Selling Tradition: Appalachia and the Construction of an American Folk, 1930-1940, by Jane Becker

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Benjamin P. Filene, Associate Professor and Director of Public History (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: It is tempting to say that in Selling Tradition: Appa- lachia and the Construction of an American Folk, 930-1940 Jane Becker gives us a glimpse of an- other world-the Appalachian Mountains in the era of the Great Depression, when mountaineers pursued the craft traditions that to this day shape our conception of them. This image, however, runs counter to the central point of Becker's eye- opening book: mountaineers were not "another world" at all; they (and the crafts they produced) were very much influenced by northern industri- alists, designers, promoters, and social workers who defined and reshaped Appalachian "tradi- tion." Perhaps, then, we see the collision of two worlds-the culture of the mountaineers with that of the outsiders who "discovered" and pro- moted them? No, Becker insists. By the 1930s out- side influences had been infiltrating Appalachian culture for more than half a century. The Appala- chians and modern, industrial America were in- terconnected and cross-cut worlds, and the mountaineers themselves were hardly passive agents in the popular promotion of their culture.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1999
book reviews, history, american history, Appalachian mountains, Appalachia, great depression, mountaineers

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