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Appalachia on Our Mind - The Southern Mountains and Mountaineers in the American Consciousness, 1870-1920 (Paperback, New edition) Loot Price: R932
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Appalachia on Our Mind - The Southern Mountains and Mountaineers in the American Consciousness, 1870-1920 (Paperback, New...

Appalachia on Our Mind - The Southern Mountains and Mountaineers in the American Consciousness, 1870-1920 (Paperback, New edition)

Henry D. Shapiro

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Loot Price R932 Discovery Miles 9 320 | Repayment Terms: R87 pm x 12*

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The post-Civil War emergence of Appalachia as a "strange land and peculiar people" troublesome to America's new consciousness of national unity and resistant to notions of progress and prosperity is the subject of Prof. Shapiro's intriguing excursion into intellectual history. He draws his evidence from the "local color" writers of the 1870s who first discovered Appalachian "otherness' and the religious and philanthropic agents who proferred "uplift" and regeneration to a culture that appeared in the 1880s and '90s to be disturbingly deviant - almost America's opposite. Since Appalachians were "pure" white, native-born Americans of British stock the dilemma was doubly vexing. Prof. Shapiro (Univ. of Cincinnati) moves with painstaking, sometimes irritating slowness through the development of the corpus of "explanations" and rationalization of Appalachian "otherness." These ranged from the lack of roads and commerce, to the "degeneracy" of the mountaineers, to the romantic embrace of the hills as "America's Highlands" and the people as "our contemporary ancestors." Men such as William Goodell Frost, the longterm president of Berea College, and Joseph C. Campbell of the Russell Sage Foundation were crucial to the gradual legitimatizing of Appalachia as a distinct regional culture - a process completed in the first decades of the 20th century with the acknowledgment of America's pluralism and the discovery of indigenous Appalachian music and crafts. Through the work of English folk-song collector Cecil Sharp, the view of Appalachia as a "kind of folk society manque" took hold. What all these changing perceptions of Appalachia had in common, Shapiro suggests, is their self-serving nature; the identity of Appalachia as a coherent region with a homogenous population was, and continues to be, an article of faith. A sensitive contribution to American Studies which uses little-known sources to good effect. (Kirkus Reviews)
"Appalachia on Our Mind" is not a history of Appalachia. It is rather a history of the American idea of Appalachia. The author argues that the emergence of this idea has little to do with the realities of mountain life but was the result of a need to reconcile the "otherness" of Appalachia, as decribed by local-color writers, tourists, and home missionaries, with assumptions about the nature of America and American civilization.
Between 1870 and 1900, it became clear that the existence of the "strange land and peculiar people" of the southern mountains challenged dominant notions about the basic homogeneity of the American people and the progress of the United States toward achiving a uniform national civilization. Some people attempted to explain Appalachian otherness as normal and natural -- no exception to the rule of progress. Others attempted the practical integration of Appalachia into America through philanthropic work. In the twentieth century, however, still other people began questioning their assumptions about the characteristics of American civilization itself, ultimately defining Appalachia as a region in a nation of regions and the mountaineers as a people in a nation of peoples.
In his skillful examination of the "invention" of the idea of Appalachia and its impact on American thought and action during the early twentieth century, Mr. Shapiro analyzes the following: the "discovery" of Appalachia as a field for fiction by the local-color writers and as a field for benevolent work by the home missionaries of the northern Protestant churches; the emergence of the "problem" of Appalachia and attempts to solve it through explanation and social action; the articulation of a regionalist definition of Appalachia and the establishment of instituions that reinforced that definition; the impact of that regionalistic definition of Appalachia on the conduct of systematic benevolence, expecially in the context of the debate over child-labor restriction and the transformation of philanthropy into community work; and the attempt to discover the bases for an indigenous mountain culture in handicrafts, folksong, and folkdance.


Imprint: The University of North Carolina Press
Country of origin: United States
Release date: April 1986
First published: December 1986
Authors: Henry D. Shapiro
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 26mm (L x W x T)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 397
Edition: New edition
ISBN-13: 978-0-8078-4158-7
Categories: Books > Humanities > History
Books > Humanities > History > American history
Books > Humanities > History > American history > General
Books > History > American history
Books > History > American history > General
LSN: 0-8078-4158-7
Barcode: 9780807841587

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