Course name: Southern Appalachian Culture*
Department, course #, level: History 446, undergraduate
Semester(s) and year(s) taught (without significant variation):
Institution: Western Carolina University
Instructor(s): Curtis Wood
Dept. of History
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC 28723

History 446

Southern Appalachian Culture

Dr. Curtis Wood

243 McKee
Office hours: 9:00-10:00 MWF and 8:30-9:30 TR or by appointment.

Course description: History 446 is a survey of Southern Appalachian history and culture from the beginning of European settlement to the contemporary era. The course will examine the settlement period and the establishment of a diverse Appalachian society, the impact of the Civil War, the coming of industrialization and the intervention of Federal government. Issues such as the images and stereotypes of the region and its people, folk culture, modernization, land use, education, and religion will be discussed. Special emphasis is placed upon the interaction of Appalachian people and culture with the broader forces of political, social, and economic change at work in America.


1. Two tests will be given at 5 week intervals covering lectures, discussions, presentations, readings. Essay and identification questions. 40%

2. Research report: 10%

3. Research paper and oral presentation: 20%

4. Final examination. 20%

5. Class participation and class assignments. 10%


Course objectives:

1. The student can express the basic themes which underlie the history of Southern Appalachia.

2. The student can identify and evaluate the most important theories used to explain Appalachian history.

3. The student can discuss critically the impact of national economic, political, and social forces on the history of the Appalachian region, citing evidence to support his or her views.

4. The student can investigate reliable resources, gather information on a selected subject in Appalachian history, and write an convincing research paper in correct grammatical style.



John Inscoe, Mountain Masters, Slavery, and the Sectional Crisis in Western North Carolina

Ronald Eller, Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers: Industrialization of the Southern Appalachian South, 1880-1930.


Test 1: Februrary 13

Test 2: March 28

Exam: May 1

Research paper- 10-15 pages with using primary sources

Research paper topic and annotated bibliography due: February 22

Research paper due: April 16


Topic 1: Introduction- The Region Defined

?"Strangers and Kin" video
"Remnants of Frontier Culture" video
Class reading assignment:
David Walls, "On the Naming of Appalachia," in An Appalachian Symposium, ed. by J. W. Williamson (copy on reserve)
A. Banks, D. Billings, and K. Tice, "Appalachian Studies, Resistance, and Postmodernism," in S. Fisher, ed., Fighting Back in Appalachia: Tranditions of Resistance and Change.


Topic 2: Settlement and Frontier-

?Gene Wilhelm, jr., "Appalachian Isolation: Fact or Fiction," in An Appalachian Symposium, ed. by J. W. Williamson (copy on reserve)
Blethen and Wood, From Ulster to Carolina: The Migration of the Scotch-Irish to Western North Carolina.
Blethen and Wood, "The Pioneer Experience to 1851," in The History of Jackson County, ed. by Max R. Williams.


Topic 3: The Cherokee-White relations

?Theda Perdue, The Cherokee
"Cherokee Accomodation and Persistence in the Southern Appalachians," in
Appalachia in the Making: the Mountain South in the Nineteenth Century, ed. by Mary Beth Pudup, Dwight Billings and Altina Waller, UNC Press, 1995

Topic 4: Antebellum Society and Economy

?Tyler Blethen and Curtis Wood, "The Appalalchian Frontier and the Southern Frontier: A Comparative Perspective," in Journal of the Appalachian Studies Associaition, vol. 3, 1991, pp. 36-47.
John Inscoe, Mountain Masters: Slavery and the Sectional Crisis in Western North Carolina, pp. 11-59

Topic 5: Sectional Crisis and the Civil War

?Wilma Dykeman, "Appalachia in Context", in An Appalachian Symposium, pp. 28-42.
Gordon McKinney, "Women's Role in Civil War Western North Carolina," The North Carolina Historical Review, Jan. 1992, vol. LXIX, no. 1, pp. 37-56.
Recommended reading: Phillip Paludan, Victims: A True Story of the Civil War

Topic 6: Industrialization

?Ronald Eller, Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers: Industrialization of the Appalachian South, 1880- 1930.
"Tullulah Falls Railroad", Foxfire 10, pp. 1-87.


Topic 7: Cultural Change: Craft revival and Local Color

?Curtis Wood and Joanne Greene, "Origins of the Handicraft Revival in the Southern Mountains," Remembrance, Reunion, and Revival: Celebrating a Decade of Appalachian Studies: Proceedings of the 10th Annual Appalachian Studies Conference, ed. by Helen Roseberry, pp. 108-114.
Henry Shapiro, Appalachia on Our Mind, The Southern Mountains and Mountaineers in the American Consciousness, 1870-1920, pp. 3-58.
"Tourism," in Foxfire 10, pp. 89-158.?

Topic 8: Dislocation: Depression and Federal Intervention

?Harry Caudill, Night Comes to the Cumberland: A biography of a depressed area, chapter 13, "The Great Depression," pp. 165-187.
David Whisnant, Modernizing the Mountaineer: People, Power and Planning in Appalachia, chapter 2: "All Forms of Human Concerns: The Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933-75", pp. 43-69.
" "Economic Revolution," Foxfire 10, pp. 159-302.

