Abstract

This article engages a recent Journal of Appalachian Studies roundtable (Volume 22, Number 1), organized by Steve Fisher and Barbara Ellen Smith, that critiqued the colonial model. My basic argument is that the colonial model has critical value because it offers a well-established orientation, framework, and line of argument to counter the culture of poverty thesis, which was recently re-popularized in J. D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy. My argument centers on three main points. First, I concur that the internal colony model warrants scholarly and activist reconsideration. But, in contrast to the majority of the forum voices, I argue that the idea of coloniality is imminently relevant to understanding and acting in the global political economy in which Appalachia is situated. Second, I locate Appalachia in the global political economy. The important and often overlooked point that I make is the global political economy, its historical emergence, and present-day practice are already implicated in Anglo-European colonial relationships. Third, I reconsider the way that colonialism is conceptualized, moving away from colonialism as attributes and toward colonialism as relationships between colonizer and colonized.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.