Coal-fired Power: Household goods, Hegemony, and Social Justice at Appalachian Company Coal Mining Towns

Author(s): Zada L Komara

Year: 2017

Summary

Hegemonic power structures in Appalachia solidified during industrialization and shape the region’s representation and economic strategies today.  Appalachia is a land of backward hillbillies in the public consciousness, alternately uplifted and oppressed by extractive industries. Popular perceptions privilege the coal industry’s ‘power over’ Appalachian people without confronting the dynamic interplay of many power structures.  Household goods from two Kentucky company coal towns illuminate the multifaceted constitution of power, specifically corporate paternalism, race, gender, and class.  Examples from Jenkins and McRoberts demonstrate that archaeology offers a unique way to challenge stereotypical representations and hegemony by exposing their historical genesis, and to invoke old economic strategies, acknowledging the diversity and emancipatory potential already within Appalachia.  Company coal-mining towns, popularly considered the ultimate manifestation of capitalist oppression, were rich grounds of both organized and everyday activism, which can be reclaimed for empowerment today.

Cite this Record

Coal-fired Power: Household goods, Hegemony, and Social Justice at Appalachian Company Coal Mining Towns. Zada L Komara. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435295)

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Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 399