Two Worlds in the Tennessee Mountains: Exploring the Origins of Appalachian Stereotypes

By: David C. Hsiung

Price: $15.96

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Most Americans know Appalachia through stereotyped images: moonshine and handicrafts, poverty and illiteracy, rugged terrain and isolated mountaineers. Historian David Hsiung maintains that in order to understand the origins of such stereotypes, we must look critically at the concepts of isolation and community in Appalachia. He examines how society developed in one comer of the region -- the mountainous area of upper East Tennessee -- in order to identify the different ways in which its inhabitants were connected to or separated from other peoples and places.

Hsiung traces this area's development from the first settlement in the eighteenth century to the eve of the Civil War. Using an interdisciplinary framework to examine different gradations of connectedness, he analyzes geographical and sociocultural isolation from a number of perspectives, including transportation networks, changing economy, population movement, and topography.

Through this analysis, Hsiung shows how two worlds coexisted in the Tennessee mountains, some people making connections with the rest of the country and others living in relative isolation. When this latter group came to be characterized by their neighbors as backward, growing perceptions of difference within the mountain region eventually found their way into fiction and shaped popular images of Appalachia for well over a century.

By showing that these perceptions of difference first emerged from within Appalachia itself, Two Worlds in the Tennessee Mountains alters the commonly held views of this region and its people during the antebellum period. This provocative work will stimulate future studies of early Appalachia and serve as a model for theanalysis of regional cultures.

Title: Two Worlds in the Tennessee Mountains: Exploring the Origins of Appalachian Stereotypes

Author: David C. Hsiung

Illustrator: Reg. Price: $15.96

Categories: Appalachia, Tennessee,

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky: c1997

ISBN Number: 0813120012

ISBN Number 13: 9780813120010

Binding: cloth

Book Details: 224 pages, 6 x 9, illus, maps, cloth, University Press of Kentucky

Seller ID: 120012


"Offers a great deal of new information about frontier society as well as imaginative ways of using it."—Georgia Historical Quarterly
“Hsiung resists the temptation to sensationalize on images of barbarism and ignorance."—Lexington Herald-Leader
“Well organized and accessible, this book would prove ideal for use in Appalachian history courses . . . while telling what happened, Hsiung explains how to do social history."—Journal of Appalachian History
“Addresses the development and deployment of regional stereotypes about Appalachia and its people—a core feature of the region's social, cultural, and political history. And it carries the analysis beyond any study previously available."—Indiana Magazine of History
“In demolishing several stereotypes, Hsiung gets tantalizingly close to revealing the sources of regional and national identity."—The Journal of American History
“As contributions to a history of upper East Tennessee, this work advances our understanding."—Agricultural History
“The originality of this contribution in approach and methodology must certainly be acknowledged, as well as its strongly interpretive character."—The Journal of Southern History
“Readers with an interest in Appalachia will find this book useful, as will others interested in regional identity and perception."—Journal of the Early Republic
“Hsiung is diligent in his inquiry."—Agricultural History
“Enters an old fray with a sophisticated approach that rightfully moves the debate chronologically from the post-Civil War to the antebellum period."—The Journal of East Tennessee History
“Hsiung has given us a book which focuses exclusively on the question of Appalachian difference or, as he puts it, the origins of Appalachian stereotype."—Journal of Social History