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Call for Proposals for Journal of Appalachian Studies Special Issue:

Speculative Fabulation: Queering Appalachian Futurisms

Zane McNeill and Jessica Corey, Special Editors

In 2017, Queer Appalachia’s zine Electric Dirt provided a platform to peoples who have historically been marginalized throughout Appalachia, such as LGBTQIA+, African Americans, Latinx, people with disabilities, and Indigenous communities. These populations have been eclipsed from the Appalachian archive and erased in contemporary metronormative explorations of queerness (Halberstram, 2005; Gray et al., 2016). Queer Appalachia, as well as other activist projects like the exhibitions Queering the Mountains and Appalachian Futures, the oral history project and podcast Country Queers, and the book projects Bible Belt Queers, Appalachian Reckoning (2019), and Storytelling in Queer Appalachia (2020), challenge normative generalizations about the culture of the Appalachian region and give a space to marginalized voices to envision an Appalachia where y’all really means all.

Appalachia, despite being perceived as culturally backwards and economically isolated, is a place defined by its history of resistance (Fisher and Smith 2012; Fisher 1993). These histories are important and can be used as inspirations and frameworks on which Appalachian futurities, in particular the futurities of its most marginalized populations, can be imagined. We are looking for contributors to build on these experiences of defiance and solidarity, and envision an Appalachian futurity of entanglements, assemblages, and reckonings that trouble the colonial, cisheteropatriarchal, white-supremacist state.

These acts of “speculative fabulation” (SF)—creative storytelling and world making—are in and of themselves acts of rebellion. Speculative Fabulation: Queering Appalachian Futurisms invites contributors to dissect and destabilize what it means to be Appalachian, who is perceived as “authentically” Appalachian, which Appalachian voices and bodies matter, and what the implications of “Appalachia” as a construct are for oppressed groups.

Our goal is for this special issue to offer a hopeful, idealistic map to what an Appalachian future could look like if we embrace our histories of cultural, geographic, and economic marginalization while also facing our complicity in upholding structures of white supremacy, cisheteropatriachy, environmental degradation, and capitalism.

Potential topics include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

  • Queer Appalachian utopias

  • Decolonial/anti-colonial critiques of Appalachia/Appalachian studies

  • Queer Appalachian ecologies

  • Appalachian economic futurities (i.e. alternatives to capitalism in the region)

  • Queering modes of defining Appalachia/Appalachian

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words to and by November 1, 2020. Final articles of 5,000-7,000 words will be due by Jan. 15, 2021.

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