Appalachian Metropolis: Rural and Urban Identities at Company Coal Mining Towns

Author(s): Zada Komara

Year: 2016

Summary

Appalachia’s historic company coal towns were unique urban spaces: company-built extraction settlements, which consolidated diverse working families.  Coal mining is integral to Appalachia’s regional identity, yet company towns are seen as transient, quasi-urban phenomena on a fundamentally rural landscape.  This paper aims to: 1.) illuminate Appalachian cities and challenge the construction of Appalachia as a rural region, 2.) complicate the city/country dichotomy and place company coal towns as both rural and urban, and 3.) demonstrate how coal town archaeology annihilates persistent stereotypes via urban consumer goods, which illustrate how local market interactions firmly entrenched Appalachia in the global world.  Archaeologically ‘globalizing’ Appalachia challenges pervasive discourse that has "othered" the region for 150 years, portraying an homogenous, isolated, backward region and people.  Examples discuss oral history and trash dump excavations at Jenkins, Kentucky, a former early 21st century model company coal town once called the "New York City of the mountains."

Cite this Record

Appalachian Metropolis: Rural and Urban Identities at Company Coal Mining Towns. Zada Komara. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434496)

Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 406