Title

People Like You Don't Belong in a Story Like This: The Complicated Fiction of Queer Appalachia

Presenter Information

Jordan KinnettFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Creative Writing/History

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Aaron Irvin; Professor Ann Neelon

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

On the surface, the queer identity and the Appalachian identity have very little in common, and may even be viewed as inherently conflicting. The Appalachian culture is often presumed to be unfriendly towards queer people, and “queer culture” is most often associated with urban life rather than its rural counterpart. Appalachian identity is often tied to the place of birth and familial identity, whereas the queer identity tends to prioritize the “found family” and the “found home.” For these reasons amongst others, the stories of the people who exist at the intersection of queer and Appalachia are also inherently conflicting: the tropes that build these stories create audience expectations that media that is explicitly both queer and Appalachian may not be able to fully fulfill. This presentation will examine the ways in which queer and Appalachian stories are built via tropes and audience expectations, and the manner in which fiction that is queer and Appalachian break such expectations.

Spring Scholars Week 2019 Event

Honors College Senior Thesis

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People Like You Don't Belong in a Story Like This: The Complicated Fiction of Queer Appalachia

On the surface, the queer identity and the Appalachian identity have very little in common, and may even be viewed as inherently conflicting. The Appalachian culture is often presumed to be unfriendly towards queer people, and “queer culture” is most often associated with urban life rather than its rural counterpart. Appalachian identity is often tied to the place of birth and familial identity, whereas the queer identity tends to prioritize the “found family” and the “found home.” For these reasons amongst others, the stories of the people who exist at the intersection of queer and Appalachia are also inherently conflicting: the tropes that build these stories create audience expectations that media that is explicitly both queer and Appalachian may not be able to fully fulfill. This presentation will examine the ways in which queer and Appalachian stories are built via tropes and audience expectations, and the manner in which fiction that is queer and Appalachian break such expectations.