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HillbillyA Cultural History of an American Icon$
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Anthony Harkins

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195189506

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189506.001.0001

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Race, Class, Popular Culture, and “the Hillbilly”

Race, Class, Popular Culture, and “the Hillbilly”

(p.3) Introduction. Race, Class, Popular Culture, and “the Hillbilly”

Anthony Harkins (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The prologue introduces the primary question of the discourse: why did the textual and visual icon of the hillbilly endure throughout the 20th century, long after similar racial and ethnic stereotypes had become publicly intolerable? It discusses how the concepts of cultural space, the “white other” (a group both within and outside the broader racial and cultural category of “whiteness”), and the twin mythic personas of “mountaineer” and “hillbilly” help explain the image's staying power. The central argument is then introduced, that the representation's unique intersection of the past and present, normativeness and otherness, and reality and invention made it malleable enough to be interpreted in strikingly different ways by diverse audiences and individuals, and to endure despite dramatic social and cultural transformation.

Keywords:   whiteness, mountaineer, otherness, white other

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