Most Americans know Appalachia through stereotyped images: moonshine and handicrafts, poverty and illiteracy, rugged terrain and isolated mountaineers. Historian David Hsiung maintains that in order to understand the origins of such stereotypes, we must look critically at their underlying concepts, especially those of isolation and community.
Hsiung focuses on the mountainous area of upper East Tennessee, tracing this area's development from the first settlementin the eighteenth century to the eve of the Civil War. Through his examination, he identifies the different ways in which the region's inhabitants were connected to or separated from other peoples and places. Using an interdisciplinary framework, he analyzes geographical and sociocultural isolation from a number of perspectives, including transportation networks, changing economy, population movement, and topography.
This provocative work will stimulate future studies of early Appalachia and serve as a model for the analysis of regional cultures.
Subjects: History, Anthropology
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