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Race, Ethnicity, and Appalachia (Autumn 2012)
full name / name of organization:
Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts
Papers must be received by January 15, 2012 to be considered for publication in this issue.
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?
• How are concerns of race/ethnicity implicated in geographical circumstances?