Topic 9: Culture, Family and Gender

?Loyal Jones, "Appalachian Values," from Voices from the Hills, pp. 507-517.
Jim Waye Miller, "A Mirror for Appalachia," from Voices from the Hills, pp. 447-459.
Horace Kephart, Our Southern Highlanders , selections
Emma Bell Miles, The Spirit of the Mountains, selections
"Personality Portraits" and "Crafts," in Foxfire 10, pp. 303-282.

Topic 10: Contemporary Issues

?Newton Smith, ed. Poverty in Western North Carolina
Stephen Fisher, Fighting Back in Appalachia (perhaps chapters 13, 15, 16)


Research paper topic and annotated bibliography due: February 22

1. Select a topic based upon your personal interests: it may be political, religious, social, economic, cultural, etc. in nature.

2. Locate the books, articles, or other resources that make a significant contribution to your subject. Include primary, such as newspapers, government document, and letters as well as secondary sources. Think about whether oral interviews can be used in your research as a primary source.

3. Turn in to me on February 22 a short essay of your topic and an annotated bibliography of sources.?

A. Essay (2-3 pages)

?Discuss the significance of your topic: Have historians written about it before ?you? Why are historians interested in it? What are the major issues or questions ?about your topic that historians are most interested in? Identify the 3-5 most ?important items in your bibliography and explain why they are most important and ?useful.?

?B. Annotated bibliography

?Attach an annotated bibliography of other important works on your subject. An ?annotated bibliography is a bibliography (author or editor, title, place and date of ?publication) which also comments on the content of a book or article, its ?view ?point, its sources, its value. It does not require a complete reading of ?the work, but ?only a careful ?examination: examining table of contents, ?introduction, conclusion, sources, bibliography.

Research paper due: April 16

?? 10-15 pages for undergraduates - at least one primary source

Paper must be typed.

Use of multiple sources: try to use recent research as well as older works.

Footnotes or endnotes and bibliography required, based on Turabian style manual.

Paper is expected to be clearly written and grammatically correct.

Your paper should make clear what its objectives are- what are you attempting to accomplish, what are you trying to prove? If there are differences of opinions among historians about your subject, it is very helpful to say so and briefly describe them before you make your own case. It should be clear to your reader what your objectives are, what you main points are as you present your findings, and what your conclusions are.


Possible topics:

The Regulators, the Watauga Association, the State of Franklin
William Goodell Frost at Berea College???
Strip mining and land use
Railroads (various topics)?????
Bascom Lamar Lunsford (traditional music)
Unionism in Southern Mountains in Civil War??
Thomas Lanier Clingman
The Craft Revival Movement (various topics)??
Elisha Mitchell
The Highlander School?????
Smoky Mountain National Park
The Campbell Folk School?????Religion- many topics
Emma Bell Miles (topics on the status of women in general)
Horace Kephart??????
The Local Color Writers
The Buncombe Turnpike?????
Hot Springs: trade and tourism????
Champion Paper Company
Antebellum town life (or the history of an urban community)
Mountain Education after the Civil War???
Slavery in the Mountains
Log architecture??????
Mountain Republicanism
Early naturalists: Bartram, the Michauxs???
Southern Mountains in the Civil War- various topics
Southern Appalachian speech?????
Traditional music??????
Appalachian balladry
Iron mining and iron making?????
Missions and Church schools
Transportation and isolation?????
History of a mountain community
Timber industry
Zebulon B. Vance
Watauga settlement (State of Franklin)
Tennessee Valley Authority
Fontana and the North Shore issue
The Scotch-Irish and the "Celtic" view of Appalachian history


Suggested Reading for Research Papers

Chad Bandy, Traditional Mountain Medicine

John Barlow, Fontana region and the Tennessee Valley Authority

Debbie Blackman, Southern Appalachian Dialect

Mary Brod, The Impact of Electronic Media on Appalachian Society, with focus on Cherokee Co., NC

Jane Clark, The Pentecostal-holiness Religion within the Appalachian Mountains

Rebecca Cox, Oral Traditions of the Southern Appachian Region with focus on Folk Tales

Gerald Denham, Methodism in Southern Appalachia with focus on the Webster Charge of Jackson Co.

Lonnie Dockery, The Tennessee Valley Authority and the North Shore Controversy

Andrew Gordon, The Hatfield-McCoy Feud

Michelle Gurley, Rutherford County's Golden Valley

Anne Harrison, The Culture and Traditions of the Appalachian People

Joe Heffner, The Appalachian Dulcimer

Kendall Kirkendoll, Tennessee Valley Authority

Deborah McCourry, A Local History of Western NC during the Great Depression Years with focus on Asheville and Buncombe Co.

Brian McMahan, The Willets Community of Jackson County from its formation to World War II

Tim Shepard, Bear Hunting in the Appalachian Region


*This syllabus was first published in Chris Baker, ed, Appalachian Studies: Syllabus Guide and Teaching Materials, American Sociological Association Resource Materials for Teaching series, 1997. Thanks to Chris Baker for his help with its reproduction in this archive.

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