Wildcrafting Our Queerness: A (Very Brief) Look into a Queer Appalachian Future (Update #7)

In the last blog post, I went over one particular article in Queer Appalachia’s magazine, Electric Dirt, and the ways in which it looked to the Foxfire Association to reach backwards into the past and pluck particular Appalachian cultural staples to use for contemporary queer people in the region.  For this post, I will look at some of the photos and articles in the rest of the magazine’s Foxfire section, marked by tan pages in the center of the magazine, and means by which these entries use their Appalachian roots to move forward and carve a new Appalachian future that is decidedly queer. The summer is dwindling and classes (and thus my honors thesis writing) are quickly approaching, so this post will not be an exceptionally long one.

These few pages following the Foxfire interview are filled with intensely “Appalachian” images. From handmade utensils to animal skins to food cooking in pots over fire, the images all point to a rural and communal self-sufficiency in the face of institutional abandonment, a common fate for both Appalachian and queer people.  Moreover, these images of queer living taken by queer people are themselves each a record of a queer Appalachian moment in time, expanding both perceptions of what a queer person and Appalachian person can look like while also preserving voices that are institutionally fragile in the face of mass academic apathy.  And like the rest of the magazine, each image in this Foxfire section is accompanied by an Instagram handle, connecting this physical archival site to an even broader digital one and indicating that an Appalachian future can embrace its home-crafted material past as well as an online future. In many cases, this collision of material and digital, past and future blur the boundaries between each, effectively “queering” the process of archiving as well as the process of communal self-sufficiency.

This is my last blog post of more academic content. My final blog post summarizing my research thusfar is coming soon and I thank all who have read this far and enjoyed my work.

Comments

  1. I’m definitely going to check out Electric Dirt! Although I myself am not Appalachian, I am deeply fascinated with people’s experiences of culture, identity, and queerness. It’s something I’ve tried to explore in my own work this summer, although through a different historical and cultural lens. I like that you’ve analyzed both what it means to be queer in Appalachia and what it means to be Appalachian in the queer community. These conversations are necessary for building community, and you’ve highlighted an important epistemological perspective that reminds me of bell hooks’s work.