Dr. Meredith McCarroll
Wednesday February 19. Studio of 1941
“Unwhite: Appalachia, Race, and Film”
Abstract: Despite a resurgence of representation of Appalachia in television and film, directors and producers rely on stereotypes that simplify a diverse region. Hollywood Films set in Appalachia tend to depict dwellers of the region as cultural anomalies, exotic caricatures, and terrifying monsters. Drawing from Critical Race Theory, Appalachian Studies, and Cinema Studies, McCarroll asserts that the portrayal of Appalachian characters in relation to the outsider protagonists can best be understood as parallel to the traditional white/nonwhite relationships in American film. This self/other dichotomy sustains the imagined whiteness and protects the privileged position of the white outsider through juxtaposition to the Appalachian unwhite. This talk will focus on two examples—the Hillbilly as Indian in Deliverance and the Helpmate as Mammy in Cold Mountain— while offering an overview of Appalachian films and character types and asking questions of the implications of these portrayals.
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