Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Tom Lee

Committee Members

William Burgess, Ted Olson


The Commission on Religion in Appalachia (CORA) was a mission organization founded in 1965 to bring economic and religious uplift to Appalachia. CORA focused on rural areas and relied on prevalent stereotypes to define the region as homogenous and backward, and its definition permeated its mission work. CORA members were influenced by 1931 and 1958 religious surveys that largely reinforced established Appalachian stereotypes of poverty and isolation.

However, Appalachia's urban areas offered a broader definition and understanding of the region. By 1900 there were examples of Jewish communities in Appalachian urban areas that persisted throughout the twentieth century. Urban areas also experienced trends that were seen throughout the south and the rest of the United States.

CORA was a mission organization that was founded on an Appalachian identity highlighted by stereotypes of rural homogeneity and poverty, and they excluded urban areas from their definition.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.