“The Hillbilly Highway: A Social History of Transappalachia, 1918-1972″ Report
This research will serve as the foundation for a new course, designed prospectively to be offered to undergraduates at Yale and/or Sewanee (and potentially elsewhere) beginning in spring or fall of 2016.The greatest impact of this research, and the dissertation and college-level seminar course that will emerge from it, will be filling in what I see to be the almost complete absence of Appalachian studies in the curriculum for most college students, and instilling a deeper and more sensitive understanding of the significance of the region and its people in shaping our recent history and contemporary moment. Finally, as the building blocks of an open ended oral history collection, the project’s emphasis on preserving the voices and experiences of Appalachian migrants will hopefully be recognized as having a positive impact on the community of Southern Appalachia and ‘Trans Appalachia’ more broadly by making these oral histories readily accessible to the general public, teachers, other scholars, and interested community organizations.
Because the research entailed to successfully complete this project isn’t complete yet, the impacts remain in the future. In addition to the preserving a deeper understanding of the importance of Southern Appalachian and its residents in the broader narratives of postwar American history, this project will provide vital local and family histories to community organizations devoted to studying and preserving the history of the region, as well as providing essential learning materials for students of various ages and educational levels.