalachia.”

For  example, sociologists and political scientists have long considered Appalachia  in terms of the international order. Appalachian residents and scholars have  long participated in exchanges with populations from other mountainous areas  throughout the globe, including Wales, Italy, the Russian Caucuses, and with  peoples throughout South America. Key to Appalachian studies, then, are  theories that consider how cultures of such far flung global regions confront  similar cultural and political struggles.  We are equally  interested in contributions that explore other regions around the world where  myths about race, class, culture, and isolation are attached to geography – and  particularly to mountains – and in many ways define both geography and  culture.

We also  invite activists/practitioners working in Appalachia and similar regions  internationally to share their experiences with the workings of race, ethnicity  and nationality in those spaces.

We invite  papers that consider the following questions. These questions are not meant to  be exhaustive; we welcome other creative considerations of the “Appalachian”  experience:

  • What are the political and ideological implications of the gap between the demographic realities of Appalachia and outsiders’ perceptions of those same demographics? Do these perceptions have an impact on policymaking decisions that affect the region, including resource allocation?
  • If misinformation and misperceptions about Appalachia have real consequences in terms of policy and resource allocation, in what ways are activists/practitioners working to counter these consequences?  In other words, what does it mean to do activist/practitioner work “on the ground” in  Appalachia?
  • As the touchstone of many of the “white poverty” stories we tell ourselves, it’s important to consider the particular metaphorical space Appalachia occupies within these stories. If the realities that potentially call these narratives into question were more widely known and appreciated, then what? What lessons about race, culture, and class should we be drawing from the stories we tell ourselves about the Appalachian experience?
  • The plight of Appalachia’s natural resources defines Appalachian studies and politics. That is, national and international companies routinely create a boom and bust cycle in the region to the extreme detriment of the land, culture and political influence of the area.  How do these cycles influence cultural and political realities? What kinds of interventions by activists and practitioners do the misuses of natural resources demand?  In what ways does the notion of Appalachia as a region of great natural beauty often repress dialogues about the misuse of Appalachia’s natural resources?

Papers must be received by January 15, 2012 to be considered for publication in this  issue.

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