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Degree Name

MALS (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies)


Liberal Studies

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Keith Green

Committee Members

Theresa A. Lloyd


Though many representations of Appalachian religious practices describe conservative, stagnant, xenophobic, and backward traditions, some authors present Christian practices in Appalachia as a potential source of social and individual progressiveness. Denise Giardina in Storming Heaven and The Unquiet Earth, Jim Wayne Miller in "Brier Sermon: 'You Must Be Born Again,'" and Lee Smith in Fair and Tender Ladies all represent "mountain religion" practices that offer relevancy not only to the characters in the novel but also to the reader. Analysis of these works through their symbolic representations of uniquely Appalachian religious traditions reveals the authors' commitment to sacralizing social and individual struggle through the sacred and mimetic transformations of characters and communities. By reusing and reinterpreting sacred patterns, both biblical and more contemporary regional patterns, the authors associate their works with sacred and regional traditions, demonstrating the viability, the flexibility, and the vitality of regional religious practices.

Document Type

Thesis - Campus Only


Copyright by the authors.