Author: Anthony Harkins
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
In this pioneering work of cultural history, historian Anthony Harkins argues that the hillbilly-in his various guises of "briar hopper," "brush ape," "ridge runner," and "white trash"-has been viewed by mainstream Americans simultaneously as a violent degenerate who threatens the modern order and as a keeper of traditional values of family, home, and physical production, and thus symbolic of a nostalgic past free of the problems of contemporary life. "Hillbilly" signifies both rugged individualism and stubborn backwardness, strong family and kin networks but also inbreeding and bloody feuds. Spanning film, literature, and the entire expanse of American popular culture, from D. W. Griffith to hillbilly music to the Internet, Harkins illustrates how the image of the hillbilly has consistently served as both a marker of social derision and regional pride. He traces the corresponding changes in representations of the hillbilly from late-nineteenth century America, through the great Depression, the mass migrations of Southern Appalachians in the 1940s and 1950s, the War on Poverty in the mid 1960s, and to the present day. Harkins also argues that images of hillbillies have played a critical role in the construction of whiteness and modernity in twentieth century America. Richly illustrated with dozens of photographs, drawings, and film and television stills, this unique book stands as a testament to the enduring place of the hillbilly in the American imagination. Hillbilly received an Honorable Mention, John G. Cawelti Book Award of the American Culture Association.
Author: Victoria E. Johnson
Publisher: NYU Press
Winner of the 2009 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award The Midwest of popular imagination is a "Heartland" characterized by traditional cultural values and mass market dispositions. Whether cast positively—as authentic, pastoral, populist, hardworking, and all-American—or negatively—as backward, narrow-minded, unsophisticated, conservative, and out-of-touch—the myth of the Heartland endures. Heartland TV examines the centrality of this myth to television's promotion and development, programming and marketing appeals, and public debates over the medium's and its audience's cultural worth. Victoria E. Johnson investigates how the "square" image of the heartland has been ritually recuperated on prime time television, from The Lawrence Welk Show in the 1950s, to documentary specials in the 1960s, to The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s, to Ellen in the 1990s. She also examines news specials on the Oklahoma City bombing to reveal how that city has been inscribed as the epitome of a timeless, pastoral heartland, and concludes with an analysis of network branding practices and appeals to an imagined "red state" audience. Johnson argues that non-white, queer, and urban culture is consistently erased from depictions of the Midwest in order to reinforce its "reassuring" image as white and straight. Through analyses of policy, industry discourse, and case studies of specific shows, Heartland TV exposes the cultural function of the Midwest as a site of national transference and disavowal with regard to race, sexuality, and citizenship ideals.
Explores the allure of Cash's contradictory persona
Exploring white American popular culture of the past century and a half, Turner details subtle and not-so-subtle negative tropes and images of black people, from Uncle Tom and Aunt Jemima to jokes about Michael Jackson and Jesse Jackson. She feels that far too little has changed in terms of white stereotyping and its negative effects.
An insider's perspective on Appalachia, and a frank, ferocious assessment of America's recent fascination with the people and the problems of the region.
Author: J. D. Vance
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NAMED BY THE TIMES AS ONE OF "6 BOOKS TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRUMP'S WIN" AND SOON TO BE A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD "You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist "A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal "Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history. A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.
Author: Anthony Harkins, Meredith McCarroll
With hundreds of thousands of copies sold, a Ron Howard movie in the works, and the rise of its author as a media personality, J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis has defined Appalachia for much of the nation. What about Hillbilly Elegy accounts for this explosion of interest during this period of political turmoil? Why have its ideas raised so much controversy? And how can debates about the book catalyze new, more inclusive political agendas for the region's future? Appalachian Reckoning is a retort, at turns rigorous, critical, angry, and hopeful, to the long shadow Hillbilly Elegy has cast over the region and its imagining. But it also moves beyond Hillbilly Elegy to allow Appalachians from varied backgrounds to tell their own diverse and complex stories through an imaginative blend of scholarship, prose, poetry, and photography. The essays and creative work collected in Appalachian Reckoning provide a deeply personal portrait of a place that is at once culturally rich and economically distressed, unique and typically American. Complicating simplistic visions that associate the region almost exclusively with death and decay, Appalachian Reckoning makes clear Appalachia's intellectual vitality, spiritual richness, and progressive possibilities.
