Unmarked and Unheard: Voices of Working Class White Men in an Appalachian Borderland

Date of Award


Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no embargo, no restriction)

Work Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Emily Noelle Sanchez Ignacio

Second Advisor

Charles Williams

Third Advisor

Charles Gallagher


This thesis responds to Walls and Billings (1977) call for a study of work in an Appalachian cultural context. Given this, intersectionality theory along with Marx's theory of alienation guide the analysis. Since intersectionality has not often been applied to White men's experience of race, particularly with respect to marginalized class and rurality, this thesis begins with the voices of this population in this particular space, which also heeds Reagon's (1981) challenge to understand what is happening "at home" before attempting to build coalition. Additionally, analysis of the historical constructions of work from Colonial tobacco plantations, to the Appalachian frontier, through the neoliberal present, helps to contextualize the anti-oppression tactics present in the data. Further, this thesis offers a self-reflective discussion of the rationale and experience of the author's return "home" to do scholarship in the complex socio-historical setting context in which he was raised, yet struggles to belong.