Storytelling in Queer Appalachia: Imagining and Writing the Unspeakable Other

Chapter: “Working Against the Past: Queering the Appalachian Narrative”

Tijah Bumgarner’s experiences of growing up in small-town West Virginia have been explored in her own film work as well as in the university classroom. From this, she explores how master narratives of Appalachia are being reworked by artists, citizens, and students. She looks at minor narratives that work to argue against homogenous tropes through an intersectional approach within the “rooted” framework of Appalachia. Set against the transition into an economically post-coal landscape, the cultural landscape is also in transition making room to dive (queerly) into the cultural gaps created by this transition. As she argues in her chapter, “Working Against the Past: Queering the Appalachian Narrative,” explores how art is beneficial in representing the differences and diversity in the region within the cultural gaps.

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