The Hank Williams Reader
Author: Patrick Huber, Steve Goodson, David Anderson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
When Hank Williams died on New Year's Day 1953 at the age of twenty-nine, his passing appeared to bring an abrupt end to a saga of rags-to-riches success and anguished self-destruction. As it turned out, however, an equally gripping story was only just beginning, as Williams's meteoric rise to stardom, extraordinary musical achievements, turbulent personal life, and mysterious death all combined to make him an endlessly intriguing historical figure. For more than sixty years, an ever-lengthening parade of journalists, family and friends, musical contemporaries, biographers, historians and scholars, ordinary fans, and novelists have attempted to capture in words the man, the artist, and the legend. The Hank Williams Reader, the first book of its kind devoted to this giant of American music, collects more than sixty of the most compelling, insightful, and historically significant of these writings. Among them are many pieces that have never been reprinted or that are published here for the first time. The selections cover a broad assortment of themes and perspectives, ranging from heartfelt reminiscences by Williams's relatives and shocking tabloid expos?s to thoughtful meditations by fellow artists and penetrating essays by prominent scholars and critics. Over time, writers have sought to explain Williams in a variety of ways, and in tracing these shifting interpretations, this anthology chronicles his cultural transfiguration from star-crossed hillbilly singer-songwriter to enduring American icon. The Hank Williams Reader also features a lengthy interpretive introduction and the most extensive bibliography of Williams-related writings ever published.
In the American imagination, the word Appalachia designates more than a geographical region. It evokes fiddle tunes, patchwork quilts, split-rail fences, and all the other artifacts that decorate a cherished romantic region of the American mind. Da
The Devil's Book of Culture
Author: Benjamin Feinberg
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Since the 1950s, the Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Mexico, has drawn a strange assortment of visitors and pilgrims—schoolteachers and government workers, North American and European spelunkers exploring the region’s vast cave system, and counterculturalists from hippies (John Lennon and other celebrities supposedly among them) to New Age seekers, all chasing a firsthand experience of transcendence and otherness through the ingestion of psychedelic mushrooms “in context” with a Mazatec shaman. Over time, this steady incursion of the outside world has significantly influenced the Mazatec sense of identity, giving rise to an ongoing discourse about what it means to be “us” and “them.” In this highly original ethnography, Benjamin Feinberg investigates how different understandings of Mazatec identity and culture emerge through talk that circulates within and among various groups, including Mazatec-speaking businessmen, curers, peasants, intellectuals, anthropologists, bureaucrats, cavers, and mushroom-seeking tourists. Specifically, he traces how these groups express their sense of culture and identity through narratives about three nearby yet strange discursive “worlds”—the “magic world” of psychedelic mushrooms and shamanic practices, the underground world of caves and its associated folklore of supernatural beings and magical wealth, and the world of the past or the past/present relationship. Feinberg’s research refutes the notion of a static Mazatec identity now changed by contact with the outside world, showing instead that identity forms at the intersection of multiple transnational discourses.
Race, Rock, and Elvis
Author: Michael T. Bertrand
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
In Race, Rock, and Elvis, Michael T. Bertrand contends that popular music, specifically Elvis Presley's brand of rock 'n' roll, helped revise racial attitudes after World War II. Observing that youthful fans of rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, and other black-inspired music seemed more inclined than their segregationist elders to ignore the color line, Bertrand links popular music with a more general relaxation, led by white youths, of the historical denigration of blacks in the South. The tradition of southern racism, successfully communicated to previous generations, failed for the first time when confronted with the demand for rock 'n' roll by a new, national, commercialized youth culture. In a narrative peppered with the colorful observations of ordinary southerners, Bertrand argues that appreciating black music made possible a new recognition of blacks as fellow human beings. Bertrand documents black enthusiasm for Elvis Presley and cites the racially mixed audiences that flocked to the new music at a time when adults expected separate performances for black audiences and white. He describes the critical role of radio and recordings in blurring the color line and notes that these media made black culture available to appreciative whites on an unprecedented scale. He also shows how music was used to define and express the values of a southern working-class youth culture in transition, as young whites, many of them trying to orient themselves in an unfamiliar urban setting, embraced black music and culture as a means of identifying themselves. By adding rock 'n' roll to the mix of factors that fed into civil rights advances in the South, Race, Rock, and Elvis shows how the music,with its rituals and vehicles, symbolized the vast potential for racial accord inherent in postwar society.
"This series of biographical profiles shines a spotlight on that special place "Where the West meets the Guitar." Once called "Country and Western," it is now described as "Country or Western." Featured are a number of photos of the top stars, past and present. Also included is an extensive bibliography of works related to the Western music field"--Provided by publisher.
Author: Bell Hooks
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
A collection of poems centered around life in Appalachia addresses topics ranging from the marginalization of the region's people to the environmental degradation it has endured throughout history.
The updated version of Collins's critically-acclaimed Three Sociological Traditions, this text presents a concise intellectual history of sociology organized around the development of four classic schools of thought: the conflict tradition of Marx and Weber, the ritual solidarity of Durkheim, the microinteractionist tradition of Mead, Blumer, and Garfinkel, and - new to this edition - the utilitarian/rational choice tradition. Collins, one of the liveliest and most exciting writers in sociology today, traces the intellectual highlights of these four main schools from classical theories to current developments, introducing the roots of sociology and indicating the areas where progress has been made in our understanding, the areas where controversy still exists, and the direction in which sociology is headed.
A Good-Natured Riot
Author: Charles K. Wolfe
Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
Winner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award Winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award On November 28, 1925, a white-bearded man sat before one of Nashville radio station WSM's newfangled carbon microphones to play a few old-time fiddle tunes. Uncle Jimmy Thompson played on the air for an hour that night, and throughout the region listeners at their old crystal sets suddenly perked up. Back in Nashville the response at the offices of National Life Insurance Company, which owned radio station WSM ("We Shield Millions"), was dramatic; phone calls and telegrams poured into the station, many of them making special requests. It was not long before station manager George D. Hay was besieged by pickers and fiddlers of every variety, as well as hoedown bands, singers, and comedians—all wanting their shot at the Saturday night airwaves. "We soon had a good-natured riot on our hands," Hay later recalled. And, thus, the Opry was born. Or so the story goes. In truth, the birth of the Opry was a far more complicated event than even Hay, "the solemn old Judge," remembered. The veteran performers of that era are all gone now, but since the 1970s pioneering country music historian Charles K. Wolfe has spent countless hours recording the oral history of the principals and their families and mining archival materials from the Country Music Foundation and elsewhere to understand just what those early days were like. The story that he has reconstructed is fascinating. Both a detailed history and a group biography of the Opry's early years, A Good-Natured Riot provides the first comprehensive and thoroughly researched account of the personalities, the music, and the social and cultural conditions that were such fertile ground for the growth of a radio show that was to become an essential part of American culture. Wolfe traces the unsure beginnings of the Opry through its many incarnations, through cast tours of the South, the Great Depression, commercial sponsorship by companies like Prince Albert Tobacco, and the first national radio linkups. He gives colorful and engaging portraits of the motley assembly of the first Opry casts—amateurs from the hills and valleys surrounding Nashville, like harmonica player Dr. Humphrey Bate ("Dean of the Opry") and fiddler Sid Harkreader, virtuoso string bands like the Dixieliners, colorful hoedown bands like the Gully Jumpers and the Fruit Jar Drinkers, the important African American performer DeFord Bailey, vaudeville acts and comedians like Lasses and Honey, through more professional groups such as the Vagabonds, the Delmore Brothers, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, and perennial favorite Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys. With dozens of wonderful photographs and a complete roster of every performer and performance of these early Opry years, A Good-Natured Riot gives a full and authoritative portrayal of the colorful beginnings of WSM's barn dance program up to 1940, by which time the Grand Ole Opry had found its national audience and was poised to become the legendary institution that it remains to this day.